Meet Pat Cheung, BMO Vancouver Marathon runner and volunteer

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.

This year will be Pat Cheung’s sixth year as both a volunteer and runner in the BMO Vancouver Marathon. Pat started running in 2006 after a medical condition forced him to commit to short, weekly runs around Langara Golf Course and, in no time, he’d caught the running bug. Cheung, PatNow an avid runner and regular participant in races throughout the Lower Mainland, Pat credits his success to his own fierce perseverance plus the support and motivation he’s received from the great people he’s met over the years. Pat’s motto is ‘Run for Life, Run for Fun’. He competes only against himself. “There’s no event to win or finish line to cross,” Pat says, “but there is a series of small, satisfying goals: the next hill, the next curve.”

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?

Pat Cheung: I ran my first BMO Vancouver Marathon in 2007 (with a time of 4:33:01).   There were about 3000 finishers and it was a tough course on a cold, wet, and rainy Sunday.  Now, there are a lot more participants each year and a new scenic course, which makes our event one of the world’s top 10 marathons today.

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

PC: From the Start Line in Queen Elizabeth Park to UBC, Spanish Banks, and Stanley Park, to the Finish Line in the heart of downtown Vancouver, this is the only road race where you see mountains, water, and trees the whole way.  Awesome!

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 outside of Vancouver and why?

PC: My number one favorite goes to the New York City Marathon, which I ran in 2011.  There was no ‘wall’ to hit because there’re over 2 million spectators to cheer you and keep you going from start to finish.

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

PC: You need to maintain extra hydration and rest during the week of the race.  I carbo-load on Thursday and not the night before the race.  I find that a 3-5 km slow jog the morning before the race helps loosen any pre-race jitters.

RV: Pay it forward: What’s the best advice you can share about running?

PC: Be aware of your surroundings at all times, and keep an eye and ear out for other people.  With all the excitement and adrenaline going on Race Day it’s hard to start slow, but try to maintain a steady pace because, in my experience, the race starts at mile 20 [or 32 km]!  Also: enjoy the challenge and have fun because you are already a winner once you take that first step at the Start Line.