Almost 60,000 runners turned out to the 24 th annual Vancouver Sun Run Sunday, April 20, braving temperatures that hovered around freezing at the start to run, walk or wheel the 10 km course through the streets of Vancouver.
Not only did the turnout shatter the previous record by about 4,000 runners it was also the coldest Sun Run yet. As well, there was a record turnout from Whistler this year with 75 runners finishing.
Of special note, Whistler’s Brenda Baker placed first in the women’s 55 to 59 age category with a time of 41:01, about five minutes faster than the next competitor.
Baker had hoped to break the 40 minute mark, something she’s accomplished in every 10 km race she’s been in since her very first 10K, but said she was feeling under the weather after road biking on Vancouver Island for five days last week. Like other Whistler runners, she was also feeling a bit rusty after a long winter.
“I haven’t done much running this winter up to now because the footing was so bad. Usually I would have had a few more runs under my belt by now, but I’ve only been doing a minimum of running and some intervals a few weeks ago,” she said.
Baker knew coming into the Sun Run that she had a chance of winning her category, based on her own times and the times of last year’s top finisher in her age group. However, she just moved up into the 55-59 category, and wasn’t sure who else might have made the jump.
“It was a surprise in some ways, because there are a lot of phenomenal masters runners out there and you never know who’s moving up, but in other ways I wasn’t surprised because I knew I had a good time compared to the average,” she said.
This was also Baker’s first Sun Run, and she was blown away by the experience.
“I was in the seeded group up front, and warming up I was running back and forth and could see the crowd,” she said. “Georgia (Street) looked like a giant pixel board, all you could see were these little dots of heads as far as the eye could see. The course itself was great — it wasn’t tough and it wasn’t easy. It starts off with a nice downhill, but you’ve got a few good uphills that don’t seem like uphills until you’re racing.”
Baker plans to run more races this year, including the Scotia Bank half marathon in June, to take advantage of the fact she’s moved up an age group. She planned to run the Vancouver half marathon in early May, but decided that she wouldn’t have enough time to train with winter hanging on in Whistler.