Starting downtown and finishing at BC Place Stadium on a Sunday in April, the Vancouver Sun Run is a great 10 km running race for all skill levels.
The race attracts over 40,000 runners most years, including pre-teens, senior citizens and elite athletes.
VIRTUAL RACE IN 2021
Due to fears about the spread of the coronavirus, the 2020 Vancouver Sun Run was cancelled. The 2021 race is set to take place between April 18th and April 30th. It’s not a live event, however. The 2021 run is a virtual event, thanks to COVID-19.
There are four types of virtual runs available in 2021. Participants can run the 10 kilometres individually, or they could register in teams of at least 8 runners. Teams of folk under the age of 19 can only participate in the Youth Team Challenge, whereas those 19 or older can join the Shaw Team Division run. There is also a smaller version of the run that spans 2.5 km instead of 10 km, and it is open to all ages.
All four of the runs are to be held virtually in 2021, so participants can run anywhere and at any time they’d like between April 18th and April 30th. Runners receive t-shirts and other nice items with registration that vary depending on which run they participate in. The goodies can be picked up at Running Room stores or folk can decide to have everything mailed to their homes.
To register for the upcoming virtual Sun Run, click Vancouver Sun Run 2021 Registration.
The 2020 Sun Run was cancelled due to COVID-19. The 2021 Sun Run is happening in a virtual format as described above. Continue reading below for information about the Sun Run in normal years when there isn’t a pandemic.
Vancouver Sun 10 km Race
Not only is the Vancouver Sun Run Canada’s largest 10 km race, it’s also one of the world’s most beautiful.
From the starting line downtown at the corner of Georgia and Burrard, the race normally goes through Stanley Park, along English Bay, across the Burrard Street Bridge, over the Cambie Street Bridge and down to BC Place Stadium.
The views over the course of the run in normal years include mountains, beaches, skyscrapers, bridges and the ocean. If it’s a sunny Sun Run, it’s always amazing!
The Vancouver Sun Run really is for everyone. There are world-class athletes competing, but also seniors, children and thousands of recreational runners. Some people even walk a chunk of the way, and there’s even a race for folk in wheelchairs. Along the route are also thousands of cheering friends, supporters and other spectators.
If you aren’t a runner yourself, go anyway and cheer on your running friends, or all the thousands of people you don’t know. Along the route are bands playing music, so the whole route has a festive atmosphere.
Sun Run Route & Photos
In years when there isn’t a global pandemic, the starting line for the Vancouver Sun Run is downtown on Georgia Street by Burrard. The runners line up for several blocks, organized in categories according to their expected running times.
Before reaching Stanley Park the race usually turns up Denman Street for a couple of blocks before turning at Robson Street and continuing on towards the ocean. The race then makes its way through Stanley Park along Lagoon Drive and then Beach Drive past English Bay.
From Beach Drive the route then typically goes up over the Burrard Street Bridge and crosses False Creek.
After crossing the bridge participants in the Sun Run make their way to 6th Avenue and then to Cambie, before crossing False Creek again, this time via the Cambie Street Bridge.
The Cambie Street Bridge crossing is a beautiful part of the race. It’s the final kilometre for the runners most years, so they are exhausted but full of renewed energy and determination. The views of the city from the bridge are also spectacular, with the morning sun shining on the city’s skyscrapers.
From the Cambie Street Bridge the normal route turns east into its final stretch toward BC Place Stadium.
At the finish line there are usually thousands of fans, supporters and exhausted runners, as well as an announcer naming many of the runners as they cross the line.
At the end of the race thousands of recuperating runners are greeted and reunited with their friends and supporters on the road outside BC Place. In addition to the crowds celebrating outside the stadium, thousands more go inside BC Place to enjoy the free concert, awards ceremony and general post-run celebrations that are held in years that the event proceeds normally.
Vancouver Sun Run Tips
Below are some tips and suggestions to help you make the most out of your Vancouver Sun Run experience most years.
TIP #1: If you’re a runner and you don’t like crowds, this isn’t the best run to be in – there are typically over 40,000 runners. At the BMO Marathon in May, in comparison, there is a maximum of just 5,000. For a full list of running options, both big and small, check out Vancouver Running Races.
TIP #2: Also if you’re a runner, you don’t have to run the second your group gets to go. With modern technology your timer begins the moment you cross the start line.
One year in a running race a Vancouver’s Best Places’ staff person didn’t get to cross the start line until over 30 minutes after her official start time thanks to the huge lineups at the washrooms. She said starting late was fantastic and she’ll do it again in the future on purpose – all the crowds were gone! There was no bumping into people at the start, and it was incredibly motivating because she got to pass all the slow people instead of getting passed all the time by faster runners!
TIP #3: If you’re a spectator, one of the best places to watch is on the east sidewalk on the Cambie Street Bridge. The sun is perfect for photos, runners are pumped but still needing encouragement as it’s their final kilometre, and the views of the city are stunning.
TIP #4: Avoid driving downtown at all costs on race day. Many of Vancouver’s primary streets downtown are closed for the event, making traffic a nightmare. Take public transit instead. And if you want to cheer your friends on at different points throughout their run, consider taking your bike – that’s the best way of getting around much of the downtown core on race day.
The Sun Run has taken some huge steps in reducing the amount of waste that is produced from the event over the years. Participants are encouraged to bike to the start line where there is a free bike valet that can hold up to 150 bikes at a time.
It is also encouraged that participants bring their own reusable cup or water bottle and don’t use disposable energy gel packs as they cannot be recycled. If you aren’t able to bring your own water bottle, don’t stress because everything provided at the event is usually recyclable or compostable. There are typically volunteers at the recycling stations to ensure that all materials are properly disposed of. For more information on this event going green check out Sun Run Environmental Initiatives.
For further details about the event, check out the Vancouver Sun Run website.