The Vancouver International Marathon is a major running event in early May that attracts thousands of runners and tens of thousands of spectators.
The race was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic a couple of years ago and took place as a virtual format in 2021. In 2022 it’s happening on May 1st in a hybrid format with both in-person and virtual running options.
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.
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 1st, 2022, with a virtual event as well for all of April and May due to continued concerns about the coronavirus.
Vancouver Marathon Event in 2022
2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the Vancouver International Marathon. This year, the event takes place both in-person and online.
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.
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 Street and Thurlow.
The 2020 Marathon didn’t happen and the 2021 event took place virtually. In 2022, the full marathon takes place on Sunday, May 1st starting at 8:30 am.
Click Marathon Course for a map of the 2022 route and more information.
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 2020 Half Marathon didn’t take place. Similar to the full marathon, the 2021 half marathon also happened virtually.
In 2022, the race starts in Queen Elizabeth Park at 7:00 am on May 1st and it finishes on West Pender Street between Thurlow and Bute Street.
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 2020 8K event didn’t take place. In 2021, the BMO 8K happened in a virtual format. In 2022, the 8k run takes place on May 1st at 9:30 am.
Click 8K Map for details on the race route and more.
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. It doesn’t look like the relay event is happening at all in 2022.
2022 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 5 to 12. Children ages 11 to 16+ can also participate in some of the various other races depending on their age.
The Kids Run was supposed to take place on Saturday, May 2nd in 2020, so the day before the other races. However, it didn’t happen due to fears about the coronavirus spreading. The 2021 Kids Run also happened in a virtual format.
In 2022, the Kids Run takes place virtually once again throughout the entire month of May. In normal years, 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.
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 3:30 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.
There is music, sports drink 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 2020 Marathon Street Festival didn’t take place. The event also didn’t happen in 2021 due to concerns over COVID-19. It doesn’t look like the festival is taking place in 2022 either.
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 trade show-style event was supposed to take place on May 1st and 2nd in 2020. In 2022, the expo returns on April 29th and 30th at the following times:
- Friday, April 29th, from 11 am until 7 pm
- Saturday, April 30th, from 10 am until 5 pm
Click Marathon Expo for more information.
During the Vancouver International Marathon, there are usually live entertainment venues along the way. In normal years, dozens of local bands play at various locations, which is fun for both runners and spectators.
There does not appear to be live entertainment planned for 2022. Or at least, there are no listings of bands on the event’s website.
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.