Canadian Running

Regular Runner

Raymond Cayas, Vancouver

- By Melissa Offner Melissa Offner is a television and podcast host, the leader of the North Vancouver run crew RUNDISTRIK­T and an avid runner.

You can’t miss Raymond Cayas. The Vancouver IT specialist’s long, f lowing black hair makes him instantly recognizab­le – at least, it used to. Recently, Cayas donated 30 inches to Wigs for Kids, and is now growing it back. Cayas is also well known for his fun-loving personalit­y and his love of running. When he’s not chasing new PBs at local races, you can find him performing pace-bunny duties.

But Cayas wasn’t interested in sports as a kid. “I mostly played video games and competed in chess – that’s how I got away from PE,” Cayas says. “Everyone I knew in school is so surprised by what I’ve been doing, because back then, I would do everything to get away from physical activity.” Cayas’s parents moved their family from the Philippine­s (where he was born) to Coquitlam, B.C., in 1999, hoping it would mean better opportunit­ies for their children. The first sport he got involved in was martial arts. “My sister sprained my hand practising what she had learned in class, so I did the logical thing and joined her class to get revenge,” he says. But Cayas lacked stamina

at tournament­s, so he started running the hills of Coquitlam. And then he just kept running.

After giving obstacle course races a shot, he signed up for his first road race in 2010, the Vancouver Sun Run. But it wasn’t until he moved to downtown Vancouver in 2018 that Cayas really started to take running seriously. Living close to False Creek gives him quick and easy access to the seawall and Kitsilano, where he loves to run. These days, Cayas runs five or six days a week, most of them with the city’s many run clubs. “I just joined all the run clubs when I moved downtown. I prefer to run with groups, as I get motivated that way. We all have the same goal: train for the next big race and talk about running. Plus, we usually end up in a pub afterward, and have a few drinks and food.”

His love of the sport has taken him around the world, most recently to Singapore, where he ran a marathon and a 10k during a single weekend. Cayas has run more than 70 races, but the one that stands out is his first marathon, the Marathon des Châteaux du Médoc, a costumed event in Bordeaux, France, in 2015. “I had no clue what I was doing, and treated it like I was running a 10k,” he says. “And there was wine – lots of wine. I was running solo, dressed in a full suit, in a country where I did not understand or speak the language. I was just eating and drinking my way to the finish line.”

For someone who has fallen in love with group runs, the past year has been difficult. Although Cayas kept busy with virtual races, he had to find peace with running alone. “What motivates me is that this will eventually come to an end, and I can’t wait to chase that PB once more!”

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 ??  ?? ABOVE Raymond Cayas at the 2019 North Van Run 10K
ABOVE Raymond Cayas at the 2019 North Van Run 10K

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