Cheer on the Vancouver Sun Run and BMO Marathon

BMO Vancouver Marathon, Photo: Richard Lam/RUNVAN

As we move further into spring and the weather gets warmer, Vancouverites and visitors are gearing up for more fun in the sun. Whether you’re there to support a friend or cheer on all the runners, watching a race has an eclectic atmosphere and unmissable community spirit to Vancouver that you won’t want to miss.

Sun Run

Photo: Vancouver Sun Run

The annual Vancouver Sun Run is Canada’s largest running event, encompassing parts of Coal Harbour, the West End, Kitsilano, and False Creek, on April 21. Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the annual race is an eye-catching 10-kilometre run and walk that attracts 35,000 participants from across the country every year.

BMO Marathon

BMO Vancouver Marathon, Photo: Chris Morris/RUNVAN

The BMO Vancouver Marathon, one of the world’s top-ranked destinations for marathon races, returns on May 5. Its scenic, award-winning course takes runners on a 42.2km (26.2 miles) adventure past gorgeous beaches, through natural parks, and along the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path, the Seawall.

Best Places to Watch the Runners

Image: Vancouver Sun Run

The Sun Run’s 10km race starts 9am on Sunday, April 21 at Burrard and Georgia, while the 2.5km Mini Sun Run starts at 8am at Pacific Boulevard.

Parking yourself somewhere along English Bay on Beach Avenue (after 2km), in particular, will make for a fine spot to see runners pass by in a fun environment surrounded by great beach vibes and fresh air. Other spots to cheer runners include Quebec Street in Olympic Village around the 9km mark and before the finish line along Pacific Boulevard heading towards BC Place.

Image: BMO Vancouver Marathon

On Sunday, May 5, the half marathon starts at 7am and the marathon at 8:30am (both at Queen Elizabeth Park), with the 8km race starting at 9:30am at Stanley Park.

Enjoy one of the most scenic destination marathons in the world by watching the race from Kits Beach for a gorgeous view, or get to Stanley Park bright and early to cheer on runners all day. Want to spot friends a couple of times along the way? Wave to a friend after 32km at English Bay, enjoy a walk along Denman Street and wave to them again by the finish line in Coal Harbour.

Road Closures and How to Get Around

BMO Vancouver Marathon, Photo: Dave Mallari/RUNVAN

Be prepared before attending either race. For the Sun Run, many major roads downtown will be closed, and streets will be restricted. Take transit or walk and avoid the central downtown area, the West End, and the False Creek area between Burrard Steet Bridge to Main Street by car.

The BMO Marathon starts in South Cambie and heads west to Kerrisdale, Dunbar, UBC, and then Point Grey. It then wraps around Kitsilano towards Stanley Park and finally Coal Harbour. This route is easily accessible by bus or SkyTrain. Major westside roads touching the Burrard Inlet and English Bay should be avoided by car.

Bars & Restaurants to Enjoy the Races

Photo: Stanley Park Brewing

Grab a beverage and snack somewhere along one of the race routes. Try Cactus Club or Craft Beer Market for either race. Local Public Eatery (before the 28km mark) will have a nice view of the marathon. Places off the race route but nearby to stop by include Stanley Park Brewing (near the 33km mark) and Cardero’s (near the finish line).

For bars near the Sun Run’s finals stage, visit Steamworks, Brewhall, Tap & Barrel, or the other Craft Beer Market location.