Thanks to the Seawheeze Half Marathon, the annual running event sponsored the athletic apparel brand Lululemon, I can claim Vancouver as the latest destination conquered on my quest to run the world! I, along with 10,000 of my running buds, were beyond thrilled to be among the few, the proud, the agents (i.e. runners). Being apart of this exclusive group isn’t easy, as Seawheeze, which opens registration almost a year in advance, sells out in minutes.
It’s ironic that Lululemon is heavily associated with yoga, which emphasizes breathing and calmness; you know, Zen. But based on my experience, I doubt there was any calm, and probably very little breathing involved for most during the registration process for this race. I sat waiting for at least a half hour for the registration to open, and fortunately was able to register immediately using my iPhone. Apparently those using mobile devices were more successful than those using desktops who reported my glitches, such as being wait-listed, or kicked out by some gremlin in the system. After getting past the registration process, running a half-marathon was easy.
Yoga. Run. Party
The theme for Seawheeze was Yoga. Run. Party., and the organizers went above and beyond in each of these areas.
Yoga – Morning, afternoon and sunset yoga were on the agenda the day before the half marathon, and a sunset yoga session the day of the event. I caught a few minutes of the sunset session the day before the race, and probably should have joined in the sunset session after the race to help soothe my sore muscles, but popped a couple of Ibuprofen instead.
Run – It’s what I went to Vancouver to do, and I would say that along with Marathon du Medoc and the Disney Princess Half Marathon ranks as one of the top three most fun races I’ve run. Everything about the half marathon was top-notch, and everyone there, from the agents, to the volunteers, to the race organizers, exuded a vibe of absolute joy. The course, much of which was along Stanley Park’s famous Seawall, was absolutely stunning, with picturesque views of water, mountains and Vancouver.
There were some hills, though nothing outrageous, besides I think the agents were too taken with the entertainment along the way to notice. Some of the fun things on the course were spin classes, paddleboarders, mermaids, and cheer stations manned by the event sponsors ivivva, Saje and Clearly. Even the local police department showed some love.
After crossing the finish line, along with finishing medals, agents were treated to a few more goodies, including a tasty post – run brunch, or RUNch as I like to think of it, Lululemon hat, and a runner’s reward pouch with essential oils from Saje to aid in the recovery.
Agents had a few hours the race to refuel and recover, before the next phase of the Seawheeze weekend began: the party! The Sunset Festival featured a sunset yoga session, live music, and vendors selling food, drinks, and arts and crafts. The Lululemon Exclusive Runner Shop was also there giving runners one last chance to get those special Seawheeze goodies.
Truth be told, the party had been going on the entire weekend, starting with the expo, which was held at the Vancouver Convention Center, with many activities taking place around the Olympic Cauldron. Thanks to lots of capable volunteers, runners were able to quickly get through the line to receive their race packet, with included their number with timing chip, a gym bag, water bottle, sunglasses and the exclusive Seawheeze running shorts for those opted to pick them up at the expo instead of receiving them in the mail a few weeks prior.
Some of the other things at the expo were the Exclusive Runner Shop, free temporary tattoos, massages, foam rolling stations and hair styling stations offering everything from “manbuns to beehives”. I had my eyes open for some of these special hairstyles along the course, but sadly, didn’t see any.
How to get to Vancouver?
Getting to Vancouver is pretty easy since it’s home to a major international airport, Vancouver International Airport (YVR), and easily accessible to 2 others: Sea-Tac International Airport (SEA) is a 2.5 hour drive from Vancouver, and Bellington International Airport in Washington, is a little more than an hour’s drive. Also note that Seawheeze partnered with Canada Airlines, and offers runners a discount.
Seawheeze also has several partner hotels, which are not only near the start line, but offer deals to race participants. I was not as fast on the draw with the hotels as I was with registration, so didn’t stay in one of the partner hotels. However, I stayed at the Blue Horizon Hotel, proved to be an excellent option. Not only was the hotel a 10-minute walk from the start, but it was located right in the heart of Robson, a neighborhood full of great restaurants, galleries and shopping.
Seawheeze Half Marathon Verdict
My final verdict is that SEAWHEEZE IS FAB! I’d happily run it again, and definitely recommend it. The course is fast and relatively flat, so it would make a great first half marathon, and with a weekend full of race related events, it is the ultimate racecation.
The only negative thing for me would be the Exclusive Runner Shop. Everyone makes a big deal about it, but to be honest, I was underwhelmed. Not only did the collection not excite me, the fact that everything was regularly priced was disappointing. Forget the coupon to JJ Bean coffee. $.50 off a cup of Joe won’t change my life, but a nice discount on Lulu gear might.
Did you run Seawheeze this year or plan to run it in the future? Let’s connect! Maybe we can run together somewhere around the world! And keep your eyes open for the Seawheeze 2017 registration, which opens mid-September. Good luck getting in!
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