10 things to look out for this BMO Vancouver Marathon weekend

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And they're off! Runners leave the start line at the BMO Vancouver Marathon (BMO Vancouver Marathon)

Runners from around the world will descend on Vancouver this weekend for our city’s only marathon – and a whole host of extra activities.

The BMO Vancouver Marathon, which started in 1972 with just 32 finishers, has grown into an internationally recognized marathon weekend offering races for everyone.

Nearly 16,000 runners will run in the six races now included in the BMO Vancouver Marathon weekend – including the full, gruelling marathon on Sunday.

Even if you’re not running, there’s plenty to enjoy. Here are the top 10 things to watch out for this BMO Vancouver Marathon race weekend.

1. Health, sports and lifestyle expo

A free expo is kicking off festivities – more than 100 exhibitors will share the latest trends in lifestyle, fitness, health and nutrition at the Vancouver Convention Centre. Catch it on Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

2. Races for everyone

Latvian runner Dita Grunte at the BMO Vancouver Marathon (BMO Vancouver Marathon)

Latvian runner Dita Grunte at the BMO Vancouver Marathon (BMO Vancouver Marathon)

The BMO Vancouver Marathon now offers six different races, so there’s something for everyone. The Kids’ Run and new 2.5K Walk take place on Saturday; the marquee point-to-point Marathon, Half Marathon, Relay and 8K all happen on Sunday.

3. Half Marathon Championships

The BC Half Marathon Championships this year take place on the fast 21.1KM course of the BMO Vancouver Marathon, in conjunction with BC Athletics. Elite Athletes are expected to better the course record of 1:02:36.

4. International attraction

Runners from more than 60 countries will be taking part in the BMO Vancouver Marathon, filling the city’s hotels and (hopefully) generating $45 million in economic impact.

5. Elite athletes

Kenyan elite runner Kip Kangogo at the BMO Vancouver Marathon (BMO Vancouver Marathon)

Kenyan elite runner Kip Kangogo at the BMO Vancouver Marathon (BMO Vancouver Marathon)

The first elite athletes are expected to run up West Pender and cross Bute Street to cross the finish line around 8 a.m. on Sunday. Event records for the half marathon are 1:02:36 and 1:12:33 for the men and women, respectively, and 2:13:14 and 2:35:50 for the 42.2K marathon.

6. $7,000 in prizes

Not a runner? The Neighbourhood Challenge gives everyone a chance to join in and win $7,000 in total cash prizes. Make creative signs, cheer, and share your spirit using #RunVanFan and @BMOVanMarathon for your chance to win.

7. Stunning scenery

Running the BMO Vancouver Marathon under Lions Gate Bridge (BMO Vancouver Marathon)

Running the BMO Vancouver Marathon under Lions Gate Bridge (BMO Vancouver Marathon)

The views of snow-capped mountains, cherry blossom trees and shoreline vistas are reason enough to get outside and watch the race, which goes through 12 Vancouver neighbourhoods.

8. Volunteers

Volunteers at the BMO Vancouver Marathon (BMO Vancouver Marathon)

Volunteers at the BMO Vancouver Marathon (BMO Vancouver Marathon)

More than 4,000 volunteers representing 16,000 person hours will help stage the marathon, distributing approximately 31,000 litres of water and more than one million grams of nutritional gels on race day.

9. Entertainment stations

34 entertainment stations along the course will keep runners motivated and spectators entertained. Bands of all genres, including upbeat folk, Brazilian percussion, energetic jazz bands, and more, will add to the great atmosphere on race day.

10. Street festival

The street festival a block north of the finish line on West Hastings Street between Bute and Burrard will be a hub of energy wrapping up race day on Sunday, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with more celebrations, music, a Kids’ Zone, food, souvenirs, and more.

The Finish Line! (BMO Vancouver Marathon)

The Finish Line! (BMO Vancouver Marathon)

Vancity Buzz is a proud media sponsor of the BMO Vancouver Marathon

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