2017 BMO Vancouver Marathon Medals Revealed

It’s four weeks until the 2017 edition of the BMO Vancouver Marathon and race organizers took to Instagram today to reveal the medals we’ll all be racing for in 28 days.

bmo-full-medalThe front side features a unique 3D design that combines elements of the Vancouver skyline, including Canada Place and Harbour Centre, with a geometric representation of the mountains that surround the city. The race distance is shown at the bottom with the race logo through the middle. It’s a great design that continues the tradition of beautiful BMO Vancouver Marathon medals.

On the reverse, the geometric design continues with RUN|VAN over a reverse of the imagery on the front. There’s a spot for an iTab race time insert for those who opt for it.

The medals for the various races are all similar in design, but differ in size. The 42.2km full marathon is the largest, then the 21.1km half marathon. The 8km and marathon relay are similarly sized and the smallest of the medals. The full marathon medal has a beautiful red ribbon, the half marathon is blue, the 8km is green and the relay is magenta rounding out the set.

A 29km Confidence Booster

Today’s run was pretty good. I set an aggressive goal of 29km for the day and figured I would be lucky to get to 26km before the rib injury would shut me down.

Adriana (my physiotherapist) now suspects a fracture or two based on the healing time and progress, but it doesn’t really matter at this point. When I started the comeback, I was hoping to get at least one run around 30km in before the taper starts with three weeks to go. I’ve got another weekend still and one 29km under my belt…excellent.

The run went really well through the first half. The route was tough, with quite a bit of hill over the first 10km or so. From there, it was a downhill middle section and then a flat finish from the Beach to downtown.

I ran armed with some stretches that were supposed to keep things from freaking out and spasming during an stops for traffic lights. That was the biggest issue in the last few kilometres last Sunday.

It turns out that those worked well – physio for the win! A few times things tightened up a bit, but even after 20km, it was fine. The last few kilometres were tough going, but more because my legs started to give up a bit. I’m not as strong as I usually am at this point in training after missing two long runs and two full weeks of running total.

I’ll try 32km next week and then head into the taper with some confidence that finishing the Vancouver Marathon is possible. Each run is getting better, with less pain. Most importantly, I’m learning how to manage the injury a bit better each time out. Here’s hoping that by race day on May 7th, I’ll be close to 100%.

2017 BMO Vancouver Marathon Course Guide

Here’s a Google Streetview tour of some of the sights along one of the most beautiful marathon courses in the world – the BMO Vancouver Marathon. I’ve tried to highlight a few of the key moments and points of interest along this 42.2km tour of Vancouver.

Let’s start at the beginning in Queen Elizabeth Park, where runners will gather just down the street from Nat Bailey Stadium, home of the Vancouver Canadians baseball team.

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Cambie to the Big Hill

Runners make a left turn onto Cambie St. just after the start and the route heads south towards Cambie Village. There will be some locals out to cheer the marathoners on at the start. This is a residential area with some shops and homes to look at.

Here’s the view just prior to the right turn onto 49th St. Look for Langara 49th Avenue Canada Line station on your left as a landmark here. You’re about 2.5km in.

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The route heads west along W. 49th Ave. which is a bit more narrow than Cambie, and decidedly residential. There are a few minor rollers along here but nothing to worry about. Eventually runners head slightly right onto SW. Marine Drive. Take a gel around 7km in advance of the big hill.

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Around 9km, the course heads north and the first real challenge is the run up Camosun hill. This is a big, long, fairly steep hill. Take it easy and don’t ruin the latter stages of your run by elevating your heart rate too much here. The hill is about 1.1km.

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West 16th and UBC

Once the Camosun Hill and Pacific Spirit Park are behind you, it’s back onto the wide streets and W. 16th Ave. There’s a short out and back section here up Blanca St. to add some distance and then it’s into the University of British Columbia (UBC).

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At about 16.5km you’ll make a right turn onto NW Marine Dr. Look for the UBC Stadium on your right.

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From here, it’s an enjoyable and slightly downhill run through the campus. Then it’s a slight left and down a long, fast hill. Look to your left here. The views across to Vancouver Island are incredible, no matter the weather. Make up for lost time on Camosun as you give back that elevation and cruise down to Spanish Banks.

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Spanish Banks and Jericho

Take in views of the beach at Spanish Banks and enjoy some crowd support along this stretch. Be very glad the course sticks to the beach here as there are some insane hills to your right on some of the streets that go south from NW Marine.

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At about 27km you’ll be in the Jericho neighbourhood. There’s usually great crowd support along this stretch. Between that and some incredible homes to look at, the time will pass quickly here. Don’t forget to take your gels and make sure you get some nutrition in as the Burrard Bridge is coming up!

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Burrard, English Bay and the Seawall

Here we go! Up and over the Burrard St. Bridge. This is a steep climb at the start, and things level out over the top. The left turn after the bridge is one of the highlights of the course. The crowd here is big and loud. Tap into their energy and know that the climbs are behind you now.

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At 32km it’s down a short hill and onto the Seawall which will be your home for the next 10km. Enjoy the views out over English Bay and make note of the Inukshuk on your left. If you have time, come back here after the race and enjoy incredible sunsets.

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The Seawall curves and snakes along the edge of the water here and it’s a little tough to keep track of where you are and how much race is left to run. The first landmark to watch for is Siwash Rock around 35km. Here the path runs between the cliff and a large “flower-pot” rock. It’s quite a sight!

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Lion’s Gate Bridge and Not a mermaid statue

At 36km the Seawall passes under the iconic Lion’s Gate Bridge. Look up and marvel at this suspension bridge that joins Vancouver to the cities of North Van and West Van. The bridge marks the start of the last push. You’ll be able to see downtown soon and there’s not much running left to do.

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At 38km look to your left for the Girl in a Wetsuit statue in the water. Contrary to what some might think, it’s not a mermaid. Perhaps at 38km, you be ready to believe it’s a beautiful woman cheering you to a strong finish.

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Get ready for the Brockton Point Lighthouse and be aware that an official photographer is often parked just around the bend waiting to snap a picture of runners. Look strong!

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Coal Harbour and the finish

The Seawall seems to go on forever…but it’s almost done and the race is also nearing its end. Around 40km runners are treated to some spectacular views of the Vancouver skyline in Coal Harbour. Enjoy them and prepare yourself for a final push up a small hill to the finish line.

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Here it is! The finish line awaits. Run up and finish strong. Cross the line and get a medal from one of the awesome volunteers. You did it. You’ve RUN VAN.

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I hope you enjoyed this tour of the BMO Vancouver Marathon. Make a mental note of some of these spots. It helps break the race up into manageable chunks and also allows you to take some time to enjoy this spectacular course and a beautiful city.

Download a PDF version with more information including the location of water stations, first aid, toilets, etc.

Five Weeks, Making Progress

Recovery from the fall and rib injury continues. Today I ran a solid 17.5km with the Downtown Yonge Running Room gang.

While I experienced a fair bit of soreness over the last couple of kilometres, overall it was a great run. My legs are still strong and I was able to run at something approaching the usual Sunday quick pace.

Some positives coming out of these runs:

  • Each run is longer, but I am also feeling less soreness. Despite running 10km on Friday, and then 17km today, I don’t feel any worse than I did on Thursday morning after 8km.
  • My legs are still there. I feel strong still and aside from some tightness that some stretching will cure, the 17km today was no problem at all.
  • Same goes for the cardio. My cardio always holds on better through a short break, so it’s not a surprise that I didn’t loose anything in the overall fitness department.

Feeling positive

Generally I’m feeling very positive these days. I’m probably at about 80% right now, but there’s still five weeks left and there’s not much healing required to get to a place where 42.2km is possible. Vancouver was never going to be a race that I was going to push for a personal best in anyways. As long as I can start the race with confidence that I’ll be able to get to the finish, I’ll stick with the full marathon.

When the fall happened, I figured I would be back running in a few days. That turned into a couple of weeks. But the advice I gave myself just after it happened – “don’t panic” – stayed with me throughout.

Five weeks is both a long and short amount of time

Marathon training is funny. Five or six weeks can seem like both a long time but also a short time somehow. When everything is going well, the weeks click off and race day arrives. When it’s not going great, it’s easy to think about a week or two as being next to nothing.

I’ve got something like 23 runs left still and that’s lots of time to heal and also rebuild some of that strength. While I missed nine or ten runs including a couple of long ones, it’s important to remember that marathon training is not about a single run, or even a week or two.

There are 34 days to go and I’m confidently looking forward to running my fourth BMO Vancouver Marathon.