Vancouver Marathon & Half Marathon
Vancouver, BC, Canada
Sunday, May 4, 2014

Vancouver Marathon Information

One of the most famous marathons in Canada, the Vancouver Marathon is also one of the biggest, attracting over ten thousand participants a year. Increasing popularity has led to the expansion of its traffic plans and the addition of new routes, two of which made their debut in the 2012 race.

But did they work out? Which is worth taking? If you're planning to run in 2014, what should you know ahead of time? Here are a few tips for running the Vancouver Marathon with its new routes.

What To Know Before You Lace Up
As always, the marathon begins in Queen Elizabeth Park, an easily accessible location on Midlothian Avenue. If you get lost, follow the crowds or ask for the Hillcrest Community Centre.

If you've run the marathon before, you may notice its new lack of loops. That's because in 2012, marathon officials sacrificed the traditional "looped" courses for more intricate point-to-point courses. Unlike looped courses, which form a circle and bring runners back to the original starting line, point-to-point courses begin in one location and end somewhere else. They take more effort to organize, but they also provide runners with unique views, more interesting paths and a few increased challenges such as hills and shorelines.

In 2012, the Vancouver Marathon split its main event into two parts, the marathon and the half-marathon. Both used point-to-point courses.

The Marathon
The marathon is Vancouver's main event, a 42km course. It begins in Queen Elizabeth Park, heads west to the University, and ends at the Vancouver Convention Centre on Hastings Street.

If you're a fan of the ocean, you're going to love the marathon's remodeling. Some 70% of the course takes place on the shoreline, wrapping around the coast of the University and sending you through no less than three beaches. And once you've cleared the sun and sand? You'll head right on to the Stanley Park Seawell, where crowds, musicians and marathon fans are waiting to keep your spirits up during the last leg of your journey.

The Half-Marathon
Also beginning at Queen Elizabeth Park, the half-marathon immediately changes course and heads south on Cambie Street. It eschews most of the shoreline for the more densely populated areas of Vancouver, including Yaletown, Chinatown, and Downtown. It will take you 21km in all to complete.

If you're mourning the lack of the ocean, don't worry, you'll still get a taste of the water when you hit the last two kilometers. Like the marathon, the half-course also takes you to the Stanley Seawall, eventually wrapping itself around the park and sending you to the Community Centre with the rest of the runners. You won't have to miss any of the fun and festivities, not if you stay on track!