Photo credit: Jay Siggers | Flickr
Participatory Sporting Events
Participating in an organized sporting event is a great reason to visit Vancouver. Most of the runs, rides, and yes, even group yoga sessions, will expose you to some of the city’s most beautiful parks, neighbourhoods, beaches and mountain vistas. You’ll get in some sightseeing as you jog or pedal your way to victory, earning both a medal and some brag-worthy selfies along the way. Below are just a few of the annual events that you can participate in during your time in Vancouver.
Check our Calendar of Events find more information on what's happening in the city.
Since 1972, runners have been lacing up their sneakers to participate in the Vancouver Marathon each May. The 42.2-kilometre (26.2-mile) course takes you through three parks, six beaches and 12 neighbourhoods on a spectacular route. Starting at the city’s highest point, Queen Elizabeth Park and ending down at Canada Place, the marathon has been named one of the world’s “most exotic marathons” by CNN. Approximately 5,000 participants do the full distance, with another 10,000 more running the half-marathon and 8K distances. The race is also a qualifying event for the Boston Marathon. Registration is available online.
Vancouver Sun Run 10K
Canada’s largest 10K run is the Vancouver Sun Run, which is also the third largest timed 10K in the world! The Sun Run sees 45,000 people set out from downtown Vancouver, before running through Stanley Park, along English Bay, and over two bridges before crossing the finish line at BC Place Stadium. If you’re travelling as a family, there’s a 2.5K Mini Sun Run course for the kids. April usually sees Vancouver’s streets filled with spring blossoms, making this a very appealing run for all abilities. Registration is available online.
SeaWheeze Half Marathon
There are other half marathons out there, but this one just may be the coolest. The SeaWheeze Half Marathon is organized by the people behind lululemon, the Vancouver-born yogawear company that has a cult-like following. When you register for the August event, you sign up for a whole weekend of activities including the run, lots of yoga, a post-race brunch, and the Sunset Festival party at Stanley Park afterwards. Registrations go really quickly for this run, with lots of participants coming from out of town.
The term “GranFondo” loosely translates to “big ride,” which seems like a bit of an understatement after you learn about GranFondo Whistler. Starting in Stanley Park, 4,000 cyclists ride together the 122 kilometres (76 miles) from Vancouver to Whistler Village, taking on an elevation gain of 1,700 metres (5,577 feet) along the way. The route travels up the spectacular Sea-to-Sky Highway, which is kept free of other traffic for the duration of the race. Held in early September, the ride also offers a “medio” distance for newer riders, starting in Squamish and finishing in Whistler with the other riders. Register online through the GranFondo Whistler website.