BMO Half Marathon

OMG PRoductions
Night before pre-race full-on carb out: Perogies with bacon and sour cream. Deluxe.

This was the first time running the BMO Half Marathon. I registered early and I was more committed and dedicated to training than any of my previous half marathons.

I have completed three half marathons in my life. The most recent was the Good Life half in Victoria in 2011.

My goal was to cross the finish line in less than two hours.


Preparation is key and blah blah blah.

Everyone has advice to give. The key for me is good diet, adequate training and sleep. I trained to the best of my ability thanks to Frontrunners. I worked up my distance and  completed a good 17.5 k run the week before so the confidence was there. And I have been running all year.

Pre-Race Expo

OMG Productions running for a year
The pre-race selfie at the Canada Line station. Getting up early at 5am on a Sunday is a killer.

The expo at the Vancouver Convention Centre was huge. It featured a multitude of booths selling goods, gear and offered free samples. I love free samples. No need to have dinner that night.

Blair’s quip to an organizer: “Where’s the Live Strong booth? I love that Lance Armstrong. He’s such a hero and I want to wear one of his Live Strong bracelets on race day.”   (Her reaction was priceless.)

And to the girl at the sports bra booth: “Do men ever wear these bras? “  (The answer was, yes, and then we burst out laughing)

Race Day 

The 7am start was tough. I had to be up at 5:15am and walked to the Canada Line because there are no busses up Robson at that hour on a Sunday. Also I had zilch sleep the night before. The anxiousness of the race kept me up. Good thing I prepped everything the night before including my precious Milano Americano.

OMG Productions
Pre-race smiles. Matty & Blair.

Stumbling onto The Canada Line I was met with a barrage of registered BMO-ers. It was the busiest I’ve ever seen the train on a Sunday morning. Jammed. Everyone was provided a Canada Line ticket in their registration which was convenient.

Twas a gorgeous day – thank you global warming. There were copious port-o-potties on site. No doubt everyone’s early morning coffee was doing its business.

Somehow fate allowed me to find my dear friend Matty and we walked to the start line together. We referenced Joan Crawford as inspiration for our run and dash like the ways she’s depicted by an over-the-top Faye Dunaway in the camp classic Mommie Dearest. 

OMG Productions Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest
Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford  running like the maniac that she was.

The Run

The heats were well timed and spaced. The route started at Queen Elizabeth Park and was all downhill to the Cambie Bridge. The route was scenic and always changing – meandering through multiple Vancouver neighbourhoods, to Stanley Park and finalizing in downtown.

The runners ahead of me looked like thousands of little colourful Crayola crayons bopping up in down moving forward in the same direction.

The inspiration signs along the route from enthusiastic spectators were witty and humorous. From what I remember:

  • “You trained longer than Kim Kardashian’s first marriage”
  • “All toe nails go to heaven”OMG Productions BMO Marathon
  • “Pain is temporary, pride is forever”
  • “Find a nice butt and follow it”
  • “Do or do not. There is no try – Yoda”

I received an extra kick at the 12k mark for about 3k and used The Force to really push. By 18k I started feeling the aches. Probably because my body knew the end was near and the Stanley Park hill at 15k was a struggle. Overall though, I felt great. It was definitely one of my best half marathons.


It was a mad dash to the finish line on Pender; a truly race against time as I saw the clock counting up to the two hour mark. I had to pass the finish line under two hours. Run like The Flash! I made it under two hours by 30 seconds only realizing later I had another 10 minutes under my belt: the heats gave me an extra 10 minutes.

OMG Productions BMO Half Blair Hirtle
Fait accompli. Medal and all.

Official results – 1 hour 49 minutes and 50 seconds. This was only 4 minutes off my best time achieved over ten years ago when I was still in my sprite thirties.

Interesting Stats on the BMO (based on 2014 numbers)

  • Half marathon, full marathons and 8k participants – approx. 15,000
  • Volunteers – 4000
  • Course spectators – 90000
  • Medical volunteers – 150
  • Charities involved – 31
  • Countries represented – 50
  • Bananas – 17,000
  • BMO Marathon
OMG Productions Milestones post BMO Marathon brunch
Prime Rib Hash. And it was damn good.


Yes, I would definitely consider registering, training and participating again. Pain is temporary and pride is forever.

Considering my Facebook post post-race received a whopping 111 likes and 19 comments, the run and the hard work was worth it.  And equally so was the post-run brunch at Milestone’s English Bay.

I got home and the dude I who was sleeping in my bed when I left was still sleeping in it when I returned. I joined him and slept for two hours. That night we celebrated at Espana for dinner.

Next Race – Navy Run Esquimalt 10k