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Six great races in BC and how to prepare for them
January 3, 2017 | by Curb Ivanic

Runners are lucky here on the West Coast.

With a mild climate and incredible landscape, you can race across the Lower Mainland and British Columbia almost year round. To help inspire your running goals for 2017, here’s a bit more about our favourite six, and how we can help you train for them.

BMO Marathon & Half Marathon – May 7, 2017

Having started in 1972, this is the granddaddy of Vancouver road races. It gives runners a true tour de Vancouver by taking them through many neighourhoods and geographic tourist spots. Next to the Sun Run, this is the largest event in Vancouver with both distances attracting over 12,000 runners combined. Though the course has changed throughout it’s 45 year history, it always offers runners a good challenge (and it’s a Boston Qualifier course).

ScotiaBank Half Marathon – June 25, 2017

Runners often talk of hills as being a test and this race puts a spin on this notion. However, the challenge won’t come from a difficult uphill. It’s the long, fast downhill section from UBC to Spanish Banks that will punish the quads of unprepared runners. So, if you’re planning on doing this race and want to run it well, make sure to include some downhill running and strength training in your program.

Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon & Half Marathon – October 8, 2017

Thanksgiving and a major race on the same weekend? That’s a hard combination to beat. You’ll be able to indulge in the turkey feast guilt free after running 13.1 or 26.2 miles. The largest race on Vancouver Island, this event attracts over 8,000 runners. Much like the BMO Marathon, it has a rich history as it enters its 37th year. The course is relatively fast with some small hills but no monster climbs or descents.

Rock N Roll 10km & Half Marathon – October 21 & 22, 2017

This unique event blends the old and the new. On Saturday October 21 runners can race the legendary Cunningham Seawall 10km and then on Sunday October 22 run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Oasis half-marathon. The Cunningham Seawall 10km will be entering it’s 47th year while the Oasis half-marathon is entering it’s 4th year of running. Trying to race 31.1 km over a weekend provides a tough challenge to any runner. Of course, you can choose to run only one of the races as well.

Fall Classic 10km & Half Marathon – November 11, 2017

Another Vancouver race with a long history. Since it’s founding in 1997 it’s been billed as the last great run of the year. While the addition of the Historic Half and 10km to the racing calendar may challenge that claim, the Fall Classic does feature a fast course and you get a free beer afterwards. Held on the streets around UBC, unpredictable fall weather is often the biggest challenge posed to runners.

Historic 10km & Half Marathon – November 26, 2017

This is another “newer” race to the Lower Mainland being founded in 2011. This race is sponsored by Fortius’ running retail partner FitFirst and it can legitimately lay claim to being the last major race of the year in Vancouver. Held in iconic Stanley Park this late race will help motivate runners to keep training through our usually soggy fall weather.


Are there a few races on this list you want to try? We’re hosting Fortius RunSTRONG clinics all year!

Join me (Coach Curb Ivanic) and a community of like-minded runners in Vancouver (Tuesdays) or Burnaby (Thursdays) for our 16-week clinics. We provide semi-individualized training programs of different levels to fit your experience and fitness level – you’ll know the exact pace you need to run for each workout to hit your race goal.

Above and beyond your run training, the clinics also provide hill training, speed workouts, running technique drills, mobility exercises, and strength and core stability training. Our first clinic kicks off January 15. Learn more and register today!


Complement your RunSTRONG training with FitFirst Footwear’s weekend clinics! Fortius RunSTRONG clinic members save 50%. These clinics run every Sunday between (and including) January 22 – May 7 at 9:00am. Members receive a discount of 15% at FitFirst as well as a free technical shirt, draw prizes, and technique/training advice. Register now for FitFirst Clinics.

Need new shoes or running equipment?

Receive $20 off at FitFirst inside Fortius when you spend $100 or more!
Right click on the coupon to “save”, print and redeem in store.
Note: Offer cannot be combined. One coupon per person. Expires May 1, 2017