Race Report: Vancouver Sun Run 10K

img_34181I’m an American in Canada and in Canada’s largest race. Canada has a reputation for being some of the nicest people around, and I have to admit – during this 10K I heard more “Excuse me,” and “Sorry” comments than I think I have ever heard during any race.

When you run a large race (over 48,000 people participated), things are going to get crowded. Normally, there are some words of frustration expressed. But in Vancouver, those words are rare and the race unique.

But not all was sunny for the Vancouver Sun Run as winners were caught cheating and women were turned into men.

Expecting almost 50,000 people to flood the streets of Vancouver for this 10K, My Girl and I decided we would leave early for the race, because I’d made an error – For some reason, My Girl got listed as a Male.

I can assure everyone she is not. According to the website, all we needed to do was see the “Race Solutions” desk at the Hyatt the morning of the race to change the Gender, and they would be available from 0630-0900. So, at 0530, we got in the car and headed into downtown Vancouver. Fortunately for us, we arrived at 0630 well ahead of the crowds. After a brief walk from the parking garage ($7/hr – not bad!), we found the helpful folks from the Sun Run in the downtown Hyatt.

However, despite our effort, she still finished listed as a male. Even though the person at the desk writing down the change, apparently those changes never made it to the right people. This leads me to wonder: Just how many other errors are there?

As it turns out, at least one, because two runners, who did not deny the charge, were stripped of their Age Group victories for cheating. Personally, I find this astounding coming from our Canadian brethren to the North. Americans, sure, but Canadian cheaters?

Hard to fathom. But the proof was indisputable.

After we “changed” My Girl from a man to a woman, we proceeded downstairs to enjoy some pre-race Starbucks. With the race slated to start at such a late hour as 9am, we had plenty of time to kill.

At approximately 0815, we headed toward the washrooms, and proceeded to our corral. To my surprise, Canadians are apparently rarely early to the corral, because we were practically alone. It wasn’t for another hour that I realized why nobody was early… The wave start system from the Sun Run means that if you are in the third “corral”… Well, you will not be starting until 0945. We stood, somewhat cold, for 1.5 hours waiting our turn at the start line. To my surprise, the corral system wasn’t very strongly enforced among the “Green” and “White” corrals, with numerous runners flowing into and starting in the wrong corral. After the race, I learned that many runners are purposely… “optimistic” on finish times because, unfortunately, the latter corrals take so long to even get to the start line.

[singlepic id=1973 w=320 h=240 float=left]One of the most unique aspects of the large corral systems, however, is a fun way that they move the latter corrals forward. Since My Girl and I were at the very front of the “White” corral, we were instructed, prior to the fence being lowered, to lock arms with our neighbors. After we did so, we were told to walk – slowly – toward the start line.

Are you listening Rock n Roll Las Vegas, ie, Competitor Group?

[singlepic id=1975 w=320 h=240 float=right]By forcing us to lock arms, and walk in a controlled manner toward the start, the waves were spaced so that you could actually – and this is something apparently Competitor Group doesn’t care about – but you could actually (*gasp*)… run at the start of your wave! Yes, the times between waves were long. But, the plus side was that when you finally did get to start, you could actually start your race running.

So, despite the really long time to actually start the race, it turns out the wait was totally worth it.

The Vancouver Sun Run 10K starts with a gentle downhill through the middle of the downtown Vancouver before turning around in one of the most amazing parks near a metropolitan city anywhere in the world. Screen Shot 2013-04-27 at 8.32.58 AMAfter just a brief glimpse of the park, you meander through a few more streets, run over a bridge or two, and end at one of the best finish lines in any race ever – at a huge stadium, set up for post run festivities. When you have 48,000 people running, having a wide, open space for everyone to enjoy the post-run is an amazing obvious and good organization. Perhaps Competitor Group could learn a thing or two from the folks behind the Sun Run as the Sun Run folks seem to actually know what they are doing with a large crowds.

We finished in approximately one hour, and the crowd flowed easily out and away from the finish line. After a short walk, we went for post-run pasta, and I overate. Like usual.


Finish Name Home Bib # Time Pace Age AG