I’ve been looking forward to the Rock n Roll series coming to Vancouver and had planned to run the half marathon. Unfortunately, the half marathon landed on the day I was supposed to land in Munich. Thankfully, the 10K race was the day before, also coincidentally on the morning of my flight. My work was one of the sponsors of the event and offered free entries, so I snagged one. I figured, I’d be tired enough after the race and end up passing out on the plane. That didn’t work out quite as I had planned but either way it was a great experience.
View my race results on Strava.
The Rock n Roll Marathon Series occurs all over North America and select cities in Europe. They are known to give a rockin’ good time by having live bands throughout the course and a pretty awesome finisher’s medal. Runners are known to travel to wherever these races are held just to collect these amazing medals. They offer a variety of distances but they’re not always the same in each city so it’s best to check the website to see what is offered where.
The Expo and Package Pickup
The expo was huge and busy. They were open for only a few hours on Friday (3 PM til 7 PM) so the 10k runners had no choice but be there between those hours to get their bib. The half marathoners had all day Saturday as well to pick up. I didn’t like that at all. Thankfully, I made it just in time to pick up my bib. I normally get off work at 6:30 and that meant I only had half an hour to walk to Canada Place and pick up my package. That’s not a lot of time. What’s worse, only you can pick up your own bib. You can’t ask someone else to pick it up for you even if there’s consent. That’s not very accessible for people who work outside the city or even work at night. Other than that, bib pickup was fast. Walk to the next room and you get your free t-shirt. The next area is a large Brooks store filled with Rock n Roll merchandise… they were pricey though. I chose not to buy anything. The next room had more vendors and booths for various races. From what I remember, Running Room, Garmin, and Nuun were there. I decided to buy some Nuun hydration tubes: Nuun Energy, a caffeine-boosted electrolyte drink and another that’s not available here yet… Plus for Nuun which is a blend of carbohydrates and electrolytes designed to keep you going for longer. That will go nicely for my marathon training runs. Another thing I didn’t like was that there were no ATM’s at the Expo. You had to go all the way back to the lobby of the Convention Centre which was a pretty far walk since the Expo was held at the furthest rooms in the building. Plus, security was so tight, I got harassed every time I entered the previous room: “no exit, no exit” – I’m like yes but I’m looking for an ATM and you guys keep making me ask the person in the previous room. By the time I reached the package pickup area again, security finally confirmed that I had to go back out to the lobby. I asked, do I have to walk all throughout the expo again and then back out? Can’t I just exit here? Reluctantly, he said yes and I got harassed again at the entrance. Why not just make it convenient and put a couple ATM’s inside the expo? Seriously. It was a big expo and even though I was able to buy something I wanted, I wasn’t thrilled about the whole experience.
The course is pretty straightforward: a Stanley Park seawall run, going clockwise. It started at the Inukshuk at English Bay. Getting there was pretty easy, the C23 took us to Davie and Bidwell and from there it was just a few blocks down the hill. There were so many people that my corral was actually 12th in line. We had to wait at least 20 minutes in the cold before we were off and running. The race ended at Devonian Harbour Park on the other side of Stanley Park. I should’ve paid close attention to the course route because I didn’t realize that at Lumberman’s Arch, there was a surprise hill that we had to go up and then back down again to the seawall. I guess they needed that to make it an even 10k 😛 I would also have known that the finish line would come sooner. I thought it would be further into the park but much to my surprise and relief, it wasn’t. If you haven’t run Stanley Park before, going clockwise to me is more difficult than going counter-clockwise. It wasn’t my favourite direction but it made it a little bit more challenging anyway, especially with that hill. Mostly flat though. I was expecting great course entertainment but all I saw was 1 band and 1 Elvis. It was not what I expected. I could hardly even hear the band! Not impressed by the rock n roll-ness of this race. It’s like they just put all their money on the main event and tossed aside the opener.
The finish line was lined with cheering spectators so it was a fantastic sprint! I got an official photo taken shortly after I got my medal and then grabbed a bottle of water. There were lots of tents around and a main stage being set up. I met up with Cuski who was there taking photos and my official cheerleader 😛 We went straight for the beer garden and had my free Stanley Park Brewing winter ale. I saw some of my running friends from Twitter (Bradley on the Run and Debra Kato), met up with my friend Jenette (who finished the race with a fantastic time) and took more photos. It was fun while it lasted but we didn’t stay long since we had things to do before our flight. Pretty lively atmosphere though!
I love my Brooks t-shirt (it’s the shirt I’m wearing) and the medal is one of my favourites. It is now the focal point of my medal frame thingy hanging on my wall. Here’s a photo of my cat modelling it for me.
How did I do?
Again, I was hoping to get a sub-60 minute 10k time but alas that it evaded me once again. I did get a PB though! I’m now at 1:01:41 for a 10k race… slowly and surely getting close. Hopefully next year. I was still recovering from a cold so I still had breathing problems while I ran but I pushed anyway.
Would I do this again?
Yes because I still want to do the half marathon course and get the full experience. I would also do the Remix challenge which means, do both races back to back. Participants get a third medal that shows you did both. I wouldn’t mind the extra bling 🙂 Of course, if work is a sponsor again, I will definitely ask for another entry. I also noticed that they seemed to be frantically selling entries on Groupon so that might also be worth a shot for next year.
All photos by Carmen Marin