I love running, and I love traveling. So it’s only natural that my wanderlust and wandering legs would combine forces and take me across country borders for my first international runcation, the Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon.
I’ve heard amazing things about the production of this Vancouver-based race and its enthusiastic crew of Lulu runners who flood online registration and scoop up every available entry within minutes.
However, I also know the race boasts a rather expensive $158 CAD race entry fee. So when a fellow runner tipped me off that Lululemon was giving away free race entries to people via Twitter, you bet I jumped online within seconds and was tweeting away my desire to get hooked up with a comped entry. Not only did I get one for myself, I got a free entry for Michel too!
The Lululemon Seawheeze is not only a half marathon, but also a yoga party, shopping extravaganza, and music festival all wrapped up into one femme-friendly package. The race occurs on Saturday morning, with the package pickup party and the opportunity to shop exclusive Lululemon designs going down the day before, on Friday. The yoga festival and concert happen Saturday evening, so the whole Seawheeze experience is a full two days of movement and fun.
I showed up to bib pickup Friday late afternoon, so I missed out on the shopping frenzy, but I was still able to pick up my race bag (which included a Lulu bag and water bottle) and enjoy some yoga, free samples, and sunshine before grabbing dinner and settling in for a good night’s rest the night before the race.
We woke up early Saturday morning, excited to start moving, but once Michel and I left the hotel we struggled to find an open coffee location near the start line. I *require* coffee pre-race, so we wandered around (kinda) frantically until we finally found a Starbucks that opened 30 minutes before the race started. Crisis averted!
We made it to the start line (albeit a bit late), and took off into the wonderfully fresh and crisp Vancouver morning with the 2:05 pacer (Seawheeze refers to each one as a “pace beaver”) and her posse of goal-driven runners, just a tiny chunk of the 10,000 runners that participate in this race.
Every few miles or so we passed a cheer station, mostly sponsored by local fitness studios, as well as musicians and entertainers lining the streets to motivate us forward. There was even a cheer station of police officers and firefighters who cheered us on with Super Soakers and Backstreet Boys hits.
Nearly all of the race is run along the water, and the whole thing was spectacularly beautiful. But the most amazing part of the race was the final few miles, ran along the famous Vancouver Seawall and through Stanley Park (one of the most gorgeous public parks I’ve ever seen). To say the views were majestic would be an understatement. Ocean to the left, thick, lovely trees to the right. It was perfection.
Michel and I sprinted to the finish line together, and a minute after we crossed we were rewarded with the most legit half marathon medal I’ve ever received, some water, and a cold towel (nice touch!). After a few post-race photos, we were also given a pair of Seawheeze sunglasses and a Vega bar on our way from the finish line to our next destination—free brunch hosted by Seawheeze.
For the number of people participating in this race, I couldn’t believe how well-organized the post-race flow was, as well as how quickly we made our way through the brunch queue. And best of all, seriously BEST OF ALL, I was so excited to reach the front of the brunch line and see that one of the four food tents was labeled allergy-friendly.
Post-race brunches are often bagels or pancakes, so being gluten-free, I usually just get half a banana, or I don’t even bother waiting in line for free food. However, I was so freaking excited to pick up a brunch box that was gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free—and no, it wasn’t just a piece of fruit and some lettuce. We’re talking gluten-free banana bread, people!
After enjoying some of the brunch, stretching out, and getting a few more photos, Michel and I headed back to the hotel to shower, change, and explore the beautiful city of Vancouver.
We returned to Stanley Park later that afternoon for the Sunset Festival, which included some outdoor yoga, food, drinks, games, and a concert featuring Young the Giant and Cold War Kids.
All in all, it was a perfect race and perfect day!
What I enjoyed about the Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon
- A well-produced race that felt organized and efficient
- The most beautiful course I’ve ever ran (truly!)
- Free Lululemon shorts with race entry
- A full weekend of pre- and post-race activities
- It’s not a local race for me, so I was able to enjoy a fun runcation.
- Free gluten-free brunch option
- Lots of free goodies in addition to the Lulu gear
Tips for Next Year
- Plan to be ready to buy tickets the minute they go on sale, or prepare to not get a guaranteed race entry.
- Follow Lululemon on Twitter. Maybe they’ll give out free race entries again next year?
- Save some money for this race. The entry fee is hefty, plus if you’re a Lulu fan you’ll want to shop the exclusive “runners only” shop. On top of that, if you’re coming from the states, remember to fold in travel costs.
- Take photos along the course. It’s a good one.
- Plan your morning coffee strategy ahead of time, or stay at a hotel that provides non-janky coffee at an early hour for guests.
Have you ever ran the Seawheeze Half Marathon, or do you have an interest in doing so?
Want to run your first half marathon? Here are my top 10 training tips!