More than 150 Sunshine Coasters headed into the big city on Sunday, April 17 to join over 43,000 runners and walkers in North America’s ninth biggest road race, the Vancouver Sun Run 10k.
Like last year, the sun was shining and the temperature was mild – a perfect day to be touring the city on foot. Starting at the intersection of West Georgia and Burrard, the throngs of participants streamed down the hill toward Stanley Park, heading west to English Bay, back along Pacific Street and onto Beach Avenue before looping up a sharp hill onto the Burrard Street Bridge at the halfway point. Once on the south side of False Creek, they made their way east to the final climb up and over the Cambie Street Bridge, to finish at BC Place Stadium.
Along the way, top-notch musical groups provided entertainment every 500 to 1,000 metres, and the post-race party inside the stadium featured dance groups and Taiko drummers.
Shaun Stephens-Whale and Kimberley Doerksen, while not currently living on the Coast, could be considered unofficially to be the fastest locals – clocking 32:41 and 37:25, respectively. Doerksen has run several minutes faster in recent years, but she was quite pleased with this result in her first race back after months off from injury.
“Not bad for a rust-buster,” she said.
The rest of the Coast contingent was led by Sechelt InTraining clinic leaders Larry and Teresa Nightingale of Halfmoon Bay, finishing in 40:39 and 44:06, respectively. The next two fastest locals were also from Halfmoon Bay, Willem Husselmann at 47:25 and Herman Mentz at 50:00.
Halfmoon Bay may claim the fastest times, but Gibsons can boast the highest number of participants, with 88 finishers – double that of Sechelt. Bringing those numbers up were the inaugural IGA store team of 12, including owner Bob Hoy. Some ran and some walked, but all agreed it was a fantastic experience.
Linda Dunaway was among those who trained with the Gibsons InTraining clinic in the walking group. This was her first time in the clinic and the Sun Run, and she also thought it was fantastic.
“The weather was great, and the atmosphere was really up,” Dunaway said. “My favourite part of the course was the Burrard Bridge – it’s so scenic, and you get a mental boost knowing you’re past halfway.”
Some participants travelled all the way from Powell River.
“Our family has been going to the Sun Run for 20 years,” said Heather Muzylowski, who is part of an extended family of 13 including five children in the Mini Sun Run. “We participate at least every three years, and this is the only run we do.”
This year was extra special as Heather’s father-in-law Wayne, age 63, just finished cancer treatment and this was his first run since being diagnosed. “He ran the whole thing,” she said proudly.
The next endurance event on the Lower Coast is this weekend – the Mountain Grind in Pender Harbour on April 23.