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Vancouver International Marathon

Marathon Runners in Chinatown

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

In 2020 the race was going to take place on Sunday, May 3rd. There was also going to be a Health & Sport Expo on the Friday and Saturday of May 1st and 2nd.


2020 BMO VANCOUVER MARATHON CANCELLED!

Due to concerns about the COVID-19 virus and a directive from the Province of British Columbia for all events involving more than 250 participants to be cancelled, the 2020 Vancouver Marathon is not taking place this year.

As much of the expenses involved in putting on the event have already been spent, people who have registered for the marathon are unable to get a refund. Instead, according the event’s official website, people who have already paid their fees are offered the following:

  • Virtual race opportunities for participants to claim their tech shirts and medals and then the option of picking up their rewards at the Fall Classic Half Marathon, select Running Room store locations or by post.
  • Free race entry into the 2020 Fall Classic Half Marathon, 10K or 5K, on October 24th to 25th, 2020, or another event organized by the non-profit RUNVAN.
  • A 20% discount on registration for the BMO Vancouver Marathon on Sunday, May 2nd, 2021.

For more information about the decision to cancel the 2020 Vancouver Marathon see the Official BMO Marathon Website.

For a list of other Lower Mainland events impacted by the virus click COVID-19 Cancelled Events.


Vancouver 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 different countries each year.

The next Vancouver Marathon takes place on Sunday, May 2nd, in 2021.


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

2020 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.


Vancouver 5K Foam Fest

Vancouver Marathon Event in 2020

In 2020 the Vancouver International Marathon was supposed to happen on Sunday, May 3rd. As mentioned above, the race has been cancelled due to concerns about the coronavirus.

The event usually 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.

Marathon Details

The full marathon is limited to a maximum of 5000 participants age 18+ and it usually 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.

The 2020 Marathon has been cancelled.

Click Marathon Course for a map of the route.

BMO Vancouver International Marathon
Vancouver Marathon Starting Line

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 3rd and finishes on West Pender Street between Thurlow and Bute Street.

The 2020 Half Marathon has been cancelled.

Click Half Marathon Map for a map of the route.

BMO 8K Details

The 8 km Race usually 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).

The 2020 8K event has been cancelled.

Click 8K Map for details on the race route.

BMO Marathon on Pender
BMO Marathon on West Pender Street

2020 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 has been cancelled.

Click Relay Map for a map of the course.

BMO Marathon in Chinatown
BMO Marathon in Vancouver’s Chinatown

2020 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 2020 the Kids Run was supposed to take place on Saturday, May 2nd, so the day before the other races. However, it has also been cancelled due to fears about the coronavirus spreading.

Up to 500 children participate in the Kids Run which involves a 2.5 km loop around Stanley Park’s Lost Lagoon. Fees last year 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 around 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 in previous years Stanley Park Brewery has been there giving away beer samples to runners.

The 2020 Marathon Street Festival has been cancelled.

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 2020 the trade show-style event was supposed to take place May 1st and 2nd at the following times. However, due to fears about the coronavirus spreading this event has been cancelled as well.

  • Friday, May 1st, from 10 am until 7 pm
  • Saturday, May 2nd, from 10 am until 6 pm

A couple of years ago the Expo was a three-day event and started on the Thursday. Last year it ran for just the Friday and Saturday and 2020 will be the same.

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.

For a list of bands and music venues, click BMO Entertainment.

Other Information

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 Vancouver Marathon, see Vancouver’s May Calendar.

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