April 11, 2023 0 Comments
Written by Thomas Nobbs
Racing is a popular sport in both Canada and the United States, but the two countries' racing scenes are characterized by distinct differences. In Canada, races tend to be smaller and more intimate in nature, with a focus on community and personal connections. These smaller races can be seen as more accessible to beginners and offer a supportive environment for elite racers to hone their skills while removing the sometimes unnecessary hype and materialistic accessories of racing expos in the lead up to races as opposed to conducting a race bib pick-up at your local independent running store.
Overall, I am comparing races that I will soon look to partake in as an elite with The Vancouver Sun Run and previous experiences racing this year in the Rock'N'Roll Vegas Half marathon and Harriers Pioneer 8k.
Races with the Pioneers 8k and the Sun Run both feature race directors that I personally know and who enjoy having a finger on the pulse of the Canadian running community. With fewer participants, racers can connect with each other and interact with race organizers for a more personalized experience. Additionally, smaller races can provide a less intimidating environment for beginner runners and allow elite racers to experiment with different strategies without the pressure of performing on a large stage. Ensuring every runner's needs are met and having such a rich history in their events they put on that the subtle modifications they implement to the course every few years and the familiar faces that trust the yearly race experience add to the resounding success they experience.
In contrast, American road races are often characterized by their larger and faster nature, attracting top talent from around the world with corporate funding and media attention. While these races can offer a level of prestige and excitement, managing the volume of participants can be a challenge for race directors, sometimes leading to elements of chaos during the event. While larger races in the US may offer a certain level of production value and prestige, they also face challenges in managing the high volume of participants. The frequency of these larger races in the US is also higher than in Canada, which tends to prioritize smaller, more intimate races.
When comparing attendance and growth, it's important to note that the 38th edition of the Vancouver Sun Run has maintained a relatively smaller, intimate feel with around 18,576 participants registered for the in-person 10k race, while another 2,938 participated virtually in the lead-up to the same Sunday event. By contrast, the Rock'N'Roll running series attracts much larger crowds with up to 30,000 participants. However, it is worth mentioning that the Vancouver Sun Run has a longer history, having been established in 1985, while the Rock'N'Roll running series was first held in 1998. Despite the differences, both events offer unique experiences for runners of all levels.
Ultimately, whether a runner prefers the larger and faster races in the US or the smaller and more intimate races in Canada will depend on their personal preferences and goals. But both countries offer unique racing experiences that are sure to challenge and inspire runners of all levels.
Let's Connect On Social!