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Thanksgiving Weekend Victoria Marathon

The Victoria Marathon

The Victoria Marathon is a major running race on Thanksgiving Sunday in October each year. The event includes a marathon, half marathon, 8K and 1.2K kids’ race.


This article contains the following information about the Victoria Marathon:

Victoria Marathon Dates | Running Routes | Tips and Advice | Other Information


Victoria Marathon

The Victoria Marathon is Vancouver Island’s only Boston Marathon-qualifying running race and the annual event is now over 40 years old, beginning in 1980.

Formerly known as the Royal Victoria Marathon and now called the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon, the event attracts over 10,000 runners between its various races. This includes nearly 2,000 for the full marathon. Organizers plan to cap the number of races for this year’s event, so register early if you want to be sure you have a spot at the starting line.


Victoria Marathon Dates

The Victoria marathon, half marathon and 8K runs take place on Thanksgiving Sunday, so in 2024 it’s on October 13th.  The 8K run starts at 7:15 am. The main marathon and half marathon begin at around 8:00 am. The 5K and Thrifty Foods Kids Run happen the day before, so on Saturday, October 12th. On this day, the 5K starts at 9:00 am and the Thrifty Foods Kids Run sets off at 10:15 am.


Marathon Runners by Empress Hotel


Victoria Marathon Running Routes

Because the event takes place on Saturday and Sunday of the Thanksgiving long weekend, the races are staggered. On Saturday, October 12th, the 5K and the Thrifty Foods Kids Run begin and end at Willows Beach Park in Oak Bay. The marathon, half marathon and 8K races, meanwhile, happen on Sunday, October 13th. Their starting line is on Menzies Street at the corner with Kingston on the west side of the legislative buildings. The 8K race begins a little further down at Government and Humbolt near the Tourist Information Centre.


Full Marathon Route

The first section of the full marathon begins on Menzies Street. From there it goes around the back of the Parliament buildings, along Government Street past the Empress Hotel, on Wharf Street along the waterfront, up Johnson Street and then down Cook Street towards Beacon Hill Park. Full marathoners then run through the park and east along Dallas Road towards Oak Bay. They run along the waterfront until Gonzales Bay before heading north on a number of smaller roads including Richardson. Up until this point the full marathon and half marathon routes are the same.

Whereas the half marathoners turn back in the direction they came from after running along Richardson for a short ways, marathon runners continue on through Oak Bay along McNeil, then Hampshire and a couple of other smaller residential streets before turning east along Oak Bay Avenue. At Monterrey and then Oliver they then head south back to the waterfront before continuing east along Beach Avenue, through the Victoria Golf Course, and all the way up to Uplands.


Half Marathon Route

The half marathon route is the same as the full marathon from the Inner Harbour, through Beacon Hill Park and on to Oak Bay. At Richardson, however, runners do a loop and retrace their steps back to Beacon Hill Park. Instead of going back into the park or north up Cook Street, however, they continue along Dallas Road, past Ogden Point and around the waterfront of James Bay back to the Inner Harbour and finish line on Belleville Avenue.


Victoria 8K Run
Victoria 8K Runners and Parliament Buildings


8K Turkey Trot Running Route

The 8K race follows the same route as the first section of the full marathon from the Parliament buildings to Beacon Hill Park. At the park instead of running through and then heading east, 8K competitors run along the eastern edge of Beacon Hill Park and then turn west on Dallas Road. From there, the same as the last section of the half marathon route, they run along the waterfront in James Bay all the way back to the Inner Harbour and the finish line on Belleville in front of the Parliament buildings.


Thrifty Foods Kids Race Running Route

The kids’ run on Saturday, October 12th begins on Government Street, turns right on Superior, another right on Menzies and when they hit Belleville they turn around and go back the same way they came. For this reason, participants are asked to stay to the right of the course so there aren’t any collisions. Kids 12 years and younger are invited to participate and parents can join their children for no extra cost.


Victoria Marathon Runners on Wharf Street
Runners and Walkers in Downtown Victoria


Tips & Advice

Here are some tips and extra information to help you navigate this event.

TIP #1: Make sure you hang out after your race for snacks and music.

TIP #2: Wear the shirt you get from registering for the race! Most other people there will be wearing theirs too and it looks pretty cool with everyone matching.

TIP #3: If you’re going to be driving near any of the race routes be aware of runners and be very patient as many roads will likely be temporarily closed.


Other Information

For more information on this event, click Royal Victoria Marathon.

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