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The Vancouver Sun Run: Fitness and Fun in British Columbia

Updated on April 11, 2017
AliciaC profile image

Linda Crampton is a biology teacher who loves to walk. She enjoys exploring places on foot and appreciates the health benefits of walking.

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 10K event in Canada.

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 run 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 for the event individually, in groups, or in training clinics, 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. I took all of the photographs in this article (except the one of me) during the event.

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

Although the Vancouver Sun Run is referred to as a "run", walkers are very welcome. 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 40,000 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. Each wave contains 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 ones 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 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.

An Overview of the Event

On the Route

The Sun Run route is closed to vehicle traffic. The scenery is lovely, making the event 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.

Scenes From the Event

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Encouragement for those of us in a slower waveSpring colour along the routeBeautiful tulipsI had to stop to photograph this curious squirrel as he or she watched the crowd streaming by.Interesting scenery along the wayAnother interesting scene on the route
Encouragement for those of us in a slower wave
Encouragement for those of us in a slower wave
Spring colour along the route
Spring colour along the route
Beautiful tulips
Beautiful tulips
I had to stop to photograph this curious squirrel as he or she watched the crowd streaming by.
I had to stop to photograph this curious squirrel as he or she watched the crowd streaming by.
Interesting scenery along the way
Interesting scenery along the way
Another interesting scene on the route
Another interesting scene on the route

Stanley Park and Burrard Inlet

Part of the Sun Run route travels through Stanley Park, a beautiful area of almost 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 contains an undeveloped forest made of tall, evergreen trees. 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.

After the journey through Stanley Park, the route travels over the Burrard Inlet via a bridge appropriately called the Burrard Bridge. The route eventually reverses course and travels over the Cambie Street Bridge towards the finish area.

More Scenes From the Event

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A view of run participants from the Burrard BridgeThe Burrard BridgeWatching people on the course from the stadiumA view of the entertainersThe crowd inside BC Place Stadium during the post-race eventThe stadium with its retractable roof as it appeared the day before the run
A view of run participants from the Burrard Bridge
A view of run participants from the Burrard Bridge
The Burrard Bridge
The Burrard Bridge
Watching people on the course from the stadium
Watching people on the course from the stadium
A view of the entertainers
A view of the entertainers
The crowd inside BC Place Stadium during the post-race event
The crowd inside BC Place Stadium during the post-race event
The stadium with its retractable roof as it appeared the day before the run
The stadium with its retractable roof as it appeared the day before the run

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 to 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.

In 2017, the Vancouver Sun Run will take place at 9 a.m. on Sunday, April 23rd. Runners can register for the run up to and including the day before the event.

I have a nice collection of t-shirts from the run.
I have a nice collection of t-shirts from the run. | Source

The video below is a humorous look at the 2016 run. A new trend for the run seems to be coloured shirts. Last year's edition was blue and this year's is navy and green.

A Sun Run 2016 Story

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. If we're prepared to line up we can get free PowerBars, juice, milk, 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.

One serious consideration about a huge event like the Sun Run is the amount of waste that's produced. The water stations provides paper cups, which are discarded once people have drunk the water. Orange and banana peel and juice and milk containers are thrown away in the stadium. I'm glad that the run organizers have established a recycling program.

With the help of Green Chair Recycling, Vancouver Sun Run produced over 6,271 kg of recycling and compost and just 190kg of garbage in 2016.

— Vancouver Sun Run Website

Until Next Year

After people have stretched, eaten, danced, and socialized in the stadium, 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.

© 2012 Linda Crampton

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    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 6 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
      Author

      Linda Crampton 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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!

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

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

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 6 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!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 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.

    • AliciaC profile image
      Author

      Linda Crampton 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 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
      Author

      Linda Crampton 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 6 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
      Author

      Linda Crampton 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 6 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
      Author

      Linda Crampton 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      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.

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 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

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