I stayed at an AirBnB in Richmond, which was an easy train ride from the airport – not overly expensive, even with a $5 airport surcharge – and a straightforward couple of miles jog to the river. Visitors to parkrun have been told to look for the silver sculpture, which is certainly easy to find, but I ignored (probably) further instructions to walk along the river a little to the start, chatting to fellow tourists from South Africa and England near the sculpture.
We still found it, though, and lined up in a smallish field, which helps the general friendly feel. The run is a straightforward out and back along the river, currently complicated a little by works on the path, which mean there is a 500m out and back, then the main one, then the 500m one again – 3×180 degree turns don’t help momentum.
Otherwise the course is almost flat, with a few gravelled sections to keep it interesting. I was disappointed not to run quicker, as I’d figured the switch to colder temperatures would help. No, I ran faster in Malaysia, even while feeling that the air was too warm for my lungs.
The view is fabulous, though, even on an overcast day. The run is named because it passes the Richmond Olympic oval, a speed-skating venue built for the 2010 winter olympics, not that I spotted it on the run. It’s there to the left, near the end of the main out and back section. The surrounding sculptures were more obvious.
It’s a lovely run, in a great runnable city. Afterwards people chatted and took photos, before heading off to a nearby Tim Norton’s for breakfast and more talk, which was just lovable. I also got tipped the wink that there were two races in the city on the sunday, the Grouse Grind (don’t be fooled by the main route being 2.9km on that link, the race is much longer) and the Scotiabank half marathon. The latter still had places, but at $120CAD, even my jetlagged self decided the early start was one reason too many not to bother. Still, there are a pile of running clubs in Vancouver and lots of races, so it’s worth doing some research before you come if you fancy more running than just a parkrun. Groups runs every day, I was promised. Here’s the list I was given of clubs in the area, and their running days.
- Eastvanrunclub Mon
- Mile2marathon Tues & Sat
- WestVanRun Sat
- Fraserstreetrunclub/fsrc tues & fri
- Salomon Vancouver Trail Lab Sat
- Cambie Running Room weds & sun
- Van Running Co. Thurs
- Lions gate road runners
- Vancouver Falcons Athletic Club/vfac
Back to the parkrun – it was super friendly, easy to find, has great views and is not swamped by runners.