November 13th, 2016 marked the 27th anniversary of the Vancouver Fall Classic Half Marathon. This race is a must do for all Vancouver runners. As the name suggests, it is a classic. It is one of the bigger races in the city for the fall running season and each year it attracts a big number of runners.
This year, the coolest thing was finding out that Dylan Wykes, Canada’s 3rd fastest marathoner, decided to pace the 1:30 half marathon group. For a guy who’s run a 2:10 marathon, I imagine it must be difficult for him to run this “slow”. Dylan came 20th overall in the 2012 London Olympics, holds many Canadian running records and is an ambassador of the Forerunners running store.
The day was rainy & cold. When I say rainy, I mean it was literally pouring. Rain came down hard, certainly making it an unpleasant day for running. The race started by UBC and headed towards SW Marine Drive. For the half marathon course, we ran two loops. Not exactly an easy course, as it had many rolling hills.
I followed the 2:15 pacer. He was a very nice kid. There was a big group following him. Normally, I would run by myself. But I find that when it’s bad weather, running in a group actually makes it easier. I tucked myself within the group, so I felt “insulated”! I passed by a girl who was wearing a singlet; I couldn’t help but asked her if she was feeling cold or not. No, she replied. How nice it is to be young! I was freezing my butt off – I don’t know how all these young runners were wearing so little.
By the beginning of my 2nd loop, the 1:30 runners, led by Dylan, were already heading home. As usual, Dylan was extremely friendly, and he called out my name to my surprise. I have so much respect for him.
There were many runners from the Forerunners running clinic also participating in the race. Some were running the half, some the 10k, and some the 5k. They all did very well. Close to the finish line, Forerunners set up a tent with a special cheering squad. They rang their cow-bells so loud, no one could miss it. It was very nice to see so many of the clinic members who came out to cheer. Thanks to them, it made the day so much more memorable.
Despite the crappy weather, the race was fun because the volunteers were cheery, pacers were great, runners were friendly. Couldn’t have asked for a better race. And there was even a beer pong game set up at the finish line, which you could play to win running hats. Of course, I did not pass on the chance to play. Although I wasn’t lucky the first time, they let me tried the second time, and I got the pong in. I was as happy as a kid in a candy store.
The medal was nice. And with our bib, we were entitled to redeem a free beer at a local pub/restaurant nearby. I gave my free beer coupon to a friend. He was so delighted.
The crowd at the pub was loud. Everyone was happy to finish another race. As each runner surrendered their bib for a free beer, the servers were congratulating all the finishers. A very positive and celebratory atmosphere and a great way to spend a rainy Vancouver morning.
Thanks to the Vancouver Marathon Society for putting on a great race and to Forerunners for being a great sponsor.