After a long and hot summer’s worth of training, the start of the third phase of my fall 2012 marathon training began with a 1/2 marathon at Wasaga beach (Sun, Sept 9th,’12). This run was organized by MultiSport Canada, and is part of weekend long racing, including a triathalon the preceding Saturday, along with a 5K Sunday.
For me, the run served multiple purposes. First, and perhaps most important, it was to help gauge my level of health and fitness. I’m scheduled to run the Detroit full marathon this coming October, and as such, after twenty-two weeks of base and speed training, this race would provide me with a general indication of my running potential. Additionally, it would serve as the start of the third phase (the sharpening phase) of my training.
I was torn between running the Wasaga Half, and the Magnetawan Half, however, the Wasaga half appeared to suit my needs better. The course route was perfect. It was relatively flat, with a mixture of asphalt and well-packed trail surface. No need to worry about twisting an ankle. Not a hill in sight, similar to my race conditions come marathon day. Aid stations offering water and or a sport drink were well placed approximately every two miles. For the most part, the route was well defined with bright directional arrows and kilometre markers. Local O.P.P. officers ensured that any major intersections were safe for runners.
Race kit pick-up was well organized, and ensures a quick turnaround. Race timing was offered by sportstats.ca and reusable chips were distributed to runners. After crossing the finish line, runners were greeted by enthusiastic volunteers who quickly distributed finishing medals, collected timing chips, and directed participants to the post-race refreshment pavilion. All the usual suspects were offered, including: water, sport drinks, bagels, apples, and even reflective heat blankets. Overall winners and age-group winners were recognized post race, and awarded a well earned gold, silver or bronze medal.
With the specifics out of the way, I’d like to share a few personal observations and comments regarding this event. First and foremost, it is an extremely well organized event. The race course was generally well marked, lined with race marshal directing runners – not out of character for a MultiSport organized event. The race was well attended, with runners of all abilities and ages participating. It was nice to see such a wide range of talent at a small race. Additionally, there were generous amounts of space for runners along all the stages of the race. No elbows to contend with, and no ankle biters either! Speaking of space, there was ample car parking as well. Clean change rooms were offered, and there were many “johnny-on-the-spots” available too. Although I didn’t use the service, a bag check was made available. The cost of the race was typical of many competing 1/2 marathons, and justifiable. Between the awards, aid stations, timing, grab bag, technical shirt, refreshments and other costs associated with running a successful event, a competitor gets their monies worth. Running along the shores of Georgian Bay offers a nice change from the large urban settings too. Generally speaking Wasaga is about a 1.5 north of Toronto Moreover, for all sun worshipers, Wasaga offers some great beaches. It would have been nice to see a better turn out of T.R.F at this event as I didn’t see many T.R.F. jerseys out on the course. Perhaps next year, as the Wasaga 1/2 grows in popularity, our community of runners will make a better showing.
Overall, I’d recommend this race to both novice and experienced runners. The relatively flat, and smooth course offers the potential to P.B., simultaneously, providing the runner with a beautiful running environment. Weather is the only real concern; on-shore winds, rain, and high-low temperatures can make or break the experience, but this is the case with any event. Next year, give the Wasaga 1/2 a try. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!