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Wolfe Island 10km Road Race

Date: July 1st, 2007
Description: 5km & 10km Road Race; 1km kids fun run
Location: Wolfe Island
Race Name: Wolfe Island Classic 5km/10km
Sport: Running, road
Race web site:

For my husband Chris and I, Canada Day just wouldn’t be right without a running race in the schedule!  So, one day after competing in the Sprint Triathlon Nationals in Brampton (see race report) I found myself warming up for the Wolfe Island Classic 10km road race. 

Chris and I discovered this race last year and had a lot of fun at it.  We were looking to explore this new (to us!) part of Ontario that we had recently moved to, and this race sounded interesting as it is located on an island and offers a free ferry ride, a country atmosphere with the run along the shoreline, a free breakfast, post-race food & prizes, and the opportunity for a swim in the lake!  In his pre-race talk last year, the race director freaked us both out with his warnings of extreme heat and humidity, winds, and tough hills along the course.  I headed out onto the 10km course while Chris took on the 5km and we found the heat and the wind to be true, but the enormity of the hills somewhat exaggerated.  

We were up bright and early eating breakfast at 4:30am in order to leave by 5am and make it to Kingston in time for the 7:15am ferry.  Although the race start was not until 9:30am, the next available shuttle departure time of 8:30am combined with the 20mins or so it takes to cross would have brought us to the island with not quite enough time to pick up our race kit and get in an adequate warm up.  So we opted for the earlier ferry knowing we would have quite a bit of waiting around to do upon arrival!  Sure enough, by about 7:45am we had picked up our kits (kind of disappointing with the exact same “wife-beater” type tanks as last year), visited the facilities, and were looking for a place to relax.  As was the case last year, despite the sunshine, a strong breeze off the water made it quite chilly prior to the race start.  I was glad to be wearing tights, a long-sleeve, and a fleece.  Chris and I opted to skip the free breakfast, finding it to be a little too close to race time for any serious eating to occur! 

We started our warm up with about 45mins to race start (still dressed in tights, long-sleeves & vests!) which for me consisted of the usual 20min jog followed by 10mins of drills and accelerations interspersed with several bathroom breaks!  I was definately NOT feeling very peppy…there didn’t seem to be much life in the old legs after yesterdays effort.  They were tight, a bit sore, and definately not liking the fact that I was asking more of them so soon!  Luckily the warm up & drills loosened them up quite a bit so that my accelerations with about 5mins to go didn’t feel TOO painful!  I felt I would be able to put in a good, solid effort, although a PB was probably out of the picture.

The Course 

As mentioned, the course follows a rolling country road along the shoreline.  After a “downtown” start, both distances head out together for the first km’s of the race, passing the finish line which is located 1km up the road before the 5km turnaround at 3km, leaving the 10km runners to continue along before their own turnaround at 5.5km.  There is no shade along the course, but this did not prove to be a problem this year with perfect, cool temperatures at race time.  Several families set up camp on their driveways to watch the race, and one kind family had a garden hose hooked up to form a bit of a shower for competitors to cool off under if desired….much appreciated I’m sure in previous years, but likely not as popular this year with the cooler temps.  There were two water stations located on the out-and-back route for a total of 4 drinking opportunities. 

The Race: 10km

Both Chris and I opted to do the 10km this year.  I ran a 41:08 last year as the 2nd female overall and even with my dead legs, was hoping to improve on that this year.  Chip timing was provided this year by with the chip attached to the back of the race number instead of around the ankle.  It was gun-time only however, as the only timing mats were located at the finish line. 

I started out strong, but in control…my theme for the race (since it was all my legs would allow!)  With a smaller turn-out than last year, where I spent the second half of the race catching all the women but one ahead of me, this year I immediately found myself amongst the front runners, no girls in sight.  I ran about the first 3km of the race with two men in the 40-49 year old category.  Eventually one of them would pull ahead quite a bit while the other would stay about 10-15m ahead until the last km of the race.  With no one to catch, I simply focused on keeping my turnover high and achieving a negative split.  I passed through the 5km mark in 18:59, feeling strong.  I tried to push it a little more for the 2nd half of the race, attempting to reel in some of the men I could see in the distance.  While I definately made time on most of them, I only caught the one who had been 10-15m ahead the entire race.  At 9km I checked my watch quickly and knew if I kept up the pace I would finish in a good time.  Luckily the last km is downhill/flat and I was able to finish strong in a time of 37:47.  I achieved my goal of a negative split, finishing the 2nd 5km of the race in 18:48. Nice!     

Overall, I was very happy with my race.  I felt strong and despite a hard effort the day before was able to smash my time from last year by over 3mins!  Wow!  Unfortunately, my husband Chris did not share in my good fortune, and had a very tough day, struggling to simply finish the event.

Post-Race Festivities   

The finish area at the Wolfe Island Classic is located on the front lawn of the property of a family who breed Golden Retrievers.  Many race participants enjoy watching the dogs in their outdoor kennels after the race.  Across the road is access to the cool waters of Lake Ontario for those wishing to go for a dip!  Post-race food included water, bagals, bananas, yogurt, and watermelon.  Prizes were given to the top three overall male and female finishers in both events with medals for top age-groupers.  LOTS of draw prizes to be had for all as well.  While we stayed for all the festivities last year, including a swim and a much-deserved ice cream from the local variety store, with Chris feeling under the weather this year we opted to leave early in order to catch the 11:00 ferry back to Kingston. 

I would definately recommond this race, not only is it a gret event, but you could even bring or rent a bicycle and explore the island further after the race and make it a day trip!

Thanks for reading!

Melissa Anthony 

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