“The perfect race to score a personal best!”
I love the half marathon distance. It requires a degree of planning and you have to be tuned into your course management plan. Today I ran the Rock ‘N’ Roll Oasis Vancouver Half Marathon. What a blast, even on a cold damp late October morning. It was completely worth it! In fact, this is a race that needs to be added to my list of “must do” races!
How I did
I started this race convincing myself to have a good time, kick back and accept whatever time I got. Within the first 5k, I decided that if I could keep up the quicker pace I was running on through the 10k mark, that today would be a well fought personal best effort. My previous race half marathon PB was around 02:27. Once I passed the 2:15 pace bunny, I knew this was a day for kicking some ass. My splits were all improved from previous races, and my final chip time result was 02:09:12. Needless to say, I am tickled!
The Rock ‘N’ Roll running series is all about the vibe. Halloween is just a week away, so there were many folks with awesome costumes – I mean, this is something that I would never do myself as even a tutu seems like it would slow me down, but secretly I kinda want to! Also, there was at least seven bands, and I mean really great bands, playing at major junctures along the course. Whoever curates the musicians for the Rock ‘N’ Roll Vancouver Half Marathon series is doing a fab job. Finally, there were volunteers everywhere helping put on this race. They were all uber supportive.
This race is for everybody! There was an early start corral for slower runners, something that I have not seen at previous events. Runners were all shapes and sizes, and walkers and speed demons alike were all welcomed to participate. I saw one guy that must have been 400 pounds. He was amazing and it warmed my heart watching people cheer him on. This is what racing is all about and thinking about this guys makes me kinda emotional. Running changes lives!
Package pick-up experience
If there was one significant weakness for this race, it was the package pick-up experience. Bib check-in Line ups were messy, a product of too small a space creating congestion. The health expo was “meh.” I did a walk through but did not see anything that made me want to stick around. The BMO Vancouver Marathon Expo, on the other hand, has been amazing the past two years that I have attended; a tough act to beat.
By the way, I seriously dislike the shoe tag timing chip. It was my first racing using this awkward looking loop on my shoe. I prefer the timing chip integrated into my bib.
This is a fast paced course. There are three or four spots that do demand respect with slow long sloping hills. But I am a hill loving beast, so I did not mind. It is absolutely a course for achieving a fabulous half marathon finishing time. The race was rather congested for the entire course. Most of the time, race congestion is solved within the first 5k or so. However, there were a number of spots along the way that were quite narrow, creating bottle necks resulting in several close encounters with other runners. Many folks also did not follow standard race etiquette. For example, slow runners and walkers rarely hung to the right to let faster folks by. It made for some frustrated runners, and confused walkers, as people grumbled for them to move over.
Bling and post race experience
The medal for the Rock ‘N’ Roll Vancouver Half Marathon is amazing. This year’s art is a posh looking etching of a beaver. Totally cool! It is also uber heavy, so be careful dancing around with this thing around your neck!
I am too messed up after a race to truly take in the post-race experience. It is also kinda cold out, so I’m not one to hang around. With that said, the crowds around the finish line were huge and there were many booths for people to check out after getting their finishers medal. I was able to quickly grab a banana, Gatorade, and nutrition bar on my way out. I do wish they had clearly marked vegan options, but I’m not one to complain about that.
The Rock ‘N’ Roll Vancouver Half Marathon is a must do race for anyone running their first half or accomplish a personal best. The course congestion was a bit of a challenge. However, it is important to learn to relax and have a good time. There is no doubt that I will be running this race again next year.