Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Vancouver Sun Run

Today was the legendary Vancouver Sun Run . . . the largest 10K race in the world in 2008 and 2nd largest last year.  This year, they expected to top 50,000 runners for the 6th consecutive year.

I was in Vancouver by myself last year and so ran by myself.  This year was much more fun because Karla decided it was a good opportunity to run her second 10 km race, her first being the CN Tracks of Glory several years ago.  And since I'm still recovering from an injury, I had a good excuse to stick with her rather than trying for a PB.

Hannah just took an 8-hour babysitting course yesterday, so we felt pretty good about leaving the girls at home by themselves, to wake up to an empty house.  We caught the 7:36 a.m. bus downtown and, since my company sponsored "Hurricane Hatch, we met with the team at the Hatch offices for a quick team picture before heading to the starting line.  It's hard to describe the starting area and pictures don't quite do it justice, but the photo above (stolen from the Vancouver Sun website), and the few I took below give you an idea of the incredible size of the mob of runners jammed into the starting fences, which take up five blocks of W. Georgia Street, between Thurlow and Seymour.

Thankfully the weather was perfect, meaning that it wasn't raining.  It was partly sunny and cool.  If there was anything wrong with the weather, it was that it was a bit too cool.  About 3 degrees Celsius at start time.  

Big crowds always bring out a few nuts . . .

The official start time was 9:00 a.m., but the wheelchair athletes, elite runners (blue), and the really good amateur runners (yellow) get to start before the average runners (green), which is where we were seeded.  So, by the time we got going, it was 9:15 a.m. or so.  They had a band playing at the start line - as we headed past they were playing one of our favourites:  "Play the Funky Music White Boy".

Finally it was the greens' turn, and we were thrilled to get moving - standing around elbow-to-elbow (and sometimes worse) for 45 minutes in 3 degree weather was starting to get old.

The thing about the Sun Run is that you spend much of your energy just trying to figure out how to maneuver past all the people that are running really, really slowly or even walking.  Not everyone seems to understand the etiquette of such huge runs, even though there are large signs instructing walkers to keep to the right.  Or maybe they understand but are just jerks and don't care.

At around the 4 km mark we noticed a whole bunch of fire trucks and ambulances ahead of us and police officers started directing runners to get to the right.  We looked left and saw flames and smoke coming out of the fourth floor windows of an apartment building.  It was a terrible sight.  I just hope that the emergency vehicles were able to get to the building without any trouble caused by the race and that everyone was able to get out in time.

At the 4 km mark we spotted our favourite car in all of Vancouver.  This was the third time we've seen it.

This is Karla running along Beach Avenue by English Bay, looking and feeling strong.

This is Karla running down the Burrard Bridge after climbing one short but very steep hill and then the uphill side of this bridge - looking strong but starting to feel a little less strong.

And finally, here's Karla approaching the finish line, after battling the last hill over the Cambie Street bridge - still smiling for the camera.  Wow!

We did it . . . together . . . in just over one hour.  
Unofficial time: 1:01:39.

To celebrate Karla's accomplishment (and Mike's return after injury), we drove to one of the best restaurants we've discovered in Vancouver - Heidi's Cafe on Fraser, for their "All Day Breakfast".
Awesome food!


  1. YEAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! Way to kick some sun run ASS Team Penner! You showed those granola crunchers how we do it Prairie Style. Congratulations on getting it done and having fun. No life like it!


  2. Official times are in: Karla: 1:01:25, Mike: 1:01:26. Karla wins!

  3. Wow. Way to go! Those crowds are mind boggling. Glad you both ran together.