Canada’s biggest marathon is coming to Vancouver.
Some 18,000 runners and 80,000 spectators will descend on Vancouver for the 42nd running of the BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 5. Declared by Forbes to be one of the world’s top 10 destination marathons, the race winds its way past some of the city’s most famous landmarks, from the Stanley Park seawall to Kitsilano Beach and the UBC campus.
This year’s event actually features multiple races. Things kick off on May 4 with a kids one-mile fun run through Stanley Park. On May 5, runners can choose from an 8-kilometre race around Stanley Park (there’s even a teens-only version), a 21.1-kilometre half-marathon that starts at Queen Elizabeth Park and works its way downtown or the full enchilada, the 42.2-kilometre marathon.
Ranked as the “most exotic” marathon by CNN, the race starts fast at the top of Little Mountain in Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver’s highest point. Runners then dash through ritzy Kerrisdale on their way to the UBC campus. After a scenic detour along Jericho and Kitsilano Beaches, racers work their way downtown and around the Stanley Park seawall, finishing up near the Vancouver Convention Centre.
If that sounds like your idea of an exhilarating afternoon, information on registration is available on the BMO Vancouver Marathon website.
Even if you don’t enjoy pounding the pavement, marathon weekend still promises a little extra excitement. Some 75,000 visitors are expected to turn out for a three-day health, sports and living expo at Canada Place, May 3-May 5. Meanwhile, a family-friendly street festival will be held on race day along Hastings Street, between Burrard and Bute Streets. Offering entertainment, music, souvenirs and food, the street fest will also feature the award ceremonies for the races.
The Vancouver Marathon started all the way back in 1972, when 46 runners decided to run five loops around Stanley Park. It’s a qualifying event for the world famous Boston Marathon, which is held in April. In 2012, the Vancouver BMO Marathon was won by Ethiopian Gezahgn Eshetu, with a time of 2:21:51.
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