British Columbia

Coyote attacks lead to cancellation of Vancouver Triathlon's run through Stanley Park

Organizers of the Vancouver Triathlon have cancelled the run portion of the race that typically sees hundreds of participants weave through paths inside the park.

Organizers say they aren't taking any chances after nearly 40 attacks since December

Signs are posted near closed trails after a series of coyote attacks in Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Columbia on Wednesday, July 7, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

One of Vancouver's biggest race events of the summer has had to change plans because of the recent coyote attacks at Stanley Park.

Organizers of the Vancouver Triathlon have cancelled the run portion of the race that typically sees hundreds of participants weave through paths inside the park.

Since December, there have been close to 40 coyote attacks on people in the park, including one in July on a two-year-old girl who was injured.

A coyote seen near Lost Lagoon in April 2021 in Vancouver's Stanley Park. (Tingmiaq/Instagram)

The triathlon begins with a 1.5 kilometre ocean swim before participants take to land for the bike and run segments of the race. The bike segment begins at Second Beach before completing several laps around the outside of the park.

The 10-kilometre run portion, however, weaves through the inside of the park around Lost Lagoon and race organizers felt that was a safety concern.

"A number of the hotspots where the attacks have occurred, we did cross a number of those paths," said race director Trevor Soll."

Conservation officers have repeatedly asked people to stay out of the park or at least exercise extreme caution because of the risk of running into an aggressive coyote.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service says officers have spent hundreds of hours patrolling Stanley Park to keep the public safe.

Many of the coyote attacks have involved people walking alone or in small groups around dusk or dawn. 

Soll says a number of athletes who have already responded to the cancellation of the run are of the opinion that several hundred runners in the park during the daytime should scare the coyotes and make it very unlikely that anyone would be attacked.

But after consulting with Vancouver parks staff and wildlife experts, race organizers aren't taking any chances.

"Obviously, this is an anomaly in the coyote world. So, we don't want to fiddle with that at all," said Soll.

He says they are still working with the Vancouver Park Board to see if there are any alternative run routes that could be included to give athletes the full triathlon experience.

Otherwise, the race will only feature a bike and a swim segment which is referred to as an Aquabike event.


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