Where: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Cost: Prices range from $109 to $169 for the full marathon and $79 to $110 for the half, depending on how early you register (register prior to December 31 for the lowest prices; the marathons are run in early May).
Time: Elite runners typically finish the half in a little over an hour and the full in 2 to 3 hours, good runners usually take a couple of hours for the half and 3 to 5 for the full marathon, and slower runners and walkers take longer.
Difficulty: The difficulty level varies based on the length – you can sign up for the full (42K/26 miles) or the half marathon (21k/13 miles). I did the full marathon and I found the last 12K very grueling. The half marathon is nice because you finish up far more quickly and probably won’t be too tired afterward if you run regularly. The full marathon takes a lot more out of you (I wasn’t able to work out for a couple of days afterward). You are allowed to walk the marathon if you’d like to do it but don’t think you can manage the run.
Required Equipment: Good running shoes, comfortable clothing (ideally something that wicks away sweat)
- A significant portion of the Vancouver route runs alongside beaches and through forest parks.
- Lots of people come out to cheer and bands play all along the route ─ the atmosphere is positive and fun.
- There are plenty of water stations and enthusiastic volunteers.
- You get a finisher medal and T-shirt.
- It’s a great fitness challenge.
- There are portable toilets along the course route, but they tend to have long line-ups, which can adversely affect your time if you have to go.
- There are no dogs allowed on the race course (understandable for safety reasons, but it would be fun to run the race with a dog).
- Packages must be picked up prior to race day.
- Get there at least 30 minutes early if you need to check any gear.
- There’s not much parking in the area (there are some pay parking places, but they fill up quickly). Arrange to be dropped off or take public transit (the start/finish are accessible via transit).
- Train for the marathon in advance. If you aren’t used to running long distances, you’re going to have difficulties on the course. The Running Room usually offers training clinics.
- It tends to be cold when the marathon starts (early in the morning) and usually warms up significantly over the course of the run, so dress accordingly.
- Your body temperature will drop quickly once you stop running. Bring dry, warm clothing to change into after you cross the finish line.
- Stay hydrated. Although there are plenty of water stations, many people don’t drink enough and suffer dehydration; staying hydrated reduces perceived effort during the run (although dehydration is a more common problem, excess hydration can also occur ─ see the RW Complete Guide to Hydration for more information).
- Bring carb gels or some other type of snack to avoid an energy crash.
For more information, see the BMOVancouverMarathon.ca/FAQ page.
For more activity descriptions, visit the main Activities page.
*Routes, rules, and prices may have changed since the time of this writing.