More than 23,000 people participated in Sunday's Sun Run in Vancouver, the first in-person version of the 10-kilometre road race since 2019.
"It's good to see all these people turn out, I was running during the pandemic, but it was an alone thing," said runner Brian Wu from the finish line. "It's nice to see everyone."
The race, which also features a 2.5-kilometre mini run, began in 1985 with 3,200 runners. It has grown to become largest running race, by participation, in Canada.
In 2019, 43,000 people participated, while registration peaked at 59,000 in 2008.
The race was cancelled outright in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021 organizers held the event virtually with participants running the distance mostly on their own over a set period of time.
On Sunday though, many runners said they were happy to be back together on Georgia Street for a mass start of the race which begins in the city's West End, crosses the Burrard Street Bridge, turns east along Sixth Avenue before circling Science World and ending at B.C. Place.
"It felt amazing, it was such a nice crowd," said runner Megan Coyle from the finish line, wearing one of the green race shirts given to each entrant.
Runner Will Green agreed that having the mass of runners back in person was a big boost.
"Having all these people around, the energy, feels like we are moving more to the way that things should be," he said.
Organizers said last fall that they were able to host an in-person race in 2022 due to the province lifting pandemic restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings and events.