Sun Run Preview from 2019 Winner Justin Kent
We’re a few days out from the iconic Vancouver Sun Run and after a long two year hiatus the anticipation for race day is heating up. Runners from across the lower mainland will descend on Georgia St for the 36th running of Canada’s largest race. This year we’ll have a few coaches vying for the title and a big showing of Mile2Marathon athletes throwing down. A lot has changed in the world since the last race took place but one thing remains the same — the Sun Run hype is real. Here’s a few tips to keep in mind ahead of race day and a look at who’s contending for this year’s coveted Sun Run win.
Review the course.
With a new course this year, I think the easiest thing to do is plan ahead. Have a peek at the course and make sure you’re familiar with where you are along the route. Sometimes having that little bit of confidence knowing you only have ‘this far’ to go can be the mental advantage you need to push a little harder.
This year’s course features a few big changes. First, the climb up and over Burrard St. Bridge gets shorter and a lot more gradual. No longer will you follow Beach Ave and come up and over Burrard St Bridge via Hornby. Instead runners will gradually climb Pacific and make their way over the Burrard St Bridge.
Second, the start and finish remain the same but runners will not make the trek across Cambie St bridge to the finish; instead routing around Science World and finishing the opposite direction (east) on Pacific Blvd. Personally, I think these two changes will make the course a fair bit faster and all the more epic rounding the bend around Science World to the finish.
So if you’ve run this event for the last 20 years don’t be alarmed if you’re not taking a left hand turn over Cambie St. bridge, keep rolling that momentum and round the bend for home.
The start line atmosphere of the Sun Run is pretty electric and very easy to get carried away. Combine that with a fast first km down Georgie and it’s easy to overdo it the first few km. My advice is to keep calm, try not to worry about splits, and just let your legs roll. Once you hit Pacific St try to regroup, find a good groove and focus on working up and over Burrard St. Bridge.
Personally I like to split the race up into two halves, before and after Burrard St Bridge. I find it helps to compartmentalize the effort mentally and keep you composed. Sometimes hitting the 3rd km and knowing you have 7km to go is a tough pill to swallow if you’re having a bad day.
No gear check, plan ahead.
Due to lack of volunteers and COVID concerns, this year there will be no gear check. Whatever you roll up to the race in is what you’ll be wearing for the whole 10km. Plus, factor in a little bit of ‘Vancouver sunshine’ and it could culminate into a not-so-fun first couple km trying to get warm. If you don’t have family or friends to grab your gear before the race I’d suggest digging through your closet and wearing some of those old clothes you were meaning to donate.
Enjoy the journey.
At the end of the day it’s just a race. We’re all just trying to get from point A to point B and have a good time. Lean into those pre race nerves, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the ride. If these past two years have taught me anything it’s that it’s a privilege to line up for a race. Just try to enjoy the moment and not take your health, fitness and opportunity for granted.
The battle upfront.
Last but certainly not least, this year’s battle upfront will feature a few M2M coaches contending for the win. I’ll certainly be in tough to defend my title with the likes of fellow M2M coach Luc Bruchet (27:56 10,000m), Ben Preisner (2:10 marathoner), Tristan Woodfine (2:10 marathoner) and M2M coach Matthew Traviglini (29:38 10,000m). With the new course and this deep of a field expect it to be fast with some serious fireworks near the end.
On the women’s side it looks to be a race between Leslie Sexton, Maria Bernard-Galea and a late entry from Lanni Marchant. Leslie’s coming off a strong fall season running a 2:28:35 marathon in Phili and claiming the Canadian 10km title in Toronto. But it’ll be interesting to see if the veteran marathoner Lanni (2:28) and Olympic steeplechaser, Maria can upset the pre-race favourite.
Gun goes at 9:00AM Sunday. Wishing the best of luck to everyone toeing the line this weekend— giddy-up!