First Half Marathon – Pacific Road Runners

Vancouver’s only marathon started in 1972 when Tom Howard of Surrey, BC, led a handful of marathon runners around five loops of Stanley Park to complete the first ‘British Columbia Marathon’. 1977 reflected growth with participants in the marathon tripling to 300. This race satisfied the hard-core runners.

Then in 1998, the Vancouver International Marathon Society approached a young upstart group called Pacific Road Runners with the idea of having them host a Half Marathon as a build-up event to the Marathon in May. With little hesitation, the club agreed to host the ‘First Half‘ in February.

Pacific Road Runners focused on supporting Vancouver’s only marathon by providing the running community a competitive opportunity to train for the Marathon in May, raise funds for local charities, attract new runners to the scene, and to create an event people would remember.

These and other objectives served as guiding principles for race organizers of the ‘First Half’, and the continuous growth in the popularity and reputation of the event is testament to the club’s success. The list of event winners and participants includes many Olympians and brings out some of BC’s best athletes.

Runners still use the ‘First Half’ today as a perfect part of their training for the BMO Vancouver Marathon and Half Marathon in May. These local events have staked out a prominent place in Vancouver’s sporting life culture, and the Vancouver International Marathon Society is proud to support the continued success of the ‘First Half’ as a popular local running event, and great complimentary race to the BMO Vancouver Marathon!

Learn more about the ‘First Half’ at pacificroadrunners.ca/firsthalf/race-info/our-history/.


Like our RUNVAN® Club, the Pacific Road Runners is also a recreational running club, with members interested in leading fit and active lifestyles combined with social events. They meet 5:55pm on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, year round, at the False Creek Community Centre on Granville Island.


Join in, and RUNVAN® at these great local events!

‘First Half’ (February)
Vancouver’s only Marathon, Half Marathon, more (May)


Legacy since 1972