Marathon Runners in Chinatown

The Vancouver International Marathon is a major running event in early May. The race attracts thousands of runners and tens of thousands of spectators.

The run takes place as an in-person event in 2023 on Sunday, May 7th.

Unrelated to the big run in May, half marathon events in the Lower Mainland at other times of the year include the Vancouver Chilly Chase, Fort Langley Historic Half, Shamrock’n Race, Rubber Ducky Race and Vancouver Historic Half, all of which are part of the Try Events series of races. There is also the Scotiabank Half Marathon, which isn’t a Try Events run, and the Boundary Bay Marathon which is.

This article is about the BMO Vancouver Marathon. To learn about other running events at other times of the year instead, see our article about Metro Vancouver Running Races.


Rubber Ducky Race


In this article you’ll find information about the following:

2023 Event | Marathon Details | Half Marathon Details | 8K Details | Relay Details | Kids Run Details | Street Festival | Health & Sports Expo | Entertainment | Other Information

Click any of the above links to jump to a specific topic, or continue reading to learn all about the Vancouver International Marathon.


UBC Longest Day Road Race


Vancouver International Marathon

The Vancouver International Marathon is the City of Vancouver’s only Boston-qualifying marathon (although there are a couple of others elsewhere in the Lower Mainland). It’s also one of the most prestigious marathons in the world and attracts participants from as many as five dozen countries each year.

The next Vancouver Marathon takes place on May 7th, 2023.


Vancouver Marathon Event in 2023

2023 marks the 51st anniversary of the Vancouver International Marathon. This year, the event takes place both in-person and online. The virtual race is from April 1st to May 31st, 2023.

The event features a number of races that include the full 42.2 km marathon, a half marathon, an 8-km race, a full-marathon relay (in some years) and a Kids Run. Most years there is also a street festival on the day near the race finish line in downtown Vancouver.

Participants at the event include some of the world’s most elite runners, but also kids, grandparents and all kinds of fit people of varying levels. As many as 18,000 people participate in a typical year.


Marathon Details

The full marathon is limited to a maximum number of participants ages 18 and above. It usually starts before 9:00 am. The marathon’s starting line is on Midlothian Avenue in Queen Elizabeth Park and the race finishes on West Pender Street between Bute and Thurlow Streets.

The full marathon takes place on Sunday, May 7th, starting at 8:30 am. The 2020 Marathon didn’t happen and the 2021 event took place virtually.

Click Marathon Course for a map of the 2023 route and more information.


BMO Vancouver International Marathon
Vancouver Marathon Starting Line


Half Marathon Details

The Vancouver Half Marathon usually has a maximum of 10,000 runners and is open to participants ages 18+ as well as runners ages 16+ with permission from their parents.

The race starts in Queen Elizabeth Park at 7:00 am on May 7th, 2023, and it finishes on West Pender Street between Thurlow and Bute Streets.

Click Half Marathon Map for a map of the route and more information.


BMO 8K Details

The 8 km race starts in Stanley Park near the Ceperley Park Playground on Lagoon Drive. The finish line is the same West Pender Street location as the marathon and half marathon races. The 8-km event is open to anyone age 11+ (with parent permission where appropriate).

The 8k run takes place on May 7th, 2023, at 9:30 am.

Click 8K Map for details on the race route and more.


BMO Marathon on Pender
BMO Marathon on West Pender Street


BMO Relay Details

The Marathon Relay is a four-person event where the first and second members of the team each run 12 km, the third runs 5 km and the fourth finishes the final 13 km. The start time for the relay is usually around 8:30 am.

The first leg of the race goes from Queen Elizabeth Park through Kerrisdale and Dunbar, the second leg is through Pacific Spirit Park, UBC and Point Grey, the third is mostly through Kitsilano, and the final stretch goes by English Bay, through Stanley Park and then into the city’s downtown core.

The 2020 BMO Relay didn’t take place. Due to COVID-19, the event happened virtually in 2021. The relay didn’t return in 2022, and it doesn’t look like it’s happening in 2023 either.


BMO Marathon in Chinatown
BMO Marathon in Vancouver’s Chinatown


2023 Kids Run Details

The Vancouver Marathon event isn’t just for grownups – there are events for kids too!

While the marathon itself is restricted to adults ages 18+, the Kids Run is for children ages 6 to 12.

The Kids Run usually takes place the first Saturday in May, so a day before the other races. The race did not happen in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions in place. The Kids Run took place in a virtual format in 2021 and 2022.

In 2023 the in-person run returns on May 6th. Up to 500 children usually participate in the Kids Run which involves a 2.5 km loop around Stanley Park’s Lost Lagoon.

Click Kids’ Race for a map of the route.


BMO Marathon Starting Line


Vancouver Marathon Street Festival

In addition to the various running races, there is also a small street festival on the day of the Vancouver Marathon during most years. The event is open to the public and goes from approximately 8:30 am until 3:00 pm. Admission is free.

Whereas the marathon’s finish line is on West Pender between Thurlow and Bute Streets, the street festival takes place just one block away, on West Hastings between Burrard and Bute Streets.

There is music, food samples and both running gear and souvenirs for sale at the Street Festival. McDonald’s is also there in most years providing free coffee for everyone willing to stand in the lineup, and in previous years Stanley Park Brewery has been there giving away beer samples to runners as well.

The BMO Vancouver Marathon Street Festival is back on in 2023 following its cancellation in 2020, 2021 and 2022 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Click Marathon Street Festival for more details if and when they become available.


Health & Sports Expo

Related to the Vancouver Marathon is the 2-day Health & Sports Expo that takes place at the Vancouver Convention Centre at 999 Canada Place. The event features all sorts of running gear for sale and attracts over 20,000 people each year. Admission is free.

The expo returns on May 5th and 6th, 2023, at the following times:

  • Friday, May 5th, from 11:00 am until 7:00 pm
  • Saturday, May 6th, from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm

Click Marathon Expo for more information.


Victoria Day in Vancouver


Marathon Entertainment

During the Vancouver International Marathon, there are usually live entertainment venues along the way. Dozens of local bands play at various locations, which is fun for both runners and spectators.

Currently, there are no listing of bands on the event’s website.


Other Information

To learn more about the race see the Vancouver International Marathon website.

For a list of other races in the Lower Mainland throughout the year, click Metro Vancouver Running Races (the largest of which include the Vancouver Sun Run 10K race in April and the Scotiabank Half Marathon in June).

For a list of other events taking place the same month as the Vancouver Marathon, see Vancouver’s May Calendar.

And for a comprehensive listing of major Vancouver events throughout the year, click Festivals & Events.