As a runner, I love doing destination races. But at the same time, the economics of running a home-town race makes a lot of sense. For one, it is so convenient. Hop into your car and within half an hour or less, you are at the racing ground. Plus, you get to run amongst your local running community, which is a major plus. I love seeing familiar faces/that personal feeling you don’t often get when you are racing out of town.
The Spirit of the Shore has traditionally been a half marathon event taking place in West Vancouver, but this year there was a 10km race option, so I decided to give it a try. I didn’t plan on running it ahead of time, and instead I registered the morning of.
It was a gorgeous fall morning. It was raining lightly when I arrived in West Vancouver, and then all of a sudden, the rain stopped and a double rainbow appeared. It was so unique and so pretty. I sometimes take it for granted how beautiful Vancouver really is. That particular morning, I was really admiring the natural beauty which surrounds us.
The race started at 7:30am. The 10KM and the half started at the same time. We circled one small loop around the village of the Park Royal shopping centre and then up a short car ramp which took us to the east side of the mall. That was not bad until we came upon mile 2 which was rather hilly. I definitely spent time catching my breath, until we entered the trail and the West Vancouver seawall. Finally I got into my zone. Everything seemed so beautiful. The water was calm and the trail was so peaceful with the trees slowly changing colours. Absolutely breath-taking. And the enthusiastic bunch of young high school volunteers really did their jobs by loudly cheering on runners. I really had no idea how many were running the half versus the 10km until the turn around point. I must admit running the 10km was more like a club run as only a handful did the 10km race. With running different distances, you utilize different muscles. With about 1km to go, I tried to catch the lady in front. I thought I could, but I did not have a second gear to do it. When I wasn’t racing as frequently, I definitely had extra gears that I could turn on if I chose to. Nowadays, the best I have is maybe 2 gears. 😊
There was no one in my age group so I could not really call it a competition. I was basically competing against myself so I came first place as well as last haha!
Overall this was a very nice local race. Now that I have experienced both the half (did it last year) and the 10k, I highly recommend this just for the sheer beauty of the route itself. The organization of it was excellent too. We were not short of post-race food, draw prizes and the award medals were super nice.
Many visitors who have been to Vancouver may have heard of Stanley Park and the Seawall but just across the Lions Gate Bridge is the municipality of West Vancouver which is a very tony neighbourhood with beautiful running paths by the water.
Maybe I am biased to say this, but Vancouver really is one of the greater running cities in North America. There is so much greenery everywhere, often surrounded by either mountains or water. And runners are super friendly here too.
So… wherever you are, I hope that you will convince your non-runner friends or family that running is such a healthy sport. And remember we all have to start somewhere, and that somewhere may be now. Run on everyone!