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James Cunningham Seawall Race

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“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” -John Bingham

The Lions Gate Road Runners originated the James Cunningham Seawall Race in 1971, the year the last stone was laid on the Stanley Park Seawall, in honour of master stonemason James Cunningham who spent 32 years coordinating the construction of the seawall. The 9.5 kilometre (5.9 mile) race takes runners along the Stanley Park portion of the seawall on Vancouver’s impressive waterfront. Held annually at 10:00 AM on the last Sunday in October, this family event begins and ends at Second Beach. Participants are encouraged to wear costumes.

Prizes are awarded to the top three overall male and female finishers, and medals are given to the top three male and female finishers in several age groups, including 15 and under, 16 to 19, and then every 5 years to 75+. Prizes are also awarded to the top three teams in each division for male, female and mixed. Lions Gate Road Runners encourages young athletes to participate in sport by offering discounted registration fees and gift cards for junior categories.

View race photos here.

James Cunningham (1873-1963)

James “Jimmy” Cunningham was a Scottish immigrant who was passionate about the seawall. Jimmy was a master stonemason who dedicated 32 years of his life to the construction of the seawall from 1931 until his death in 1963. He continued supervising construction despite being ill and, on at least one occasion, went to check the seawall’s progress in his pajamas. Jimmy died in 1963 before the wall was finished, and remains the one person most associated with the project. To commemorate his contribution to the construction project, a plaque was placed in the cliff face opposite Siwash Rock.