“New course with midway hills to test your gumption!”
Vancouver’s Top Late Summer 10k
There are dozens of races throughout the summer in Vancouver BC. If you are looking for an amazing September race, then the Eastside 10k 2017 is sure to please.
This is my third Eastside 10k experience, and I must say, the absolute best. I ran the 2015 and 2016 events, both as part of a weight management strategy and to sustain my base while training for the BMO Vancouver Marathon.
The 2017 Eastside 10k race event looks like a completely different race compared to previous years. This year sports a refreshed course, and change in package pick-up venue. Sunshine also dominated in 2017, a stark departure from the “Rainside 10k” experience in previous years.
Put on by the Canada Running Series and sponsored this year by Under Armour, the Eastside 10k is an excellent charity run with donations going to the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, and PHS Community Services Society. Contributions were made possible at registration, pledging a participant team, or starting an online fundraising event.
Package Pick-Up Experience
The location of the package pick-up for 2017 was at the SFU Segal Building in downtown Vancouver. In previous years, package pick-up was held near Queen Elizabeth Theatre at a much less inviting venue.
I judge the pick-up experience using two metrics: 1) The time it takes to get in and out, and, 2) Friendliness of the staff. The Eastside 10k package pick-up experience rated high on both. I was in and out of the venue within ten minutes.
The lines were very well organized and I never felt confused about where I was supposed to be. Staff were also very accommodating and efficient. The top “plus” was the friendly greater at the door, pointing folks to the lines organized by last name.
Eastside 10k 2017 Race Day Experience
Part of putting on a great event is the organizers ability to produce an exciting race day experience. Every Eastside 10k that I have participated in has felt positive and inviting. This is a race for runners at all ability levels. You will see participates from every age demographic as well. Running your first 10k distance? The Eastside 10k is a great experience for both the beginner and the veteran.
This year, the race started approximately 12 minutes late. I have not experienced this in previous races. However, it was surprising how well the race officials and runners handled this delay.
The start line announcer reported that an emergency pulled officers away from a portion of the course. Officers are placed at ever major intersection to keep runners on track and safe. Once the incident was over, officers returned, and the race commence. No big deal!
In previous years, the Eastside 10k started and finished on the Dunsmuir Viaduct. In 2017, the race was shifted north, staring on Cordova Street near Cambie.
The race winds around downtown Vancouver in many twits and turns, taking you through the Downtown Eastside along the water, past Wall Street, and turning you back at Pandora Park. The course gifts you with approximately 1.5k of hills at the middle portion of the course, something that I did not anticipate.
On the race registration website, the new course is described as a flatter course for the final stretch of the race. That is absolutely true. However, if you assumed this meant that the course would be flatter overall (as I assumed), the 5k to 6.5k stretch presented as a true shocker.
Now, I am not one to complain about hills. I live in a very hilly area in the Greater Vancouver Area, and run quite a bit of elevation on even a normal training day. This part of the course did stop many in their tracks. If you started out too fast, the mid span humbled you to a walk.
How I Did
Overall, I am happy with my performance. My personal best time for the 10k distance is 55.57 (Turkey Trot, 2016). Today I ran the course in 1:01.23. That is more than five minutes slower. With that said, I went into this race both under training, and focusing on having a good time. Last year I became quite burnt out after putting excessive pressure on myself to keep beating my times.
Bling and Post Race Experience
Out of all the races I run each year, the promotional t-shirts you get as part of your registration for the Eastside 10k, are the best. I still run in shirt from previous races. The materials in the shirts this year are a major step-up as well. The full tech Under Armour fabric tee is sure to keep me dry as I layer for long distance runs this winter.
The race medal for Eastside 10k 2017 is much the same compared to previous years. It resembles the shape of a belt buckle, and has a unique brushed metal finish. I actually wish the Canadian Run Series would change this up a bit – make it a bit more exciting. Also, the string that the medal hangs on is quite short. It was difficult putting over my big head, and almost impossible getting it off.
I believe that the post race day experience should be both celebratory and well organized. The positive race vibe at the 2017 event continued well after the finish line. People gathered around the PowerBar and Gatorade tables grabbing nutrition and sharing their experience with friends. The only negative was the size of the post race venue. It was quite crowded, making it difficult to politely work my way through with my post race mental daze.
The Yeti Race Verdict
I think that everyone looking for a great 10k race day experience will love the Eastside 10k put on by Under Armour. I look forward to registering for the 2018 event!
- Well organized and efficient package pick-up experience.
- Enthusiastic and positive personalities all around (race officials, gear check-in staff, etc.)
- The last stretch of the course was flat.
- Amazing tech t-shirt as part of registration.
- New course zig-zags all over the place.
- The race day medal could use a refresh.
- Post-race location was crowded.
Final Verdict: Despite the very minor feedback above, this is a MUST-DO race for runners at every level. I look forward to running it for years to come!