Destination Running

Merville 15k race off to a roaring start with runners of all ages! Photo by M. Hawkes.

Merville 15k race off to a roaring start with runners of all ages! Photo by M. Hawkes.

Some people zip off to Maui or to New York, Berlin, Cape Town, Paris or any number of exotic locations for a marathon or a half. Or they partake in the famous Rock and Roll Marathon series held all over the US and now in several European and Canadian locations too . Or just for the fun of it, they go for weird sounding event names, such as the SeaWheeze, the Kusam Klimb, the Nakukymppi or the Tough Mudder.

Well, I zipped off to an exotic location yesterday! Who says you have to fly for 10 hours to get there? Although it was just a 15k race and not a marathon or even a half, it was, for me, a destination running event. It was held in Merville. Where? And Why? The race is part of the Vancouver Island Running Series, held each Winter/Spring in various Vancouver Island locations. Merville is located just north of Courtenay/Comox and just south of Campbell River. Still not helping? Well it has a General Store, with a gas station and a Community Hall. Geez how much more do you need to know? Um, it is near Miracle Beach… Oh just look it up on Google Maps.

Anyway, it was a lovely day and I’d never run a 15k race before. The furthest I’d raced previously was 12k and that was just a few weeks ago in Cedar. Where? Just south of Nanaimo and just north of Ladysmith. Yet another destination running location! Prior to that the race series was in Cobble Hill for a 10k race. These are all wonderful little communities on Vancouver Island and the races are hosted by the local running club with assistance provided by stacks of volunteers. The after-race food is wonderful and just what a runner needs following a gruelling race and there are ribbons and medals for up to 10 in each age division. Plus as an added bonus, friendships are easily forged as you tend to see the same familiar faces at each race. I’ve made friends with runners from Parksville, Salt Spring Island and Sooke. Where? Look ’em up… All oh so exotic and wonderful destinations! It is just a matter of perspective.

If you really do want to get on a plane or a train or a cruise ship to far flung locations, here’s a convenient list of “Top 10 Destination Races” from Women’s Running Magazine. Surprisingly, none of the races or locations I mentioned above on Vancouver Island are part of the list. If only the rest of the world knew about these epic races, they would be lining up at the door to run them! Time to get the word out!


I am a runner.

Posted in Running, Touring

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