I try and keep a pretty open mind when it comes to the smaller more unique races available in my area. Honestly at first when I started my racing journey, I wanted to stick to a specific type and or distance to stay consistent. This year however, I wanted to try different types of races to see what really spoke to me.
With that being said, after chatting with my We Run Surrey Run crew lead, I looked into the Pure Protein Night race – a simple enough concept, you run in the dark with a head lamp along the Stanley Park Seawall.
The price for this race was pretty decent, and as part of your race kit, you got a mandatory head lamp with batteries that all participants have to wear during the run – no exceptions. I run often in the darker hours with my run crew and figured an extra head lamp would come in super handy. I signed up and got excited as the race came closer – there were at least a couple of really good pre race emails that were received. Due to my work schedule I wasn’t able to take advantage of pre race pick up, and opted to grab my race bib and kit that night.
Getting downtown to the race on public transit wasn’t hard, and the bus into Stanley Park was full of night race runners (as a runner you can totally tell when others are going to a race). The evening was rather rainy – here on the West Coast, rain in the fall is common, so I wore a rain poncho I had picked up at a previous race over my running outfit – I wanted to stay as dry as I could.
When I got onsite, I was amazed at how many people both adults and children were there ready to go. The kids race, 1km in length was set to start about 30 minutes before ours, so it was a zoo. The pacakge pick up line was pretty quick although I was disappointed I had to go back and ask for pins and in my race pick up bag all there was, was my bib and head lamp – I saw many others with granola bar samples and coupons. I know I was late to the package pick up party, but the bags should all be the same in my opinion.
There was a dry area inside were I was able to setup my head lamp and get my bib on. The lines were too long though so I missed up on the free light up laces and face paint. I wanted to try and get myself close to the start, as after this race was done, I was heading to Sun Peaks for another. The kids race was let off pretty quick and it was super cute to see the little ones start the run with their bouncing head lamps. I waited at the finish to cheer them on as I know how it feels to do a first race.
Us 10 km runners were let off next if my memory serves me correctly. We did a super quick warm up with Ruby and Cruise from Z95.3 – he was even nice enough to take a picture with me before the race. The runners spread out pretty quickly which was nice, as it gave me room to find my stride. Having just started working with my new running coach Allison Tai, I wanted to take it at a slow and steady pace. My goal was to run the entire thing without stopping – I haven’t done that in a 10 km in a long time. I put in my head phones, put on my music and went for it.
Along the course, the only thing that I found a little off was the km markers. Each 1km marker was a half km off from being accurate – it happens but for those that might have been watching their distance it might have been discouraging. It was not pouring rain and it was cool enough that I didn’t overheat in my poncho.
The water stations were well spaced out and the course was marked well with reflective tape. I managed to finish the race in 1:07 I do believe but when I got to the finish I was not amused. All of the little booths including those handing out granola bar samples, water and other treats were empty. There was no one left at the Brooks booth to get finishers photos and from what I understand the food vendors ran out of food. My finish time wasn’t that slow and I was not happy there was no water and nothing left to eat after the race. Friends of mine let me know they had an icecream and beer as their post event food.
There was also confusion – when I signed up I remember it mentioning that everyone got a finisher’s medal but only the kids did – which is fine with me but a little odd for a 10 km distance not to get a medal. I think if I do the race next year I will read the registration more carefully to see what is included.
Overall a cute race to run in the dark – and I am afraid of the dark.
To find out more about this race, visit: Night Race