59,179 people registered for this year’s run, shattering previous records
Allison Cross and Catherine Rolfsen, Vancouver Sun
Published: Sunday, April 20, 2008
VANCOUVER – A record number of athletes — upwards of 59,000 — braved chilly temperatures Sunday morning to run, walk or ride in the 24th annual Vancouver Sun Run.
Prior to the race, participants gathered on Georgia Street, clutching cups of coffee, rubbing their hands together and stretching to stay warm as the temperature hovered around 3 C, one of the chilliest temperatures in Sun Run history.
The fastest runner completed the 10 kilometres in 29 minutes and 26 seconds, but for most it was more about recreation than competition. Thousands of participants gather beneath the colourful balloon arches at the start of the 2008 Sun Run on Sunday. The event may have been one of the coldest in the run’s 24-year history, but that didn’t stop a record crowd of more than 59,000 from taking part.
Shortly after most had begun running, the wheelchair athletes were already cruising over the Cambie Bridge towards BC Place Stadium.
Scott Patterson of Vancouver was the first over the finish line, followed seconds later by Kelowna’s Paul Clark.
Minutes later, came the top male runners, then the elite women.
Those who’d been racing neck and neck took time to shake hands and congratulate each other. Then came all the rest, sweating and high-fiving and doubling over in droves.
After turning in their timing chips, thousands of runners stretched out on the grass or filed into BC Place to enjoy the live music, the mini-bagels and the awards ceremony. Kenya’s Festus Langat was the first to reach the end, with an official time of 29 minutes, 26 seconds, easily beating second-place finisher Philiph Keoch, also of Kenya, at 29:36. Third-place finisher, White Rock’s Ryan Hayden, claimed the spot of top Canadian male, with a time of 29:38.
Langat keeps alive the tradition of African winners of the Sun Run. In the last 10 years, Michael Power of Australia has been the only non-African champion, winning in 2005.
The first woman to cross the finish line was Genet Gebregiorgis of Ethiopia, with a time of 33 minutes, 35 seconds. Calgary’s Lisa Harvey was second, crossing the finish line at 33:58, and earning the title of top Canadian female. Kirsty Smith of Victoria, came in third place with a time of 34:12.