The 2016 Race for Warmth is one I have been looking forward to running. I ran the race in its first year, in 2015. Organized by Clark Public Utilities, I thought its inaugural year showed a whole lot of promise, although there were a few things I thought they could improve. For one thing, the course featured a steep uphill to the finish line. UGH! Also, the tee shirts had a great design (I love their logo), but they were short-sleeved and cotton. There were some changes this year, and ::drumroll please:: they did manage to make the race even better!
A better 5k course – As last year, the Race for Warmth 5k begins with a big downhill. The difference is, now it turns West to make a loop through downtown Vancouver, instead of following the 10k course for an out-and-back. The new route features fewer along-the-river views, but it does eliminate the steep uphill to the finish, with a slow altitude gain instead.
Scenic 10k course – Yes, you still have the out-and-back route with the steep uphill to the finish (sorry, guys)! But there’s plenty of time spent next to the Columbia river, which offers nice views. And hey, you get to run up and over the fun land bridge at Fort Vancouver twice!
Kid-friendly elements – Free kids’ run. Strollers are allowed if you start at the back of the pack. Food tent is separate from the beer garden, so the whole family can hang out and have some of the delicious soup and big hunk of crusty bread provided by Beaches.
Great volunteers – Besides the usual flaggers, course marshals, and water cup volunteers, extra volunteers were stationed along the course with clappers just to cheer and offer encouragement!
Community support gives it a positive feel, with several local businesses chipping in food, drinks, snacks and swag.
Free parking – Because that’s how we roll in Vancouver.
Indoor bathrooms at start-finish area. Washing your hands in an actual sink is not a luxury you get at most races.
Prize drawings – Drat, I didn’t win any prizes this year. But last year I won a gift card to a local restaurant.
Great goodie bag – Featuring good swag from local businesses.
Long-sleeve tech tee – A big step up from last year’s short-sleeved cotton tee.
No bathrooms on course – Not a problem in the 5k, but I’m sure some participants (especially in the 10k) would appreciate an available porta john!
No hot coffee? Okay, I hope someone will correct me if they found the opposite. But my hubby wandered over to the coffee tent just after the 5k started, and he found: (a) They were out of hot chocolate. (b) They were only serving cold brew coffee. COLD BREW COFFEE? On a 40 degree morning? Say it ain’t so!
Course not exactly 5k – I know, I know. This one bums me out, because there were so many of us who were pleased with our finishing time. But as closely as I can figure, the course is 2.89 miles long, not 3.1.
Did I mention the swag? It was plentiful. My husband loved the back scratcher from the Chuck’s Produce tent, which is perfect because he deserves many scratches and pats on the back. He’s a great support, has waited for me through many cold and rainy events, and puts up with all the ridonkulous issues that can come up for any amateur runner. I appreciate him even more now that his duties include caring for our toddler daughter at races – no small task in itself!
Here’s a video of all the great stuff that came in the swag bag:
The Race for Warmth is a friendly race with a great home-brewed feel. Enough fun and extras to satisfy the average race junkie, without too much hoopla to distract from the charity.
What’s been your favorite race? Did it have a hometown feel, or a big showstopper event vibe? Let us know in the comments!