RUNVAN Ambassador Shannon

Meet Shannon, a recent Boston Qualifier who runs for moments and memories

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.

Shannon starting running 12 years ago, first doing the 2002 Vancouver Marathon. She has run about 15 marathons since then, each year enjoying the Vancouver marathon. She finally qualified for Boston in the BMO 2013 marathon, after 12 years of trying so will be missing BMO 2014 marathon for only the 2nd time ever. Watch for her at the foot of the Burrard Bridge holding crazy/funny/inspiring signs and wishing she was out there, too!

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

Shannon M: My first Vancouver Marathon was in 2002.  I set a fitness goal to run a half marathon within the year after my daughter was born. After doing a half marathon in February (and the effort not killing me), I kept right on training until the marathon in May.

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

SM: I live in Kitsilano, so the south end of the Burrard Street Bridge is always my favourite point and is full of great memories. That’s where my husband would always bring my daughter to cheer me on and, since there are lots of coffee shops in that area, friends can always be found with a latte in one hand and a cowbell or motivational sign in the other.

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. 

SM: My favourite Vancouver run has got to be a summer evening run along Jericho Beach heading west toward Spanish Banks.  It’s a delight for all senses:  the golden light of a late summer sunset, the smells of suntan lotion coming from the beach volley ball players and yummy BBQ smells from family picnics, the squeals of children in the water, and a not-too-hot breeze on the skin—there is nothing better. This is an out-and-back run, where on the way out you see the sunset and on the way back the Vancouver skyline, its reflection glowing in the water.

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.    

SM: I don’t have a specific pre-race routine, but I have learned over the years that it’s best to lay out clothes and pack your gear bag the night before. There will always be last-minute screw-ups but the key is to minimize them. Don’t rely on anyone other than yourself (“What?  I thought YOU were bringing the gels?”). The marathon is all about achieving something monumental on your own.  Get to the start line the same way.

RV: Pay it forward: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received from a parent, coach, or mentor about running? OR got your own advice? Share it here, too.  

After years of chronic “watch watching” and agonizing over numbers, laps, heart rates, and paces not achieved, I’ve learned to let the metrics go and not judge a run by the numbers. A successful run for me is one during which I spot the first daffodil of spring, smell a wood fire in the fall air, witness a first kiss on the seawall, or watch another runner smile at me and laugh as we pass in opposite directions for the second time around False Creek on a blustery day. It’s the journey friends, not the destination, nor what your watch says when you get there.  

Updated MJ. 03/14/14.