A 10-km (6.2-mile) road race held annually on the third Sunday in April, the Vancouver Sun Run marks the start of Vancouver's fair weather. It's the time of year when the rainy days begin to lessen and the weather gets warmer heading into summer. About 50,000 people participate in the annual event, making the frenzy of runners, walkers, and wheelers one of the largest 10-km events in the world. Yes, there are larger races but the Sun Run is a solely 10 km route. In 2013, the event occurs on Sunday April 21.
The course cuts through downtown Vancouver, starting on West Georgia Street near Burrard and ending at BC Place. Registration happens through the winter and spring, right through to the day before the event.
Visiting During the Vancouver Sun Run
Although most who participate in the Sun Run are locals, some visitors do travel to Vancouver to run in the race. For hotels during race weekend, it's best to book early even though it's not high-season in the city. If you're not running in the Sun Run but visiting Vancouver that weekend, traveling through downtown is tricky due to road closures that begin at about 5:30 a.m. Instead of trying to battle the crowds, grab a coffee along the route and cheer on the participants. Bring an umbrella in case there are showers.
Some Vancouver Running Routes
With its mild climate, Vancouver is a fantastic city for runners at any time of year. There are many waterfront jogging routes that offer a scenic workout, including:
- Stanley Park Seawall: Likely the most popular running route, the Stanley Park Seawall is a paved waterside path that circles the park. Starting at Lost Lagoon, it's about a 10-km (6.2-mile) loop along the shore and back to West Georgia Street.
- False Creek to Granville Island: Running around False Creek between the West End beaches (English Bay Beach, Second Beach, and Sunset Beach) and Granville Island also follows a seawall. You can then hop on the Aquabus mini-ferry back to Yaletown.
- Grouse Grind: Short and steep, this uphill route climbs Grouse Mountain. It's only 2.9 km (1.8 miles) to the top, but the elevation gain is a whopping 853 meters (2,799 feet) over that distance. About 100,000 people climb the Grind each year. To save your knees and lessen trail congestion, it's mandatory to take the gondola back down the mountain -- it's also a well-earned rest.
- Point Grey Foreshore: This level, gravel path runs along Vancouver's longest stretch of beaches. Starting at Jericho Beach, head west passing Locarno Beach and Spanish Banks. The path ends at Spanish Banks West. Running back to Jericho covers about 7 km (4.3 miles), or the coastline continues out to UBC and Wreck Beach.
- Cambie Street: For an uphill street run, cross the Cambie Street Bridge out of downtown and follow Cambie Street south. It's a gradual 4-km (2.5-mile) climb from the bridge through to Queen Elizabeth Park. The park is the highest point in Vancouver, and views from the lookout in front of the Bloedel Conservatory are fantastic. Either retrace the route back to downtown, or hop on the Canada Line.