Updated – A Rookie’s Guide to the Rupert 8K Road Race and 8 reasons to participate!

First and foremost, let’s get something straight – the term “race” can be intimidating for anyone who isn’t super competitive, experienced or confident in the activity at hand. BUT, what many new runners aren’t aware of, is that “race day” is totally synonymous with “a fun, organized running event with high energy and community atmosphere that provides the opportunity to push a little harder than usual” So, going forward, let’s just call it a running EVENT 🙂

The second Sunday in April is the Prince Rupert 1/2 Marathon, two-person 1/2 Marathon Relay, and 8K Road Race hosted by Rupert Runners. Find everything you need to know by clicking the link. Both routes are out-and-back, meaning the finish line is the same place as the starting line. The reason this post is focusing on the 8K distance in particular is because the Learn to Run Clinic, hosted annually by Rupert Runners, has been in full swing now since mid-February. Eight kilometres may be a very realistic distance for participants to tackle, come April. It could mean running, run/walk intervals, or even signing up with the intention to walk and just testing out a few short jogs along the way. That’s right, WALKERS ARE WELCOME! Come one, come all. Also, lots of other runners are coming out of their winter hibernation and 8k is a sweet distance if you aren’t down to run a quarter or half marathon at this point in the year.

Once you’re all signed up, you can relax until the Saturday before the event, go to the package pick-up location (place and time TBA) and pick up your bib (participant number), your shoe-tag (our new timing gizmo) and souvenir shirt (if you register before March 21st). Again, it’s easier for you and everyone else to grab your stuff before the day of the event, and this year we will only offer Sunday package pickup for out-of-town participants.

Sunday Runday!

The 8K begins at 9:30am this year. Sometime prior to event day you’ll decide what you want to wear on your run, taking the weather conditions into consideration. Also, plan to leave something in your vehicle/a friend’s vehicle for after you finish because you will likely get very cold once you cool down. You may also want to bring your own water bottle or other beverage and snacks, even though there are always some goodies provided.

Common question: Do I wear the race shirt in the run?

Answer: a general running rule is never try anything new on the day of an event. Clothing, food, shoes, etc. But in the end it’s totally up to you!

There is an awards ceremony post-race for overall and age group winners, plus TONS of door prizes, so stick around! Once your body cools down you’ll want your hoodie or jacket, and maybe some sweats. When you’ve decided what top you’d like to run in, you’ll pin your bib onto the FRONT of your shirt (or shorts/pants if you prefer). The bib goes on the front because as you are finishing the course, the volunteers in charge of timing need to be able to see it clearly. Four safety pins will be provided to you.

Bibs also make good keepsakes!

Other things to pay attention to on Sunday morning include staying hydrated and eating breakfast a few hours before hand. Bland is good! A few ideas are oatmeal or peanut butter and banana toast. You can use the bathroom before, washrooms are available inside the Lester Centre as well as the Civic Centre – just remember a mask for when you are indoors.

Since the 1/2 marathon and relay start first, this is a great opportunity to get down to the Lester Centre nice and early to give yourself time to take in the energy of the event, cheer as 1/2 runners take off, chat with friends, and warm up. If the parking lot at the Lester Centre is congested, there is a ton of parking down below at the Civic Centre and ball fields.

Please, don’t think that warming up for an event means you are being “super hardcore” and trying to win or break records or something. Warming up is necessary to prevent injury, feel ready, and so that you don’t give your body a rude awakening sending it from resting to a higher heart-rate in just a few seconds! Try a short, easy jog part way down Wantage Road or even just in the parking lot, then twirl the ankles, try some leg swings front to back and side to side while hanging on to something for support, grape-vine, high knees, butt kicks, whatever gets you warmed up, and then some stretching is okay after your muscles are no longer cold.

When start time approaches, 8K participants gather in the little undercover drop-off area in front of the Lester Center entrance. This is the same place the first race started, so if you are there early you can see how it goes down, but it’s nothing fancy or complicated whatsoever. You’ll see orange cones and volunteers in vests, and at least one person shouting LOL. Once you begin, you’ll run out onto the highway keeping on the right side of the road, and staying on that side after turning around the cone at the half-way point, which is just a little further than the turn off to the Industrial Site and will have a water table and volunteers. There is no crossing of the highway. WOOO. If you think you’re getting nervous, try converting that to excited!

The Course!

Think of this course as SIX parts. Six manageable chunks, many of which you have already run, or will before April, if you’re taking part in Learn to Run or Continue to Run.

1/6: Lester Centre to BC Hydro

  • try not to fly out of the starting area!
  • this is a time to see how you feel, settle in, find your breath
  • yes, it starts on an uphill, but you got it

first part

[Phuong Nguyen Photo]

2/6: BC Hydro to the SPCA

  • downhill, yayaa! A reward for your initial climb
  • if you’re feeling a little out of breath from that first incline, this is a great place to let your heart rate and breath stabilize. Relax and breathe, this is fun and exciting!


enjoying the descent! [Phuong Nguyen Photo]

3/6: SPCA to the half-way turnaround point!

  • if you are in Learn to Run, you’ll have experience on this hill by April
  • slow and steady, maintain your effort level, not necessarily your pace
  • shorten your stride slightly and use your arms to work your way up the hill
  • don’t hunch – it squishes your lungs
  • there is a water station at the half-way point if you need it! 🙂

4/6: Half-way mark back down to the SPCA

  • run back down that glorious hill you just tackled!!
  • look around, take it in. We live in a beautiful place and this is fun!
  • stay in control of your body on the downhill by engaging your core and leaning forward a little

5/6: SPCA to BC Hydro

  • This is a sneaky hill, not too steep, but still a hill. You can do this.
  • Tell yourself it’s the last uphill
  • Once you get to BC Hydro, which is now on your left, it’s all downhill to the finis

coming back

6/6: Ya buddy. Back to the Lester Centre! DOWNHILL TO THE FINISH!!!

  • if you are feeling good, give yourself permission to go a little faster now
  • smile and be proud of yourself!


half marathon finisher killin’ it [Phuong Nguyen Photo]

Cross the finish line, which is exactly where you started, and keep moving so you don’t get in the way of any participants who are coming in behind you. Make your way to some water and a snack, usually in the lobby. Giving your body calories within 30 minutes of working hard is important.

Take some pics! Did you know runners are 89.3% more obsessed with Instagram than non-runners? Do some stretching, walk around and then get those warm clothes you packed for after you finished kicking ass. That’s right, YOU KICK ASS!

Jamie’s 8 Reasons to participate in the Rupert 8K

  1. Because you are stronger than you think
  2. Take part in a community event
  3. Get some exercise
  4. There are really awesome door prizes! (local, too!)
  5. Get out of your comfort zone, it’s good for us all! Do something different!
  6. To feel proud and ride an endorphin-high ALL day
  7. Do something outdoors in Spring weather
  8. WHY NOT? here’s the registration!

If you have any questions that this post isn’t answering, contact me and I’ll find answers for you. Hope to see you there! If you know anyone who may benefit from reading this, please share! And one more time, here’s the event link!prhalf

cross your fingers for weather like 2016! [Phuong Nguyen Photo]


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