VIM: The Water-logged Marathon

VIM runners

Originally uploaded by maxkalehhoff.

…because there was little else to think about for 21.1km than how to present this on Metblogs and my personal blog….

There’s a really different feeling to be at Canada’s biggest providing extensive fodder. My mile-by-mile (almost) recap follows….

Miles 1-4: I love a city marathon that takes you on foot through a variety of neighbourhoods. We started out running through Chinatown, through the gates at the edge. Then we head further east along Venables before finally turning to head back towards downtown. The remarkable part of this stretch was the presence of a hill in each of the first four miles. You don’t know realize how hilly the whole city is until you have to run/bike it.

After the second waterstation, the third and fourth proved to be utter disappointments – it looked like the water had never arrived to be dispensed or mixed with Ultima formula. (Ultima, by the way, tastes like diluted cough medicine. Yech.) In the place of water/fluid, shiny happy high school volunteers belted out some songs and that was poor substitute.

I also observed how this marathon dispensed orange slices and thought that was really weird. Slipping on a banana peel is the oldest gaff in the book and what do runners do after downing some fluid/nourishment? Toss the refuse all over the street. So aside from having to weave and dodge runners, you had to step around oranges all over the ground.

During my third walking break, I struggled to re-pin my bib. Biggest marathon in Canada and they issue paper bibs that ripped and eventually melted, albeit they were personalized.

We ran through Gastown, a stretch in which the Harbour Centre Lookout was the most inviting sight. I loved running along Hastings downtown lined with condos on a wide boulevard and glimpses of the North Shore Mountains between buildings.

There was a bottleneck going into Stanley Park – not wide enough for the biggest marathon. At any given point in the first half, there were four hundred people ahead of me; it thinned out only in the last third.

Any part of Stanley Park where you could see the water was nice as we took the roadway and not the Seawall path. Once we reached the totem poles, we turned and head deep into the park. Be it Stanley Park, Point Pleasant, or UBC landscapes, I start to get bored.

Mile 8: You’re running in Stanley Park and you can see those ahead of you who have turned around the bend are trudging up the longest steep hill imaginable. When you round the turn yourself, you can see a 60-40 split between runners (read: joggers) and walkers. It was sheer torture as we ascended for maybe 1.5 miles towards Prospect Point, around Mile 9. What goes up must come down and the long road towards the exit gently slopes – yay.

Mile 9: It might have stopped raining by this point.

Mile 10: Running along Beach Avenue is nice with distracting turns and a view across to Vanier Park. True to Vancouver form, the biggest turn-out was where that bar/grill is. (I keep thinking there is a Starbucks there, too.) It’s about 8:30a.m. by then and people have descended from their beachfront apartments looking fresh, dressed all cute, with kiddies and/or dog and toting lattes.

Mile 11 or so (around 1hr.55min.): Around this point, the full-marathon leaders came through, escorted by bikers. For two full seconds, I was running alongside those speed-demons! I wonder what they thought of the hills and the rain?

Mile 12: Someone was holding a sign that read, “Johnny Depp is around the corner.” He wasn’t, but I’m not a drooling fan.

Mile 13: The end! There was loads of food in B.C. Place. It also smelled of tiger balm – I’m guessing it was the salve of choice at the massage tables. The field was awash with pooped runners wrapped in blue BMO blankets (read: glorified garbage bags).

I say, what’s a marathon in Vancouver without rain?

(For a more personal account, I invite you to read the entry on my personal blog.)

3 Comments so far

  1. Warwick (unregistered) on May 8th, 2006 @ 9:13 am

    I just posted some pics up on flickr from the marathon.

  2. John Bollwitt (unregistered) on May 8th, 2006 @ 10:44 am

    Congrats on finishing! I went for a run on Sunday morning through the trails in Stanley Park, but I still had to weave through the course three different times. There were tons of people everywhere. At 9AM, I saw more walkers than runners.

  3. wyn (unregistered) on May 8th, 2006 @ 10:52 am

    Nice pictures Warwick – you must have caught those runners after the rain stopped.
    Hehe, the speed-demons for the full were done by 9:30 (by 8:15 for the half) so you gotta be awake and out early to catch them!

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