Kate Carter, The Guardian, August 18, 2015
Firstly, apologies for those of you on UK time who have been tapping their feet and tutting about my lateness. I’m still in Vancouver where it’s 5am, so be kind and pass me the virtual coffee. Oh, if anyone finds my ability to sleep, I think I left it at Heathrow.
I’ve been here for a few days for stacks of pancakes, amazing views - oh wait, hang on, yes, and an incredible half marathon. Seawheeze is the baby of Lululemon Athletica, and is the most fun I’ve had in 13.1 miles in, well, ever. Starting by Vancouver’s Convention Centre (which has a wonderful living grass roof, making it the only pretty convention centre in the world, I’m pretty sure) and the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel (hotel breakfast buffet = carb loading heaven) the race moves out downtown, around the city before heading out to the stunning surroundings of Stanley Park.
The Seawheeze race medal Photograph: Kate Carter/Guardian
On my first day here I woke up far too early, and headed out straight into that same park for a jet lag busting run. Moving out onto the Seawall my exhausted brain was woken up by the most beautiful sea views. Four miles later I saw a whale, about 100 metres from me. That, I can safely say, will never happen on my morning run in London. Perhaps fortunately, the grey whale wasn’t in sight when the race came back through the park, as that would have been one hell of a temptation to stop.
Instead, we were entertained by a roadside spinning class, a group of mad scientists, some mermaids on the rocks, official paddleboard cheerers, kids cheer stations ... all sorts of quirky and sweet and charming groups. I was expecting nothing from my time - I’d woken up at 2.30am and been unable to go back to sleep - but something about the race was infectious. 10,000 people with broad grins on their faces, mostly wearing the very cool Lululemon race shorts (a much better idea than race T-shirts, no?) and having a blast. I even abandoned all British reserve and high fived every kid on the race course - and got a PB of 1h 27min, and was very chuffed to finish 35th overall and 8th woman.
A spot of post-half marathon yoga, anyone? The post-Seawheeze sunset festival Photograph: Kezia Nathe/PR
I also think this was one of the best organised mass races I’ve ever done. Efficient race pack pick up, frequent water stations, clear race markers every km - and one very quirky medal at the finish, along with water, food (bananas, cereals bars, water, recovery gels) and a very nice hat. Oh, and all runners then get free brunch. And to end the day, a festival in Stanley Park with live music, and a mass yoga class to ease out those aching legs. I would say London needs a race like this, but I think the atmosphere and scenery are what make it, and they are uniquely Vancouver.
So if you ever get the chance to do this race: just DO IT. Likewise, grab any chance for just running in Vancouver generally. I think I could run in Stanley Park every day for a year and not get bored of those views. And after that slightly deliriously jetlagged debrief - how was your weekend running? As always, share your triumphs and woes below the line.
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk
This article was written by Kate Carter from The Guardian and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.