Another weekend, another race. This is my second year running the BMO St. Patrick’s Day 5k, last year was a blast. This was a work sponsored event so I had a free entry once again. I was ready to rock in my November Project green hoodie, yet still unsure of what the day would hold for me since the weather forecast wasn’t ideal. Cuski sat this run out so instead I spent some time with my friend Sam, who also signed up through work.
View my race on Strava here.
This was non-existent for me since our team captain picked up everyone’s bibs. All we got was our bib (with timing chip) and some people got BMO gloves (the same ones handed out at the marathon last year). I don’t know why only some people got the gloves but oh well… it’s not a huge deal not to get one. I still have mine from last year. I did use the bag check this year though. It was by donation, which benefited the Stanley Park Ecology Society. It was very straight forward. My bag was tagged with my bib number and I received a ticket stub. I don’t know what for though, because when I picked up my bag and didn’t need to show anything (no one was there). And it was not a stub for beer unfortunately.
Take a bus to Stanley Park (use the #19) and it’ll take you pretty much to the start line. The course is a 5K using the roads of Stanley Park, not the seawall. I don’t think it changed from last year. From what I remembered, it was an undulating course and it was definitely not a boring run. You had to keep pushing over those hills but once you got over, the downhills felt so good. The race started downhill on Pipeline Road and you made a left onto Stanley Park Drive, followed it into a loop back onto Pipeline Road. Save yourself for the last couple hundred meters which includes a hill to the Finish Line. It’s 112 m of elevation gain in a 5k… to give you an idea of the hills.
How Did I Do?
Luckily for everyone, it turned into a really nice day. At about 20 seconds before the start of the race, I decided to go for a PB. After all, I wasn’t planning on doing any more running that day… might as well go for it. I started not too far from the front but it was still a challenge trying to get in front of people on Pipeline Road. As this wasn’t exactly a “serious” race, I had to do a bit of weaving in the beginning. I finally hit my stride and actually made it to the mile marker at 9 minutes. Again, could’ve been faster but people were blocking the path. Oh well. Christina from November Project caught up with me and I was running her pace for a bit… her pace is fast though so I basically had to tell her to go without me so I don’t end up bonking (I felt really close to it). The hills came and went and I pushed… my pace was pretty good, around 5:15/km avg until I hit the 4th km. I held on, all I could focus on was 30:57… last year’s time. I knew I could beat that, in fact, I had potential to get a 26:xx time. I managed to scrounge up 27:05. I was happy, I beat last year’s record by almost 4 minutes! When I got home I realized that I also beat my 5K PB by about 30 seconds. All in all, not a bad race for tired marathon legs. It gave me confidence for the 30 km run I was supposed to do the next day.
Photographers, including my friend Sandra Leung from Yaletown Photography, were at the finish line taking photos of people. We were ushered to the chute where each runner got their souvenir beer glass and then we had to wait in line for food. No medals or shirts were given out for this race.
That line looked daunting but it moved rather quickly. It led into the food tent which was worth the wait. There were lots of food including coconut water samples, stew (veggie or beef), juice, bars, yogurt, fruit, and mini cupcakes! For the second year in a row, I wasn’t disappointed by the food.
I still think runners should get a free glass of beer at the end. We paid for it though… a whopping $7 for a glass of 1 of 3 kinds of Granville Island Beer (the price went down if you bought 3 or 5 I think). Beers in hand, we headed inside the Stanley Park Pavilion to find seats. It was packed and people were standing around watching the medal presentations. We just finished our beers and then went on our way. Too bad we left, apparently I won a door prize but they had to give it away since I wasn’t present to accept it. I didn’t know there were door prizes. If I had known, perhaps I would’ve stayed. Thanks for the great event! It was a blast as usual and hope to be back again next year.
All photos by Jeannine Avelino