The Vancouver Sun Run - Fitness and Fun in British Columbia

Approaching the start line of the Vancouver Sun Run
Approaching the start line of the Vancouver Sun Run | Source

A Fun 10k Run, Walk and Wheelchair Event

The Vancouver Sun Run in British Columbia, Canada, is an annual ten kilometre event for wheelchair competitors, runners and walkers. It's a fun and scenic event with a route that starts in downtown Vancouver, travels through part of beautiful Stanley Park and ends at BC Place Stadium. The run is associated with the Vancouver Sun newspaper and is the largest ten kilometre event in Canada. The 2016 run will take place on Sunday, April 17th.

The Sun Run is exciting for participants and the celebration held after the event is very enjoyable. The real value of the run is that it encourages people to become healthier and fitter, however. Completing the event or completing the course within a certain time limit is a great goal for people to achieve and can provide a wonderful sense of accomplishment. Many people train individually, in groups or in training clinics for the run, usually for several months, becoming fitter as they do so

I've participated in the Sun Run for many years and always enjoy it. In the past I've run the whole distance, but in the last few years I've alternated running and walking intervals or power walking and walking intervals. All of the photographs in this article were taken by me during the Sun Run or during my visits to Stanley Park.

The Vancouver Sun Run 2015

You may not be able to come to Vancouver for the Sun Run, but there may well be a community near you that holds a similar event. Community runs and walks are popular in many parts of the world. They are sometimes used to raise funds for charities.

The Vancouver Sun Run

The first Sun Run took place in 1985. Today between 45,000 and 50,000 people participate in the event every year. They range from elite runners to recreational walkers. The participants start in waves to avoid congestion on the route, with each wave containing people with approximately the same projected finishing time. The fastest wave begins first and the slowest wave is the last to start. The last waves start when the first waves have finished!

Some people like to challenge themselves to complete the route in a fast time and train seriously in the months leading up to the run. For others, the run or walk is a non-competitive and enjoyable way to experience a healthy April morning activity with their family or friends. Some participants run in corporate or school teams. Some raise money for charities or wear costumes while they are running or walking.

Reflections at the start of the Vancouver Sun Run, with the green roof of the Hotel Vancouver in the background
Reflections at the start of the Vancouver Sun Run, with the green roof of the Hotel Vancouver in the background

Waiting to Start

The Sun Run starts on Georgia Street in downtown Vancouver. The first wave begins the event at 9:00 am. Even when I run in the event I move quite slowly and never have a fast time, so I'm used to waiting for my wave to begin. There is musical entertainment while people are waiting as well as the company of a happy and friendly crowd of people of all ages. In addition, fitness instructors often lead a warm-up. Even if you can't see the exercise demonstration you can hear the instructions over the loudspeaker and see what the people in front of you are doing.

Some people arrive long after the official start time because they know that their wave won't start for an hour or more after the first wave begins the event. The main disadvantage to a long wait if you're in a slower wave is that it can get cold, so outer clothing that can be easily removed and carried when the run/walk begins is necessary.

The fastest runners deposit their warm-up clothes on the side barriers at the starting area or throw the clothing on the curb during the run. (The discarded clothing is collected and given to a charity.) Most runners and walkers can't afford to lose clothing like this, so lightweight jackets that can be wrapped around the waist are a good idea. Some walkers carry backpacks.

Waiting to Begin and Travelling Through Stanley Park

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Encouragement for those of us in a slower wave!The Vancouver Art Gallery is located close to the start line.Tennis courts in Stanley ParkFlower beds by the tennis courtsThe rhododendrons are in bloom.More spring flowers in Stanley ParkEven more spring flowersSpring colourA curious squirrel is watching all the people stream by.Walking through Stanley Park
Encouragement for those of us in a slower wave!
Encouragement for those of us in a slower wave!
The Vancouver Art Gallery is located close to the start line.
The Vancouver Art Gallery is located close to the start line.
Tennis courts in Stanley Park
Tennis courts in Stanley Park
Flower beds by the tennis courts
Flower beds by the tennis courts
The rhododendrons are in bloom.
The rhododendrons are in bloom.
More spring flowers in Stanley Park
More spring flowers in Stanley Park
Even more spring flowers
Even more spring flowers
Spring colour
Spring colour
A curious squirrel is watching all the people stream by.
A curious squirrel is watching all the people stream by.
Walking through Stanley Park
Walking through Stanley Park

On the Route

The Sun Run route is closed to vehicle traffic. The scenery is lovely, making the run/walk very enjoyable, as long as the participant dresses for the weather. Run day is often sunny. There have been a few Sun Runs on grey days, but while I've been participating there haven't been many rainy days. One advantage of running or walking through Vancouver in spring is that the beautiful cherry blossom is in bloom.

There are water stations, washrooms and entertainers on the route, as well as people to cheer us on. The washrooms are handy, but they are in great demand. Lining up to enter them means that a person will have a slower finish time in the run. There are also medics on bicycles and ambulances on the route in case of injuries or emergencies.

Some people prefer to participate in the Sun Run as volunteers rather than as runners or walkers. Many volunteers are required to make the event run smoothly, especially as there are almost 50,000 people navigating the course.

A view in Stanley Park
A view in Stanley Park

Stanley Park

Part of the Sun Run route travels through Stanley Park, a beautiful area of a thousand acres. Stanley Park was opened in 1888 and is named after Lord Stanley, who was the Governor General of Canada at the time.

The park is located on a peninsula near downtown Vancouver. It's filled with an undeveloped forest made of tall, evergreen trees and it contains abundant wildlife. It also contains beaches and areas with cultivated plants as well as tourist attractions like the Vancouver Aquarium, restaurants and horse-drawn carriage rides. A seawall path travels around the park and offers wonderful views of Burrard Inlet and the ocean. The path is popular with walkers, runners and cyclists. Stanley Park is a great place to study nature, exercise or relax in beautiful surroundings.

Running and Walking Beside Burrard Inlet and the Ocean

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A beach beside the Sun Run routeExotic treesVery important items in a public event!TulipsInteresting scenery beside the Vancouver Sun Run routeSpring blossomsA view to the side of the Vancouver Sun Run routeParticipants in the Vancouver Sun Run as viewed from the Burrard Street BridgeThe Burrard Street Bridge
A beach beside the Sun Run route
A beach beside the Sun Run route
Exotic trees
Exotic trees
Very important items in a public event!
Very important items in a public event!
Tulips
Tulips
Interesting scenery beside the Vancouver Sun Run route
Interesting scenery beside the Vancouver Sun Run route
Spring blossoms
Spring blossoms
A view to the side of the Vancouver Sun Run route
A view to the side of the Vancouver Sun Run route
Participants in the Vancouver Sun Run as viewed from the Burrard Street Bridge
Participants in the Vancouver Sun Run as viewed from the Burrard Street Bridge
The Burrard Street Bridge
The Burrard Street Bridge

The Finish Line

Reaching BC Place Stadium at the end of the run is an exciting moment for many people. The time on the finish line clock is unimportant, since the waves all start at different times and the clock starts with the first wave. We all have timing chips which are "read" by equipment at the start and finish of the run so that we receive an accurate finishing time. In the last couple of years the timing chip has been built into our race numbers.

At the finish line, a photographer takes everyone's photos from a high vantage point. People can order these photos later if they wish. There is an atmosphere of celebration as tired participants head into the stadium for the post-race party or look for their friends and family.

The day after the Sun Run, every participant's finishing time is published in a supplement to the Vancouver Sun newspaper. The newspaper also contains information about the race and an announcement about the winners. Runners and walkers can check their results on the Vancouver Sun website as well in the newspaper.

A gull in Stanley Park
A gull in Stanley Park

The Post-Race Party

The post-race party takes place inside the BC Place Stadium. This stadium is famous for its retractable roof. Bananas, oranges, bagels and water are available in the stadium, and if we're prepared to line up we can get free PowerBars, juice, and - in some years - yogurt. There's always a performing band and people often dance to the music. The medal presentations are also made, but I never make it to BC Place in time to see these. There is a "Walkers Pit Stop" on the route which provides snacks and washrooms specifically for people in the main walking wave. The stadium has washrooms, too.

After people have stretched, eaten, danced and socialized they leave. The crowd eventually thins, knowing that in the next year there will be another Sun Run to look forward to. There are other Vancouver events during the year that welcome both runners and walkers, but none are so big or have quite the same atmosphere as the Vancouver Sun Run.

The Last Stages of the Sun Run

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Science World (a science exploration center) and its IMAX theatreComing to the end of the event, with BC Place in viewThe finish line of the Vancouver Sun RunThe Vancouver Canucks hockey arena is next to the BC Place stadiumInside BC PlaceThe post-race party, with entertainment and free snacksA projection of the live entertainmentBC Place on the day before the Sun RunAnother view of BC Place on the day before the Sun Run
Science World (a science exploration center) and its IMAX theatre
Science World (a science exploration center) and its IMAX theatre
Coming to the end of the event, with BC Place in view
Coming to the end of the event, with BC Place in view
The finish line of the Vancouver Sun Run
The finish line of the Vancouver Sun Run
The Vancouver Canucks hockey arena is next to the BC Place stadium
The Vancouver Canucks hockey arena is next to the BC Place stadium
Inside BC Place
Inside BC Place
The post-race party, with entertainment and free snacks
The post-race party, with entertainment and free snacks
A projection of the live entertainment
A projection of the live entertainment
BC Place on the day before the Sun Run
BC Place on the day before the Sun Run
Another view of BC Place on the day before the Sun Run
Another view of BC Place on the day before the Sun Run

The Vancouver Sun Run Route

show route and directions
A markerGeorgia Street, Vancouver -
W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC, Canada
[get directions]

B markerStanley Park Vancouver -
Stanley Park, 2099 Beach Ave, Vancouver, BC V6G 3E2, Canada
[get directions]

C markerBC Place Stadium, Vancouver -
BC Place Stadium, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2X8, Canada
[get directions]

More Information about the Vancouver Sun Run

© 2012 Linda Crampton

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Comments 14 comments

prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

Wow...this was a great hub from talented writer. I really enjoy reading your work, including the pictures. You fly my imagination to the beautiful city. Nice report and I believe that it's very enjoyable events for the people in Vancouver. Thanks for share with us. Rated up and take care!

Prasetio


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much, Prasetio. Vancouver is a beautiful city, and the Sun Run is a fun event for local people and for people from other countries as well. There are always visitors from other places who participate in the Sun Run! I hope that the week ahead is a good one for you, Prasetio.


writer20 profile image

writer20 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

Great hub, loved to see your photo's, me I run a little weird so no big runs for me.

Voted up, useful and interesting, Joyce.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you for the comment and the votes, Joyce! You could walk in the Sun Run if you didn't want to run. All types of movement styles are welcome! The nice thing about the Vancouver Sun Run is that it includes a wide range of people - from world-class runners and wheelchair athletes to people who are much less fit.


kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi my friend,enjoyed reading this well written hub and learning about the Sun Run in British Columbia,glad to hear you are out there either running or walking in this race every year. Love all your beautiful photos of the race and scenic route of the race.

Vote up and more !!!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you very much for the comment and the vote, Tom. Yes, I look forward to the Sun Run each year - it's a fun event! I'm glad that you liked the photos.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi, Alicia, what a fantastic hub! The photos are brilliant and really brought the Sun Run to life, this must be so much fun, I would love to try it, and the scenery is wonderful, voted all the way! nell


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thank you, Nell! I appreciate your comment and votes. Yes, the Sun Run is great fun, and it's very enjoyable to look at the scenery during the run or walk. The route is planned very well. There are just a few small hills, but most of the route is flat.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

The annual Sun Run appears to be a charming, fun event, Alicia, and I can understand why so many folks enjoy participating. Thanks for the newsflash and the photos.


b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 4 years ago

Hi Alicia, I'm a WALKER and was happy to read that the Fun Run let Everyone participate. It sounds like a really Fun day and April the perfect month for it. I really Enjoyed the pictures as well...very Scenic...and good for YOU, for your Healthy Participation each year. If I lived near you, I'd be Walking alongside of you, along with Lover Man!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Hi, drbj. Thanks for the visit. Yes, the Sun Run is an enjoyable event. I look forward to it every year!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for the comment, b. Malin. The Vancouver Sun Run is a great event for walkers. In fact, about a third of the participants walk instead of run. People use a variety of walking styles, too, including race walking, power walking, walking with poles and regular walking. It's a fun way to celebrate the start of spring!


Rolly A Chabot profile image

Rolly A Chabot 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

Great to see people gather and do something in support of others... I have heard of this and a great cause and fun time for all...

Hugs from Alberta


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada Author

Thanks for the visit and the comment, Rolly! Yes, the Vancouver Sun Run is a fun event enjoyed by many people. Participating in the run is a nice way to celebrate the start of spring.

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