A year ago, I was on pacing duties for West Van Run Summer. It was such a great experience that I asked to do it again. Race Director Kirill Solovyev made it happen. On the first Saturday of June, runners headed up to Ambleside Park for a double race morning. The sun was out, the vibes are positive, let’s get West Van Run Summer started!
The West Van Run Summer Course
There were new courses for West Van Run Summer 2019 and I think they were a great change. The mile is a completely flat out and back on the Spirit Trail. The 5K is also very flat and is mostly along Ambleside Beach but extends to Taylor Way behind Park Royal before heading back along the Spirit Trail. Best of all, no train crossings 😉
Not my best mile
I signed up for both the mile and the 5K just like last year. I consider this my mid-training mile test so mentally, I was prepared to go for it. Physically, I was not ready. I went hard too fast in the first few hundred meters, trying to catch up to the speedy runners. You can see that in my split times below. My goal was to keep it to under 2 minutes per 400 meters but clearly I should’ve paid more attention. After dying in the 2nd quarter, I managed to find my footing again in the 3rd. I brought it home in the last 400 meters but it wasn’t good enough for sub-8.
It was an 8:04 mile, 9 seconds slower than last year. It’s an okay result for me but I know I can do better one day. My best mile is still 7:33 so hopefully one day, I’ll be strong enough to beat that. I loved the out-and-back flat course for this. I just wished I took advantage of it a little more and ran a smarter race.
Pacing the 35 min West Van Run Summer 5K
I didn’t get my mile goal but it was time to set my focus on other people’s goals. A pace of 7:00/km will get exactly 35 minutes. My watch was programmed to keep me on a 6:45-6:55/km pace to ensure runners chasing me a personal best. It went off without a hitch. I had a great time talking to people along the course and I loved the feedback I was getting.
The new 5K course is actually great for achieving a PB. It was practically hill-free. In the home stretch, I cheered people on to make a move and pass me. I hope they all got the times they were hoping for. In the end, my net time was 34:22 with an average pace of 6:53/km. Pretty good, I’d say… not too fast but with a buffer for error.
I’ve been going to West Van Run events for years and I love how it’s grown to the size it is today. Not only does it attract speedsters, but also lots of families, kids and first time runners. For sure, this is thanks in part to their awesome sponsors like Greyell Portfolio Management, Whittall Real Estate and so many more. There was race day package pickup for out-of-towners only. Luckily, Debra picked mine up the day before. Bag check was available on-site, which was convenient.
Next, the medals. The West Van Run Summer medals are one of my absolute favourites in my collection. They’re colourful and slick. This year, they decided to mail out the age group medals to save some time. They still awarded the overall winners at the race. I think that worked pretty well.
What was a bit hectic was that cars were still going in and out of the parking lot. With lots of runners just standing around or milling about, you really had to be careful to make sure you’re not in anyone’s way. I’m not sure if this was a big problem that day but it probably wouldn’t hurt to have a traffic person there.
All in all, it was a fun event as usual. The weather was perfect, everyone looked like they had a great time. I saw many friends and even caught up with some over brunch. Huge shout-out to Dave Mallari Photography for being there to take photos of us, which we were able to download a few days later. After the success of West Van Run Summer, I’m excited to see how North Van Run will be like on September 29th. Hint: shirts and medals FTW!