The Vancouver International Marathon is a major running event in in early May that attracts thousands of runners and tens of thousands of spectators.
In 2019 the race takes place on Sunday, May 5th (which is also Cinco de Mayo).
As of early April, 2019, the 8K race is already sold out!
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 different countries each year.
In this article you’ll find information about the following:
Click any of the above links to jump to a specific topic, or continue reading to learn all about the Vancouver International Marathon.
Vancouver Marathon Event in 2019
In 2019 the Vancouver International Marathon happens on Sunday, May 5th.
The event features a number of races including the full 42.2 km marathon, a half marathon, an 8-km race, a full-marathon relay 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.
In a typical year as many as 17,000 people participate.
2019 Marathon Details
The full marathon is limited to a maximum of 5000 participants age 18+ and it starts at 8:30 am. The marathon starting line is on Midlothian Avenue in Queen Elizabeth Park and the race finishes on West Pender Street between Bute Street and Thurlow.
Click Marathon Course for a map of the route.
2019 Half Marathon Details
The Vancouver Half Marathon has a maximum of 10,000 runners and is open to participants ages 18+ as well as runners ages 16+ with permission of their parents.
The race starts in Queen Elizabeth Park at 7 am on May 5th and finishes on West Pender Street between Thurlow and Bute Street.
Click Half Marathon Map for a map of the route.
2019 BMO 8K Details
The 8 km Race starts at 9:30 am 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 capped at 2,500 runners and is open to anyone age 11+ (with parent permission where appropriate).
Click 8K Map for details on the race route.
2019 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 in 2019 is 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.
Click Relay Map for a map of the course.
2019 Kids Run Details
The Vancouver Marathon event isn’t just for adults – there are events for kids too!
While the marathon itself is restricted to adults ages 18+, the Kids Run is for children ages 5 to 12. Children ages 11 to 16+ can also participate in some of the various other races, depending on their age.
In 2019 the Kids Run takes place on Saturday, May 4, so the day before the other races.
Up to 500 children participate in the Kids Run which involves a 2.5 km loop around Stanley Park’s Lost Lagoon. Fees in 2019 cost $20.
Click Kids’ Race for a map of the route.
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. The event is open to the public and goes from 8:30 am until 3:30 pm. Admission is free.
Whereas the marathon’s finish line is on West Pender between Thurlow and Bute Street, the street festival takes place just one block away, on West Hastings between Burrard Street and Bute.
At the Street Festival there is music, sports drink samples and both running gear and souvenirs for sale. In most years McDonald’s is there with free coffee for everyone willing to stand in the lineup, and last year Stanley Park Brewery was there giving away beer samples to runners. (Hope they are there again in 2019!)
Click Marathon Street Festival for more details.
Health & Sports Expo
Related to the Vancouver Marathon is the 3-day Health & Sports Expo that takes place at the Vancouver Convention Centre at 1055 Canada Place. The event features all sorts of running gear for sale and attracts over 20,000 people each year. Admission is free.
In 2019 the trade show-style event takes place May 3-4 at the following times:
- Friday, May 3, from 10 am until 8 pm
- Saturday, May 4, from 9 am until 6 pm
Last year the Expo was a three-day event and started on the Thursday. In 2019 it runs for just the Friday and Saturday.
Click Marathon Expo for more information.
During the Vancouver International Marathon there are live entertainment venues along the way. Dozens of local bands play at various locations, which is fun for both runners and spectators.
For a list of bands and music venues, click BMO Entertainment.
For more information 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 BMO Marathon, see Vancouver’s May Calendar.
And for a comprehensive listing of major Vancouver events throughout the year, click Festivals & Events.