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Vancouver: Our insider’s guide to running the city

Huddled between the ocean and the mountains, Vancouver strikes an enviable balance between the urban and the outdoors. And despite its reputation for being a bit drizzly, with beaches, parks and trails for days, it’s the perfect place to lace up and run. Forget RainCouver, it’s time to RunCouver.

 

Few other places mash up a buzzing urban landscape with the epic outdoors quite as well as Canada’s West coast sea port of Vancouver.

 

With it’s shoulders wrapped in snow-covered mountains, feet lapped at by the Pacific, Canada’s third largest city has it all. From gleaming modern skyscrapers and vibrant cultural diversity, to pristine parks and beautiful beaches. It’s the perfect paradise for explorers. And those who want urban adventure but don’t want to sacrifice the natural escapism that most metropolises only offer far beyond their city limits.

 

 

It’s also home to the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path and there are hundreds of routes for exploring this incredible city on foot. With such strong outdoor creds, it’s no surprise Vancouver has a long, rich, running history – and a buzzing running scene.

 

To help you explore, we tapped into the local knowledge of our resident Vancouver runner-in-the-know. They’ve handpicked three routes to take you to the heart – and let you feel the soul – of the city.

 

 

Meet your Vancouver running guide

 

On Run Crew member, Mark moved to Vancouver from the Phillipines back in 2007 and since then it’s become his second home. A home he says that always feels like a vacation.

 

“Vancouver has so much to offer, all the amenities from the beautiful landscape of the city and the vast outdoors,” says Mark. 

 

“It’s unlimited what you can do here. And let’s not forget about the amazing running community!

  

 

“Vancouver has a variety of running clubs to choose from depending on what you’re looking for! It’s also well-known as RainCouver so don’t mind a little rain, ok a lot of rain!”

 

“Running is like meditation for me. Morning runs are the perfect way to start the day or afternoon is also great after a long stressful day at work”

  

 

Move your mind

 

Like our previous guides, we asked Mark to give us the inside track on the best routes to run in Vancouver. 

 

He treated us to three of his favourite runs, starting with a 15k exploring downtown, followed by a 10k around the iconic Stanley Park and finally finishing off with a 5k along the water. 

 

The perfect miles for moving your body, clearing your mind and exploring the city.

  

 

5k Beach Route

 

Mark’s first route runs past three of Vancouver’s scenic beaches – Kitsilano, Hadden and Sunset – past Vancouver’s only saltwater swimming pool, with a hop across Burrard Street Bridge, serving up skyline views across English bay.

 

“My 5km route is a quick and easy run heading to the city. Perfect for morning or evening running, especially if you wanna catch the sunrise or sunset,” says Mark.

 

“Turf is a good spot to start a run, good coffee and good food. Kitsilano beach is one of the busiest beaches during summer time and the local neighborhood has lots of options for shopping and food. Elsje Point and Burrard Bridge are perfect for capturing that sunrise and sunset view. And Sunset beach is the perfect place to end your run!”

  

Running route 1: 5k Beach
See on Strava

 

10k Stanley Park Seawall

 

If you want a shorter blast, Vancouver's very own Stanley Park – right near downtown – is the perfect spot. Mark takes us on a loop that follows part of the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path, includes several beaches, an awesome skyline view at Elsje Point and a fly-by of the iconic Art-Deco Burrard Bridge. It’s a flat and breezy runner’s paradise.

 

“It’s an amazing place to soak in some spectacular outdoor scenery, while staying close to town. I’ve been running this route since the beginning. Lots of good memories, some bad memories, but that’s just training for ya sometimes. This is a must if you’re an avid runner.

 

“Stanley Park is a loop that starts at one of my favourite brewery’s, The Stanley Park Brewery and finishes at English Bay – known locally as first beach. The markers along the Seawall, are a good indicator, if you forgot your watch or cellphone too.” 

   

Running route 2: 10k Stanley Park Seawall
See on Strava

 

15K Scenic Downtown Route

 

For our final run route – and our long run option – Mark takes us into the heart of downtown Vancouver. 

 

“You’ll hit Granville Island which is my favourite spot because it has everything from coffee, a brewery, donuts and amazing restaurants. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can take the water taxi across the city and continue your run on the other side.”

 

“Next you’ll reach Olympic Village, home to the delicious Terra bread coffee shop. A little further on, we swing by Science World and make our way past the famous running statue of cancer research activist Terry Fox. He inspired me so much with my running journey and to never give up. 

 

“Keep ticking those legs over and you’ll soon be running through Gastown. Arrive here at the right time (it goes off every 15 minutes) and you might see the steam clock go off! We finish our 15km adventure at Canada Place where we find the Olympic Cauldron Flame. And a vast variety of restaurants to choose from if you’re hungry!”

 

Running route 3: 15k Scenic Downtown
See on Strava

 

Mark's wearing

The Cloudstratus
The performance shoe for maximum cushioning.
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The Mid Socks
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The Lightweight Shorts
Ultralight, versatile shorts with a perforated back.
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The Performance-T
Lightweight, breathable and fast to dry. Ideal for warm days or race day.
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