Archived entries for Sports

Vancouver Sun Run

I’ve been a slouch in the running department all winter, but that didn’t stop me from continuing my annual spring tradition of doing the Vancouver Sun Run. It was my slowest time in seven years – but I survived! The Sun Run has one of the best courses anywhere – winding through downtown streets, Stanley Park, across two bridges, and with the most amazing views of mountains and the sea. It’s a runner’s must-do.

Here’s the start, looking east down Georgia Street to the 50,000 runners!

Vancouver Sun Run

I managed to survive my fifth – or sixth? – Vancouver Sun Run this weekend with 50,000 of my closest friends. The course for this 10K (Canada’s largest road race) is the best I’ve ever experienced: it loops from the office towers of Downtown Vancouver through Stanley Park and over the bridge to Kitsilano before ricocheting over the Cambie Street Bridge back into the downtown peninsula near Yaletown.

The race aside, it was a spectacular weekend. A few snaps from around the city:


I’ve been fascinated by the story of Brendan Burke since I first learned about it. This week I had the immense pleasure of being there as his father, Brian Burke (head of the Toronto Maple Leafs), gave the keynote address at PFLAG NYC’s 30th Annual Gala. It turned out to be the first time he’s publicly spoken at length about Brendan since he died earlier this year, and there weren’t many dry eyes in the house — including Burke’s himself. (Meanwhile, the wackadoodles from the Westboro Baptist Church protested outside.)

“He was a great kid, a much nicer person than I am,” Burke said. “We would have been praising his accomplishments for many, many years.”

A long-running NHL executive, Burke said, “We still haven’t had a professional athlete come out — we know we have gay athletes, but no one has had the courage to take that next step.”

Related: Brian Burke Honours Late Son with Pride (Torontoist)

Brendan Burke

“If we don’t fight hard for the things we stand for, at some point we have to recognize that we really don’t stand for them.” – Brendan Burke

I had no idea about the story of Brendan Burke until just this week! The gay hockey player, whose dad is general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, died in a car crash earlier this year, just two months after coming out in an article. Now this week his brother has penned an excellent piece that appears on my friend Cyd’s site, OutSports, about Brendan’s life and his family’s experience with his coming out. I actually teared up a bit reading it…and you will too!

Vancouver Sun Run

Another year, another long night out with friends in Vancouver before the Sun Run! This week was my fifth Sun Run, and like I’ve done each of those years, I once again outdid myself on the Davie Street bar circuit before doing the race circuit a few hours later. But I survived, and that’s all that matters. The Sun Run is truly the best race around: a 10-km course that wends its way from West Georgia Street in downtown Vancouver through Stanley Park, along the beach, over the bridge to Kitsilano, and then over False Creek to a high-energy finish at BC Place. With nearly 60,000 runners and countless spectators lining every inch of the course it is a true community race that is simply awesome.

Vancouver: You Gotta Be Here

Sure, it’s a little cheesy, but this video montage of beautiful scenes from around British Columbia produced for the Olympics gives me chills. I love it! And having Kim Cattrall — who few Americans know is from BC, and who was once sleeping with Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau — is just the icing on the cake!

Vancouver’s close-up begins

Going into Gym Bar last night to watch the Vancouver opening ceremonies, I warned my friends that I would be insufferable all evening, peppering the historic night with useless trivia about my favo(u)rite city on the continent. And I didn’t disappoint, although my friends did humo(u)r me and let me explain every nuance of the evening. I have to admit it was one of the greatest joys of my (sad, sad) life to see Vancouver shown off to the world. I’ve been going there religiously for years and have both enjoyed — and tired — of people knowing so little about it. My friend Steve didn’t believe me. (Click that damn link, Steve!)


First off, I am thrilled that on TV they keep showing where Vancouver is on the map. Maybe fewer people will think it’s near Anchorage (I often get that), when in fact, it’s closer to New York than San Francisco is.

I had frissons from the first second of the broadcast, as BC natives Kim Cattrall and Ryan Reynolds and then Vancouver’s gleaming skyline flickered onto the screen…and then I teared up (true!) when Georgia walked in just hours after the sad death of one of its own on Whistler’s slicker-than-slick luge run. (For the record, I want to die in a place as beautiful as British Columbia – the license plate isn’t lying.)


But it was when Romeo Dallaire marched in that I really flipped! So cool to see him included in the ranks of Canadian celebrity (too bad no one at the United Nations took note back in 1994, but I digress).

Two fashion observations: I’m still wondering whether Pucci or Lily Pulitzer provided Azerbaijan’s outrageous yet quite chic costumes. Entertainment Weekly gave them the distinction of having the night’s Worst Outfit. And on the flip side, I thought Michaelle Jean looked positively dazzling in her silvery bronzy suit. Someone definitely made a run into Holts before hitting BC Place. And she looked a helluva lot better than Laureen Harper, who was seated next to her and who resembled a ketchup bottle (the squeezable ones, not the svelte Heinz ones).


The bottom line?

I haven’t talked to anyone who liked the opening ceremonies. The New York Times kindly called it “tasteful.” Let’s face it: Beijing was a tough act to follow, and in 2008 China had a lot more to prove to the world than Canada does today (they also spent 10 times more than Vancouver did). The show was beautifully done — malfunctioning caldrons notwithstanding — but I think the main problem was simply the fact that it was very Canadian, and Americans don’t know much about Canada. Anything Canadian state-side requires subtitles for people to understand what’s happening. Everyone was puzzled at how indian-heavy (that’s First Nations, people!) it was. Never mind that British Columbia is basically one big native land claim. Don’t even get me started about the questions about Who the hell is Stephen Harper? and What the hell is a governor general?

(One minor post-script: Where on earth was NBC broadcasting from? In the pre-opening broadcast, one could only presume they were on a barge in Coal Harbour — perhaps at the float plane gas pumps? — if the backdrop of the Vancouver Convention Centre was to be believed. Clearly they were not.)

Vancouver Sun Run: Survived

Admittedly, I have made a number of poor choices in my life. Not the least of which was deciding to go through with the running the 25th Vancouver Sun Run after a night enjoying the company of friends on Davie Street. Just kidding — it wasn’t that bad getting up at 8 a.m. after going to bed five hours earlier. I do the Sun Run every year, and it’s become my own little tradition. The race is a blast, filled with a crazy energy — with 55,000 runners, how can it not be? — and the course traverses some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Although my performance was less than stellar this year (I fell 6 minutes short of my 2008 time), owing to my complete lack of exercise recently, it was still an awesome time.

Here are a couple shots, courtesy of The Vancouver Sun. The first shows only a fraction of the runners as the race kicks off at Thurlow and Georgia Streets earlier today. It takes about an hour for everyone to cross the start line (fortunately I was in the front and was let loose within a minute of the race gun going off). The second shows a thinned-out crowd heading down Pacific Street with some great views of English Bay the distance.



Running like the wind

This morning I ran in the annual Mother’s Day 4-miler along with 3,300 other crazy New Yorkers who somehow managed to get themselves to Central Park in time for the 8 a.m. start. It was my best run ever. Why? Recently I started buying more performance running gear (you know, the shirts made from mountains of soda bottles), slitty shorts and ugly sneaks. This race was the first time I put the whole outfit together. My belief is that if you look like a runner you’ll run faster. And it worked. I managed to run a 6:54 mile, which is 40 seconds faster than I’ve ever run.

Anyone interested in being a better runner can forgot about training more. Just head to JackRabbit Sports on 14th Street (Don’t forget your Amex. You’ll need it. Glory does not come cheap.), where they’ll videotape your stride on a treadmill, analyze your swish on a computer screen, and somehow pick the perfect pair of sneaks for you. It could be a complete racket, but it’s worked so far!

Sun Run, survived.

Well, I survived it again. Despite my threats to the contrary, I did manage to complete the Vancouver Sun Run yesterday. This year’s was event was even more massive than last year’s, with more than 59,000 beating a path through downtown Vancouver in what is Canada’s largest race, and the world’s third-largest.

This year I was seeded a lot better than last year, so instead of beginning the race in the last slow-poke wave, I was in the first wave. Not having to trample over people made all the difference. I shaved five minutes off last year’s time and ended in 2,893rd place, the top 4-5%. Yay! For anyone looking for an excuse for a trip, sign up for next year’s race — it is the most fun race I do all year! See you then!

In other running news, congrats to my friend John who ran and somehow managed to finish the Boston Marathon today!


A pre-Olympics hotel boom

fairmont_pacific_rim_constructionThis Sunday’s New York Times has a good piece on Vancouver’s pre-Olympics building boom. I’m obsessed with new hotels, and the piece focuses on all the new ones coming to town, including a Ritz-Carlton, the continent’s first Shangri-La, and my fav construction project: the new Fairmont Pacific Rim.

I’ve written much about the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel and residences, but I think it is worth repeating that this will (hilariously) be the fourth Fairmont Hotel in Vancouver (fifth if you count the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, which I don’t, sixth if you count the Fairmont Empress Hotel, which I don’t).

Fairmont has taken the Starbucks approach to site selection and has practically saturated Vancouver with hotels on every possible corner. The Pacific Rim stands two blocks from the Fairmont Waterfront (and their views will be virtually identical!). Four blocks south is the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Nine miles south is the Fairmont Vancouver Airport.

Race to Deliver

My friends Donny, Sean, and I ran the Race to Deliver the other day in Central Park. Here we are, looking devilish after the race (hence the mess of a hairdo).


Vancouver’s Olympic clock

Vancouver’s new Olympic countdown clock: Oh, how I love thee!

This gorgeous clock will be counting down for the next three years and then when it hits zero, as Vancouver magazine puts it, it will “start counting upwards, toward infinity. You’ll never know whether you’re late for work, but you will know exactly how long it’s been since the world set its gaze upon our fair city, once upon a time in 2010.”


More jock evidence

I ran the Mother’s Day 4-miler in Central Park on Sunday where I was caught in mid-stride in these new short shorts I picked up last week in San Francisco (on Castro Street, of course). They helped me run faster than ever! The best thing about this shot? The sunglasses I’m carrying.


The Downtown Eastside and the ‘Olympics’ greatest legacy’

downtown_eastside_aprilAs someone who started college as an urban studies major, the Downtown Eastside is fascinating to me. The other morning I was wandering around the neighbourhood — the poorest in Canada; the HIV and injection-drug capital of the continent, and a place seething with sadness — and continued to be struck by the contrasts it exposes in Vancouver society.

There is hope that some day, things will be better here: The housing stock in the DES has long been dominated by the infamous single-room occupancy hotel, or SRO. The city had planned to snatch up a whole slew of them, one by one for the next ten years, evict the rats and roaches, and turn them into social housing. Then in a bold move, three weeks ago they decided to buy ten SROs this year alone, providing 1,200 units of housing for the poor and homeless. It’ll cost $80 million and was described by the Globe and Mail as “the single biggest initiative to deal with the homeless crisis in Canada.”

Globe columnist Gary Mason hits the nail on the head with his assessment of this surprise move: “This is all about the Olympics. Sad, but true. If the Olympic Games weren’t coming, along with tens of thousands of visitors from around the world, there would not be the impetus to deal with the homeless problem in the city. The last thing Mr. Campbell [premier of B.C.] wants is for his guests to be tripping over some guy in a sleeping bag when they walk out of their hotel in the morning. If it took the Olympics to get politicians focused on the issue, so be it. At least something is being done, and it will be the Olympics’ greatest legacy in B.C.”

Phoebe Dog!

My friend Mike sent me this fabulous shot of his personality-filled dog, whom he incorrectly spells Pheobie, at the finish line of today’s rainy Boston Marathon. She looks cuter than my friend John probably did when he crossed the finish line after a speedy four-hour run today. Congrats, John, for doing something I would never dare to do. (Because I am sane.)


Sun Run, survived

vancouver_sun_runThis year’s Sun Run was amazing! It turned out to the be the largest race in Canadian history, boasting 54,000 participants. The winner clocked in at just under 30 minutes; I did 50:57, which surprised me! That put me in 4,626th place. I didn’t win my age bracket, but if I was a 70-75 year old woman, I would have won.

I was astounded at how easy the race felt. It coursed westward through downtown Vancouver to Stanley Park before ricocheting back east, over the Burrard Bridge, back over the Cambie Street Bridge before finishing up at BC Place (read: home of the Olympic opening ceremonies in 2010!).

I started off under in the 10-20,000 numbered participant wave, which passed through the start line on West Georgia Street a good 30 minutes after the first runners started — after the winner had already won. Running this race was a lot easier than those I typically do in New York, which usually only attract 5,000 people, because in New York they restrict runners to one lane of traffic whereas in Vancouver we were spread out over as many as six lanes (shown above on West Georgia). The road did not feel overrun with runners, and there was an incredible energy along the route with bands and screamers the entire distance. Can’t wait for next year’s!

Fleet Feet

We’re now just a week away from two of the most eagerly anticipated races of the year:

• My friend John will be running the Boston Marathon on April 16. He has pledged to raise a few thousand dollars for the Pine Street Inn, an important shelter in Boston. Help him up and make your pledge!

• I’ll be running the 10K Vancouver Sun Run next Sunday. I am not running for any good cause. I’m just running to see if I can actually finish. While not as famous as the Boston Marathon, the Sun Run is one of the 10 biggest races in the world. Last year it drew 50,000 runners!

Furry hat boys

What were you doing on Sunday, when temperatures dipped well into the teens in Manhattan? I’ve got you beat. I joined two friends in running a 4-miler in Central Park. As this post-race photo from our friend Patrick shows, at least two of us were well-prepared for the 14-degree run with our silly, furry hats. Although my time was not great (8:19 pace), I took comfort in the fact that I did not throw up this time.


Buffalo Bills

My friend Javi and I yesterday had the pleasure (and I mean pleasure) of sitting in the cold and whipping rain in Buffalo to watch the hometown Bills whomp the Miami Dolphins 21-0. Of course, the pleasure of this game, like the last one I attended recently, was having a few anti-gay slurs yelled our way upon entering the stadium. Ahh, Buffalo!

Below, right, please notice the look on my face as I got increasingly more soaked in the western New York chill. That look basically sums up the game.



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