It’s BMO Vancouver Marathon week! Are you excited? Is it your first ever marathon? While I won’t be running the full, I’ll still be joining in the festivities by running the 8k for the first time. It’s gonna be fun! I have done the BMO Vancouver Marathon once before in 2017. If it’s your first time, I have some little nuggets of wisdom I’d like to share with you, based on my experience.
Enjoy the expo
The Health, Sports and Lifestyle Expo is always a big event and one you can’t miss. Well, you can’t really miss it since you have to be there in person to pick up your package. However, do take the time to visit the booths. Get some souvenir items, especially if it’s your first marathon. Last year, New Balance had a kiosk where they printed custom shirts for you. I had one made and I cherish it up to now. Lots of exhibitors will also have special expo only prices like Nuun Hydration. 3 tubes for $20 and a water bottle is a great deal. Here’s the Virtual Race Bag to see what else is available.
Camosun is not the only hill you should worry about
While Camosun is a monster hill, save some energy for the NW Marine Drive hill heading to West 4th. It comes at the 23rd km where you’re already really tired and suddenly you have to work hard again. It caught me off guard because I focused a lot on Camosun and completely forgot about that hill. After that, you get to climb over the Burrard Bridge which could potentially be the wall you’re hoping to not hit. Studying the race course beforehand will work to your advantage.
A chunk of the course mirrors the Scotia Half
If you’ve done the Scotiabank Half Marathon before, you’re in for a treat. The section between the 16th and 31st km marks is pretty much, if not, identical to most of the Scotia Half course. This means you get to enjoy a nice downhill cruise around UBC and through the beaches. That is, until the NW Marine Drive hill I talked about. It flattens out when you hit Point Grey and then starts undulating a bit in Kitsilano until you have to get yourself over the Burrard Bridge.
Stanley Park is a mind f*ck
If you’re a back of the packer like me, you’ll probably spend some time walking on the Stanley Park seawall. This area of the race doesn’t have much of a cheer section because it’s a bit inconvenient to get to. Try to wrap your mind around this and focus on something else to help time go by more quickly. It’s really easy to lose focus and get discouraged in this area. You feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere and it’s gonna take forever to get out. That’s all a mind game though. Be strong and push on. Know that once you’re done with the park, the finish line is not far away.
Save some gas for the slightly inclined finish
The last 500 meters of the BMO Vancouver Marathon is on a false flat. There’s an ever so slight incline that doesn’t seem much. But when you’ve got 41 km and change in your legs, it feels like a steep grade. Not to worry, this area is usually lined with spectators so use their energy to keep plugging along and finish strong. Remember, the faster you go, the sooner you’ll be done.
Relish your BMO Vancouver Marathon finish. Enjoy the after party, get some brunch, take lots of selfies and wear your medal proudly. You deserve it.