“Vancouver’s top Autumn race experience!”
Fall Race Experience
The Fall Classic is the last official awesome race experience of the Fall running season in Vancouver BC, the third and final of three big races put on by the Vancouver International Marathon Society. If you are looking for an uber well-organized event with great vibe, this is a must do race experience. The event offers half marathon, 10k, and 5k distances. That means there is something for everyone at the Fall Classic!
How I did
Prior to the race I decided that today was one to push hard, but not over do it. It is important to have races focused on having fun; there is always another race to shoot for the moon. My final chip time was 2:12:52 with an average pace of 6:17/km. I didn’t place as good compared to previous half marathon races in overall results or by gender. That makes sense as the folks that turn out to the Fall Classic are much more seasoned. Fall time “snoozies” and challenging weather keeps many at bay.
Now, compared to my previous Fall Classic race in 2015, my time improved dramatically from 2:28:38. So, although today was not a personal best race, I improved on the course more than 16 minutes. That rocks!
The Vancouver International Marathon (RunVan) Society puts on three big races in the Greater Vancouver area each years: The BMO Vancouver Marathon, Turkey Trot, and Fall Classic. If you run all three, you get a “Hat Trick” gift. This year was a black long sleeve running shirt. The Hat Trick shirt last year was equally as awesome.
The RunVan race series is all about positive vibe. Everyone, from the event photographers, to the RunVan crew and volunteers, is alive with energy on race day. The event is also very well-organized keeping everything moving along. The one thing I can say about the event volunteers, is that after you run a couple of the RunVan races, folks learn your name. That shows serious dedication to the cause.
Package pick-up experience
Package pick-up was at Forerunners in Kits this year. The package pick-up experience was exceptional as expected. The goodie bag was not overstuffed with advertisements, a serious plus in my mind. After getting my bib, safety pins, and a very cool $20 gift certificate to any New Balance gear in the store, I popped over to the Hat Trick line, grabbed my gift, and was out the door. The experience was quick and there was no congested lineup. Very appreciated! I also got my picture taken with my bib number by someone on the RunVan crew. These guys know how to build community!
In my opinion, the Fall Classic course is, at very least, moderately challenging. It is a course to shoot for a “course personal best,” but not an overall personal best for the half marathon distance.
The half marathon course is a double loop (not my favourite, but has its own advantages.) Once you cross the start line, you wind around the edge of campus (UBC) along several deceptively challenging long sloping hills. I actually am a lover of hilly courses, but again, not a time to break through your own personal best ceiling.
Volunteers were plentiful and there were more than enough aid stations along the way. This year they provided water and Ultima Replenisher. The course was well-marked and volunteers kept things organized.
Bling and post race experience
There was no event shirt for the Fall Classic 2016, with the exception of the Hat Trick gift (see above). The medal was just as posh as last years, and the ribbon much improved with a different colour for each half marathon, 10k, and 5k event. It has become standard at most race events I have attended in the past three years for everyone to get a finisher’s medal. I think that is brilliant! Anyone who engages in a race, regardless of performance and distance, deserves the prize.
I believe that there is something to offer for everyone at all of the RunVan racing events held throughout the year in Vancouver. The Fall Classic is an amazing encore to end the season with. Anyone with gumption can complete at the Fall Classic, but do be warned of the hills. They are not steep in particular, but run long.
Most importantly, hats off to the RunVan crew. The events are all well-organized, and the positive energy shines. I look forward to scoring another Hat Trick next year. See you at the BMO Vancouver Marathon in May!
Thank you for checking out our list of awesome race reviews. I look forward to the next event!