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Achilles St. Patrick’s Day 5km

Race: Achilles St. Patrick’s Day 5km

Date: Sunday March 18, 2007
Location: Kingston
Sport: Running
Sunday March 18th saw Kingston and the Tir Nan Og Irish Pub play host to the 5th annual (a day after) Achilles St. Patty’s Day run.  Despite windy, snowy and icy conditions, 87 runners took on the challenge. 
It is a yearly tradition for Chris and I to do a St. Patty’s Day run.  Usually we sign up for the one in Burlington, but this year, having moved east of Toronto, Kingston was the closest city offering an event, so we made the 90 minute drive down for the 10am start.  Snow and cold temperatures overnight left the course partially snow-covered with some slippery sections. The course (new this year I believe) started with a downhill that ended with a sharp right-hand turn to follow a concrete walkway around a hotel before exiting on a small cobblestone uphill leading to the main road.   The course then headed out along a road and came back along a waterfront trail before finishing with the same loop around the hotel.  While the course was quite flat, runners were slowed by strong winds, and snowy/icy conditions which made the trail and many corners on the course a challenge to navigate safely.  The race organizers did their best to clear snow on certain sections of the course, and volunteer marshals along the route warned runners about upcoming hazardous sections. 

As my first running race of the year (albeit a “training” race) it felt good to stretch my legs and assess my current fitness level.  I like to start slower and negative split in my races and the km splits on my watch confirmed afterwards that my intent was carried out.  I felt quite strong throughout the race and had no aches/pains or stomach cramps to contend with.  While I failed to reel in the top two ladies just ahead of me, I was very, very happy, with what was a good, solid, first effort, and I was delighted with my time on the twisty course in less than optimal weather conditions (19:08).
The post-race celebration took place at the Tir Nan Og Irish Pub, located just across the street from the start/finish area, and still recovering from the local St. Patty’s Day celebrations the night before!  While no green beer was served, runners enjoyed a variety of drinks and snacks including bagels, bananas, apples, yogurt, cookies, chocolates and cupcakes. 
Cash prizes were awarded to the top 3 Male and Female runners as well as the top Masters runners, while top Age-Groupers were recognized with medals.  However I was most impressed with the number and caliber of the draw prizes, which included several pairs of free running shoes and $50 gift certificates to the Running Room among other things. 
All in all it was a well-organized and fun event that I will definitely try to do again next year.    

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