Meet Kevin, charity runner and mountain enthusiast
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.
Kevin Steinberg moved to Canada from South Africa in 1990. In addition to being a long distance runner, Kevin has also completed long distance swims and IronMan competitions. He met his wife, Jacqui, at a fun run and later convinced her to run her first marathon, the BMO Vancouver Marathon. They have run many marathons together, including the Boston and New York marathons.
In 2012 Kevin created a fundraising campaign in memory of a good friend who passed away due to cancer. Kevin ran 12 marathons in 2012: from Honolulu to Vancouver to Boston, Kevin collected donations for the Canadian Cancer Society and dedicated each race to a loved one or friend.
Kevin currently lives in Vancouver with Jacqui and their two daughters. When he’s not out with his running partner, Monty, the golden retriever, Kevin works as a CFO of a company in the property industry.
RUNVAN: Take us back to the first time you ran in the Vancouver Marathon or Half Marathon. What was it like?
Kevin: The first time I ran the Marathon was in 2006. It was a cold and wet day, akin to a day in January. It was a challenging race, and when I reached the 25 km mark, near Second Beach, I recall my calves saying, “Hello, Kevin!” Needless to say, I reset my finish time goals. The course [in 2006] was different than today’s spectacular course. [The former course] had an out and back section that headed towards UBC and made a variety of loops around Vancouver.
Since 2006, much has changed. The new route shows why Vancouver is one of the best places to run in the world, and an energized marathon-organizing group [the Vancouver International Marathon Society] takes the care and concern to deliver an excellent race experience.
RV: Name a few of your favorite points along our new course. Why do they stand out for you?
K: Housed in the centre of Vancouver, the Start Line has a park setting [Queen Elizabeth Park] where runners of all abilities gather, each one with a story to tell about how they got there.
The Burrard Bridge provides an excellent view of Granville Island on one side and, on the other, the coastal Stanley Park Sea Wall, which takes you close to the 20-mile mark—often termed the “halfway mark” in a marathon—and to the Finish Line.
On Georgia Street the crowds start to get thick; thousands of people cheer you along your way and you can sense the Finish Line around the corner.
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?
K: I love to run in nature, be it near the sea or in the mountains. Running up Lion’s Head, a mountain in Cape Town, South Africa, provides a challenging trail that delivers extraordinary views of the bay and city below.
Locally, there is nothing better than to run in the North Shore Mountains. Nature abounds, with an abundance of trails of all challenges and distances.
RV: Can you tell us about your pre-race routine?
K: I try to keep it simple: the night before, I eat a complex carbohydrate like rice or quinoa with a little protein. Breakfast on race day is a cup of oats with black tea. I always have my race clothes with race bag ready the night before.
My training regime includes strength training, and pull-ups are a part of that. As you know, the marathon distance is 26.2 miles. Well, I have a superstition that if I cannot do 27 pull-ups, then I will not complete the marathon. What’s more, I don’t allow myself to rest from pull-ups 20 through 27!
At the Start Line, I always have a bottle of water and a gel with me in the Corral; five minutes before the start, I ingest the gel and gulp down some water.
RV: Pay it forward: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received from a parent, coach, or mentor about running?
K: I come from a family of ultra-endurance runners. My dad’s advice related to how to run during long training runs. [He warned] to never be concerned about the time it takes to finish the long run. In fact, the longer the better: it is important, he said, to spend time on your feet so you get used to running for a long time on race day.
Photo credit: North Shore News / Mike Wakefield Photo