Every year we’re joined by hundreds of new runners at both the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon and the 5k. For many people, it’s their first time participating in an event of this size. We’ve taken some tips from the seasoned runners out there and come up with the ABC’s of how to set yourself up for a great race – both before and after the event.
While this guide is primarily aimed at new runners, it’s always good to refresh your memory even if you’ve been racing for decades! Also be sure to check out our Race Etiquette Page.
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Before the Race
A – Know where you need to be and when
This may seem obvious, but it’s so often overlooked. You can save yourself tonnes of stress on Race Day (and the days leading up to it) by knowing where to go and when. This includes knowing where to pick up your race package and bib number in the days leading up to the race, as well as how to get to the start line.
- Expo – ALL participants must pick up their race package and bib number at Package Pickup before Race Day. Package Pickup is located at the Vancouver Convention Centre West (new for 2017; 1055 Canada Place, enter off Burrard St.) and is open on Friday, June 23 from 11am to 6:30pm, and Saturday, June 24 from 10am to 5pm. More details here.
- 5k Start Line – the 5k begins on Stanley Park Drive, just west of the Fish House restaurant. Red corral begins at 9:15am, Blue corral at 9:20am, Green at 9:25am, and Purple at 9:30am (more on corrals further down the page). Make sure you leave plenty of time to get here, as there is NO PARKING near the start line – you will need to either take transit and walk, or park at the Rose Garden lot on the other side of Stanley Park and take our shuttle to the start (leave an extra 45 minutes for this). Details on this, plus maps, are here.
- Half-Marathon Start Line – the Half begins on East Mall at UBC, near Thunderbird Arena. Race start is 7:30AM SHARP – leave extra time to get here due to road closures. Translink has increased service on the 99 B-Line and 25 bus routes for the morning, but if you are driving we recommend carpooling and parking at Thunderbird Parkade. Full details and maps are here.
***Important*** Make sure you leave plenty of time to find and use the washrooms before the run starts, although there are some washrooms available on course. Start Lines will CLOSE 10 minutes after the scheduled start times, meaning you will not be permitted to start after this point! Also note that there are construction closures on SW Marine Drive this year, so please use West 16th Ave, West 10th Ave, or Chancellor Blvd to get to UBC.***
B – Don’t do anything new! We mean it!
A common mistake is to try something new just before or on Race Day. This could be anything from wearing a new pair of shoes during the run to changing up your diet the day before. If you typically eat a simple pasta the night before your training runs, don’t try out that new Mexican Food Cart on Saturday night. If you don’t usually have coffee before your training runs, don’t go for a double espresso on Sunday morning. Stick with what works for you – from your meals to your running clothes to your morning routine.
C – Start in the right corral
When you pick up your bib number, you’ll notice a coloured corral box on it (Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, or Purple). This colour matches up with the corral you’ve been assigned to and there’ll be coloured corral flags at the start line to show you were to line up.
But what’s a corral? In order to give everyone their best experience on Race Day, we assign all participants into a corral based on their predicted finish time. This way, speedsters can start at the front of the pack while walkers start further back. Please be respectful of other runners and line up according to your expected finish time. Please also be mindful of other runners who may need to pass you on course – if you are running with children encourage them to stay close or hold their hand. Corral details for Half-Marathon and 5k.
BONUS – use our Gear Check to store a bag of warm, dry (and less-sweaty) clothes for after the race. Your $2 donation will go to our Featured Charities.
During the Race
A – Make sure your bib number is on your front and visible
We use a bib-tag timing system, which means your timing chip is embedded in your bib number. In order for it to work properly and have your time recorded:
- Do not remove the “bibTag” or foam spacer from your bib.
- Do not fold your bib or excessively bend or twist the “bibTag”.
- Wear your bib on your chest/abdomen. Do not wear on your back, side, leg or arm.
- Do not cover your bib with clothing – always make sure it is completely visible.
- Make sure you cross over the timing mat at both the Start Line and the Finish Line.
***Start Lines for both the Half and 5k will CLOSE 10min AFTER THE SCHEDULED START TIME
B – Start slow and stay even
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of Race Day and start out too fast. Do the opposite – start a little slower than your normal pace and gradually pick up your pace over the first kilometre. After that, try to keep an even pace throughout the race and save your extra energy for the final push to the Finish Line!
C – Stay hydrated out there (and wear sunscreen!)
It can be pretty hot in June, so make sure to keep hydrated while on course. It’s a good idea to bring your own water, but we’ll also have plenty of aid stations on course, serving up both water and Gatorade. If you are using one of the aid stations:
- When approaching a hydration station, move to the side of the road, grab your fluid/nutritional needs and keep moving. There will be multiple hydration tables so if the first table is busy KEEP MOVING.
- Throw your used cup to the side of the road as close to the hydration station as possible, ideally in one of the marked bins. Drop your cup down by your waist so you don’t hit/splash another participant.
- If you plan to stop at the aid station, move past the tables and pull off to the side of the road.
- Say thank you to the volunteers!
After the Race
A – Keep moving
Collect your medal as you cross the Finish Line, then keep moving through the chute until you get to the Post-Race Recovery Area. Keep moving for at least 10 more minutes afterwards to gradually bring your heart rate down and help your legs flush out that lactic acid (this will prevent you from being stiff tomorrow).
B – Refuel and rehydrate
Right after the finish line we’ll have water and Gatorade for you to rehydrate with. Grab a cup and keep walking – there will be more in the Post-Race Recovery Area. A variety of snacks will be available in the Recovery Area, including bananas, bagels, Powerbar, cookies, raisins, juice, and yogurt. The carbs will help replenish your energy stores while a bit of protein will help rebuild your muscles. Make sure you eat something within 30 minutes of crossing the line.
C – Get warm and enjoy the Finish Area
After you’ve fueled up, stop by Gear Check to collect your spare clothes. Even on a sunny day, your core temperature will drop fast once you stop moving, especially when you’re still wearing sweaty clothes. Once you’ve done that, check out the live band, our Charity Village, and Awards Ceremony (10:30am).
If you’re looking for a place to meet your friend and family after the run, our five Charity Village tents will be labeled A, B, C, D, and E – pick a letter and meet in front of it. Full map of the Finish Area is here.
Congratulations! Now it’s time to start planning your next race – join us at the Under Armour Eastside 10k on September 17!