More than just long-term runners of the BMO Vancouver Marathon, RUNVAN Community Ambassadors are leaders in Vancouver who embody the Vancouver International Marathon Society’s mission, vision, and values. Elite and recreational runners, business leaders, or local heroes, these superstars find joy in motivating and inspiring others through running. They’re also comfortable with public speaking and tend to be regulars at our running events throughout the year. [hr]

World-traveler Craig McMillan always packs his running shoes

McMillan, Craig


Craig grew up in South Africa and subsequently lived in the UK and Australia before arriving in Vancouver in 2006 on a transfer within PwC, an international accounting firm.  Craig has always loved running; he’s finished 26 marathons, a few ultras, and 5 Ironman triathlons. His current marathon PB is 2:33:05 (Chicago 2009) and he admits that he’s still searching for ways to get under 2:30 before he gets “too old”.

RUNVAN: Take us back to the first time you ran in the Vancouver Marathon or Half Marathon. What was it like? How long ago was it? What do you think has changed since then?

Craig McMillan: I arrived in Vancouver from London in April, 2006, and I ran the Marathon for the first time that year.  I seem to recall it was pouring with rain (not surprising for Vancouver!) and I found myself in the leading group for the first 1km.  The top guys [behind me] soon realized they had started way too slowly and sped up to take the lead, but I still managed to get a top 10 finish so I was pretty happy.   Since then, I think the profile of the event has increased dramatically with several new enhancements.

RV:Name a few of your favourite points along our new course. Why do they stand out for you?

CM: I like running down the hill at UBC and along Spanish Banks and Kits Beach; the scenery here is beautiful, with the city in the background, and it’s still early enough in the race to enjoy the view. Also: running through Kitsilano (my neighbourhood) always has a good vibe – I just need to try to avoid the temptation to stop as I go past my house!

RV: Of all the places you’ve traveled to, whether it be for competition or for pleasure, which was your favorite spot to run in and why? OR tell us about your favourite local running route or trail.

CM: I love running the big urban center marathons, like London, Berlin, NY, Chicago and Boston, each of which I’ve completed.  The way in which the whole city gets involved in the event creates an enormous buzz. Also, at these races you find yourself surrounded by extremely talented runners, which is fantastic for pacing.

RV: What is your pre-race routine? Runners would love to hear about your favourite meal to have the night before a race, your superstitious habits, or even your warm-up routine.

CM: I just try to keep things simple: I get a good night sleep, start well fuelled and hydrated, and try to minimize my warm up so as not to waste valuable energy.

RV: Pay it forward: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received from a parent, coach, or mentor about running?

CM: I recently read a book called The Lore of Running by Tim Noakes, a well-recognized researcher of sports physiology.  This book enabled me to have a better understanding of how our bodies function with a focus on training, racing, and nutrition.  This knowledge has enabled me to improve my training techniques and better understand the wide variety of factors which impact performance.


Updated. MJ. 02/20/2014