Race report: 2013 Vancouver Eastside 10k

For me, this race is part of the lead-up toward the Okanagan Half Marathon. With four weeks to go, this 10k is a good test to see how I can handle the big race. My August was not what I was expecting in terms of training; a number of events that month took the focus off the running. As a result, the total distance run for the month is less than 100 km, the first time this year.

The Eastside 10k is a new race; the route is more-or-less an out-and-back that incorporates the parts of the old BMO Vancouver route through Strathcona until new courses were unveiled in 2012. It’s nice to have a run race back in East Vancouver, which is why I’m very enthusiastic about this race. The race’s charity partners are also very local and relevant to the neighbourhoods in which the race is run.

It was a dreary Saturday morning for a race, especially for one in late summer. There were about 1500 people ready to take on a whole new experience. The race starts on one of the viaducts leading into downtown Vancouver before emerging onto Prior Street in Strathcona. I know the terrain, since my bus commute usually goes through Prior, so I’ve anticipated the hills. The whole race does have a lot of small hills that can be off-putting to some, but for me, I like the challenge. I’ve always enjoyed powering through the uphills and passing people along the way.

The course goes through historic Gastown (technically not in the Eastside) before turning around and making its way back to the start line. It’s nice to run on the cobblestoned streets, but disappointing that not a lot of people were around to watch. At the time I was running through, I was thinking about the annual cycling race that does laps around Gastown (held on a weeknight with plenty of spectators) and whether a race held later in the morning could attract more crowds.

The theme for the races I’ve run this year seems to be humid. Because of the mist-like conditions that morning, the humidity was pretty high. I was sweating very early on, and I’m sure that wasn’t because of how fast I was running. By the end, I was regretting not packing a change of clothes.

Another theme that has emerged is new personal best. With a chip time of 53:18 (on a negative split), this is the third separate race distance this year for which I’ve established or broken a PB (or PR, I use them interchangeably). The half marathon beckons in less than four weeks. Can I make it four PBs in one year?

Overall, I’m definitely going to put the Eastside 10k as a race to put on my calendar from now on. By itself, it’s a great course, but it’s also scheduled so that it can be a dress rehearsal for a longer-distance race later in the fall. This is a great addition to the Vancouver running calendar.

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Running in East Vancouver

I’m an East Vancouver boy, through and through. I’ve lived here since 1991, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else. After attending the latest #EastVanLove tweetup, I thought about my running in East Vancouver, particularly the long runs. Even within those, I’m thinking of the really long runs that are at least 20 km long. For those runs that start from and finish near my home, most of them extend beyond what’s considered East Vancouver. But I hadn’t thought about creating a long run entirely within East Vancouver. This route, which I ran this weekend, is almost 30 km, and is a decent cross-section of the entire Eastside.

Crab Park, taken at the start of my East Vancouver long run

Crab Park, taken at the start of my East Vancouver long run

I started here, at Crab Park. From here, I made my way along the industrial area and eventually on to Commercial Drive. It was nice to see the produce shops setting up and resisted the temptation to partake some coffee from many of the caffeine dens that line the Drive. After 8 kilometres, I ended up here at one of my favourite running places, John Hendry Park and Trout Lake.

A shot of Trout Lake, taken during one of my runs.

Trout Lake

I also ran next to the SkyTrain line, which itself was built over the route of the old interurbans that went from Vancouver to New Westminster and beyond. And after passing through Collingwood, Champlain Heights, and Everett Crowley Park, I made my way down to the riverfront. This is as far from Crab Park as you can get and still be in East Vancouver.

A shot of the riverfront in East Vancouver.

Along the riverside trail in East Vancouver

This one’s a real revelation, as I discovered there is a riverside trail for about 3 km. I’d previously run on a bike route that was placed further away from the river. I finished my Eastside tour by going through the Punjabi Market neighbourhood, Mountain View Cemetery, and finishing along Main Street to where it meets with Kingsway.

Running this made me realize how diverse East Vancouver is in terms of running terrain. It may not have the uninterrupted trails of the seawall, but for long runs, there is a lot to see. I’ll be glad to give a tour!