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Written By Clare Wilkes - July 19 2019
We’re never ones to shy away from a unique and fun event that brings the running community together, so when Take the Bridge was (finally) confirmed to happen in Vancouver, you couldn’t sign us up to host quick enough.A stacked field of 40 men and 40 women showed up to race, knowing only that they would have to take on a bridge, and run anywhere up to 5km, passing through a couple of checkpoints along the way. Excitement and nerves grew as the course was revealed, strategies were discussed, and some scouting happened before the pack of runners and volunteers headed out to the start.
The rules are always the same: if you don’t run, you volunteer, and if you don’t volunteer, you cheer. A huge group of runners (plus a couple of intrigued bystanders) representing almost every crew in the city showed up in all capacities to support the event, bringing the noise and showing some love for those racing.
The men’s race went first, leaving a cloud of dust in their wake as they sped off under the Burrard Bridge towards the first checkpoint - a $100 cash prize the reward for being the first to get there. Once the climb up and over the iconic Burrard Bridge began, that’s when the race really started. There’s no set route for TTB, and all tactics were employed - jumping fences, scaling walls, bouncing off lampposts - to take a few metres off the route and improve their chances.
Was there ever any doubt that local elite Rob Watson would win it? Probably not, but the finish line crowd still went wild as he cruised into the finish in an eye wateringly fast time of 12:37, for just under 4km. A few minutes later, the cheers got even louder for local TTB veteran, Nikki Layson, who helped campaign for this event to come to Vancouver, as he closed out the men’s finish.
As the light dimmed, it was time for the women to toe the line, and the mix of local favourites and relative unknowns got the crowd pumped to cheer for a second time. Sam Porter hit CP1 in first place, scoring the PRIME cash, before the race really started to heat up en route to CP2.
Despite only getting off the waitlist the day before, then taking a huge spill right off the start line, Robyn Mildren kicked it across the finish line in 14:17, taking home the $400 winner’s cash prize. The women could only hear the finish in the dark, as the crowd and fellow racers helped them make that last surge across the line.
Those sweet victory beers were welcomed back at the shop, where race stories were shared, high-fives were plenty, and cash prizes were given out. Nothing beats that post-race high shared with friends, especially when it’s an event that so many in the run community have been hoping they could bring to Vancouver. A HUGE thank you to everyone who came out to run and volunteer, Darcy and the entire Take the Bridge team for bringing such an awesome event to our city, and lululemon for all the support and for feeding us at the after party. Who’s in for the next one?!
all photos by Marlon Soriano