The 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 someone who isn’t super competitive, experienced or confident in the activity at hand. BUT, what many newer runners aren’t aware of is that “race day” is totally synonymous with “a fun, organized running event with high energy and community atmosphere.” So, going forward, let’s just call it an EVENT 🙂

This year, the first 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 and following us on Instagram and Facebook. All routes are out-and-back, meaning the finish line is the same place as the starting line, which is at the Lester Centre. The reason this post is focusing on the 8K distance in particular is because the Learn to Run Clinic, hosted annually by Rupert Runners, is uaually in full swing now since mid-February. (Note: Unfortunately, we are not hosting this clinic in 2023 due to lack of volunteers.) Eight kilometres may be a very realistic distance for new runners to tackle, come April. It could mean running, doing 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 8th!). We only offer Sunday package pickup for out-of-town participants, so make sure to visit us Saturday, and details will be provided to you as a registered participant.

Sunday Runday Overview!

The 8K begins at 9:20am this year, after the 9am half marathon and relay start. Sometime prior to event day you’ll decide what you want to wear on the day, taking weather conditions into consideration. Also, plan to leave something in your vehicle/a friend’s vehicle/inside the Lester Centre for after you finish because you will likely get very cold once you’re cooled down and sweaty. You may also want to bring your own water bottle or other beverage/snacks, even though there are always some light 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 door prizes, so stick around! Once your body cools down you’ll want your hoodie or jacket, maybe some sweats and my personal favourite, a toque! When you’ve decided what top you’d like to run in, you’ll pin your bib onto the FRONT of your body. 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. Your orange timing tag will go on your shoe – the laces feed through the holes and it sits flat on the top of your foot. Do not put your timing tag anywhere else – not in a pocket, a sock, etc. It must sit flat on the top of your laces or it won’t work.

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.

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 these 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 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 half marathoners started, so if you are there early you can see how it goes, but it’s nothing fancy or complicated whatsoever. You’ll see orange cones and volunteers in vests, and at least one person shouting (probably me, 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!

Finally, when you arrive back at the finish line, you’ll run right across the big, bright blue timing mats into a coned-off funnel, and a sweet little volunteer will take back your shoe-tag. They’re $50 if we don’t get them back and registration for any further event will not be available if it is not returned. Thanks in advance!

The Course!

Think of this course as SIX parts. Six manageable nuggets to focus on one at a time.

1/6: Lester Centre to BC Hydro Yard (up)

  • try not to fly out of the starting area! It’s not a sprint 🙂
  • this is a time to see how you feel, settle in, find your breath
  • yes, it starts on an uphill, so all the more reason to start conservatively

first part

[Phuong Nguyen Photo]

2/6: BC Hydro to the Frederick St. junction (down)

  • downhill, yeah! A reward for your initial climb!
  • if you’re feeling out of breath from that first incline, this is a great place to let your heart rate and breathing stabilize. Relax and enjoy the gentle descent.


enjoying the downhill! [Phuong Nguyen Photo]

3/6: Frederick St. to the half-way turnaround! (up)

  • slow and steady, maintain your effort level, not necessarily your pace
  • shorten your stride slightly and use your arms to work your way up this hill
  • lean into the hill but don’t hunch – it squishes your lungs
  • there is a water station at the half-way point if you need it! 🙂 This is located just a little past the Industrial Site turn-off

4/6: Half-way mark back to Frederick St. (down)

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

5/6: Frederick St. to BC Hydro (up)

  • This is a sneaky hill, but not too steep. Stay focused and you’ll be rewarded soon!
  • Tell yourself it’s the last uphill!
  • Once you get to the BC Hydro yard, which is now on your left, it’s all downhill to the finish.

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 might be coming in behind you. After a volunteer retrieves the timing-tag from your shoe, make your way to some water and a snack, usually in the lobby. Giving your body calories and hydration after working hard is very important!

Take some pics! Document your accomplishment! Do some stretching, cheer in some more participants, and get those warm clothes on 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 some 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. Play outside in (hopefully) 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! Lastly, we ALWAYS need volunteers, and it is possible to both take part in the run AND volunteer, so please consider helping out so we can keep these great community events! Anyone who solely wants to volunteer is very welcome to and can sign-up here!


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



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