One group bills its race day as Vancouver’s Best Running Party, while another club been pumping up its popular Weekend Run Double. Yet another group is serving up two fun green races featuring hot chocolate, colourful costumes and super shamrocks.
There’s also an event for rural medicine, and one to go literally Up The Creek. And many will lace up for adventures on the undulating scenic trails in West Van and North Van.
And, undoubtedly, there will be other secrets and surprises surfacing in March as runners and run clubs begin to ramp up their game, speed and distances for the 2020 racing season. As my old neighbour used to joke, spring makes us so excited that we wet our plants!
Here’s a quick look at some of the events that should make March memorable for all the right reasons:
West Van Run
Saturday, March 7 & Sunday, March 8
5K, 10K, 1K Kids’ Run
If we can look past the great race shirts, sharp finishers’ medals, elite stars and the “bonus bottle” for running Saturday (5K) and Sunday (10K) for a moment, the neat thing about this annual trek through scenic West Vancouver is the fact there are pace teams.
West Van Run club honcho Kirill Solovyev has been actively pushing entrants to “do the double” this year and claim a couple medals and a Specialized colour water bottle in the process.
The first time I ran this fun race there was a super hero costume theme, albeit not everyone seemed to have received that message or embraced it! I dressed as a Ninja Turtle, a crazy one-piece costume that presented some logistical (washroom issues) challenges at the 4K mark but, cowabunga, that’s another wild story for another time!
This year the West Van Run races roll at 8:30 a.m. both days (starting at West Vancouver Community Centre), with the kids’ 1K going at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and 10:30 a.m. on the Sunday.
All West Van Run events support Special Olympics B.C.-North Shore by fundraising for the organization. In addition to monetary support, West Van Run provides all Special Olympics Athletes with a free event entry.
Justin Kent won the 5K last year in 14:25, while Anthony Tomisch took the 10K title in 30:57. Both winners established course records in the process. And neither wore a Ninja Turtle suit. Go figure!
The women’s course records are held by Robyn Mildren (10K, 34:32) and Natasha Wodak (5K, 16:10).
For more information and to register click HERE.
Hot Chocolate Run
Saturday, March 7, Stanley Park
5K, 10K, Kids’ Fun Run
Fresh off their successful Fort Langley Historic Half on Feb. 16, where more than 500 people laced up for the half, 10K, 5K and kids’ races, Mitchell Hudson and his TRY Events team is stoked to present its annual Hot Chocolate Run at Stanley Park.
This is the third leg of TRY Events’ 2020 11-race series — they recently added the JFS Hot Cake Hustle 5K to the mix — and the Hot Chocolate Run helps to support the great work done by the West End’s not-for-profit Coal Harbour Community Policing Centre.
The Hot Chocolate Run always attracts hundreds of runners who receive sweet running tech shirts, finishers’ medals and, of course, a hot chocolate mug.
The 10K starts at the Lumbermen’s Arch concession at 10 a.m., followed by the 5K at 10:05 a.m. The kids’ fun run goes at noon.
For more information or to enter click HERE.
St. Patrick’s Day 5K
Saturday, March 14
Stanley Park Pavilion
Karen Warrendorf spotted this blogger horsing around behind the Mahony & Sons bar at Stamps Landing earlier this month, where I was pretending to spike my water bottles with alcohol before competing in the “shorter 16K” division of the Vancouver Hypothermic Half.
“Training for my 5K next month?” Warrendorf laughed, before she clocked an impressive 1:42:48, 15th overall in the windy and sometimes wet half marathon, staged annually by the local Running Room and Steve Mattina.
The St. Patrick’s Day 5K, at Stanley Park, is Warrendorf’s baby and is easily one of the best 5K events in the city or at Stanley Park. It has always been on my “don’t miss” list, even if this runner’s fitness levels “kind of slip and crash” over the winter.
The “best running party” and “come for the race, stay for the party” tag lines have been well-earned over the years as a passionate Warrendorf has found the magic formula to mix serious competition, a charity component (Diabetes Canada), fun runners with costumes (think very green and very wild) and a post-race party fitting of the fun St. Patrick’s theme.
Two course records were set last year, the men’s by John Gay (14:06), and the women’s by Sarah Inglis (15:29). The St. Patrick’s Day 5K is the fourth stop in the B.C. Super Series and the second leg of the Lifestages Lower Mainland Series. Lining up behind the fleet-footed elites is all part of the race-day vibe, as people of all ages and skills, in green and many in costume, always add life to the fun and fast morning.
This year’s race, present by BMO, gets underway at 9:30 a.m. For more information and to register click HERE.
Shamrock ‘N’ Race
Sunday, March 15
Half, 7-Miler, 5K | Burnaby Lake
My in-laws, who in their 70s discovered running, speed walking and costumes, were really stoked to suit up for this event last year. In fact, haven’t seen them this excited since they off-loaded their diamond-loving daughter some 25 years ago. Good thing I’m not bitter.
The folks and their blinged-out daughter will be back at Burnaby Lake Regional Park this year, with “new and secret” costumes and will be part of the crowd assembled for the always popular 5K, 7-Mile and half marathon races.
This is the second event of the month for Mitchell Hudson and his crew and is one of the more popular race days in the TRY Events series. It also offers you a chance to use the costume you decided not to wear a day earlier at Stanley Park. (Trust me on that one!)
Each participant receives colourful Shamrock Race socks, a neat finisher’s medal and post-race pancakes. Can’t wait to taste those piles … I mean race those miles!
Action gets underway at 9 a.m. with the half marathon and 7-Mile races, followed three minutes later by the 5K race.
For more information and to register for this fun event click HERE.
Hitting the trails
Some other events you may want to consider in March include:
• Saturday, March 7: The Dirty Duo. The Foretrails Run Series is great fun and so are the organizers. And this year is the 20th anniversary of the Dirty Duo. This event combines trail racing with mountain bikes and showcases the rugged North Shore trails. I hope to do their Hallow’s Eve and Phantom Run events later in the year.
• Sunday, March 8:UBC Run for Rural Medicine. Click HERE.
• Saturday, March 14: The Cap Crusher. Click HERE.
• Sunday, March 29:Up The Creek Run, Port Coquitlam. Click HERE.
FINISH LINES — I’ll be at Fort Langley this Sunday for PEN RUN’s Fort-to-Fort 5- and 10-Miler event, which is the third and final leg of their 2020 Fraser Valley Trail Run Series. You can still sign up by clicking HERE. … RunGo’s annual Dash for Dogs goes this Sunday at Stanley Park with 10K, 5K and 2K guided runs. If I wasn’t at Fort Langley I’d be at Stanley Park for sure. For more info on that event click HERE.
Gotta run …