The Pacific Distance Carnival: beer, fire and track and field
On June 13, come one, come all to Swangard Stadium for the track and field event of the summer
The Pacific Distance Carnival is hoping to invigorate track and field running in Canada. BC Athletics has partnered with Mile2Marathon to take the Canadian 10,000m championships and make them a major running event. The event is bringing together a high school race, a community race and a Canadian championship and making it one. This is as close as track and field gets to fun for the whole family.
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While the Canadian championship is the headliner for the evening, the Chase the Pace 5,000m and invitational 1,500m aren’t to be forgotten. Chase the Pace invites non-elite runners to hop on the track and try their hand at a 5K. This race encourages the road runner to step onto the track for the first time or return to their childhood track and field roots (because everyone did track in grade seven).
Chris Winter is an event coordinator and former Olympian. He says, “This started 10 months ago when Richard Lee, coaching of the BC Endurance Project, came to us and discussed the new IAAF world rankings system and the impact that that was going to have on Canadian’s ability to qualify for the World Championships and Olympics. The 10,000m has lost interest in Canada in general and we’re interested in changing that. What we really like about the Mile2Marathon partnership is that they’re good at engaging with non-elite athletes.” Lee proposed the now called Pacific Distance Carnival as way to run the Canadian Championships and draw a big crowd to spectate.
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The Canadian 10,000m championships were formerly held during the Speed River Inferno in Guelph. Winter said that the championships were due for a change. “Weather in Guelph is always questionable in early June, but the weather on the west coast at that time is typically better.”
The event is begins with the 1,500m and is followed by the 5,000m Chase the Pace event. The hope is that high school and national class runners will entre in the 1,500m and non-elites will run the Chase the Pace event. The 10,000m will finish the evening so that those who ran earlier can stick around and see some world-class track and field.
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During the 10,000m there will be Japanese drummers playing, spectators coming down to the track to watch from lane five, a DJ and a beer garden. Oh, there will also be sparks as athletes enter the stadium. When asked if there will be walk out dances, Winter replied that it’s not required but he’s also not opposed. “Stanley Park Brewing is our main sponsor. We’re allowing people on the track to watch the main event because if you really want to watch a race you, don’t do it from the stands, you come down to the track level and feel the energy.” The event is also offering prize money: $500 for the win, but that’s doubled if athletes go under 28:00 for the men’s and 32:00 for the women’s races. The registration link and additional information can be found on the event website.