Robbie Burnes 8K run/walk
Burlington, Ontario Sunday January 27, 2013
My first race report of the 2013 season is early. Typically, I don’t enter any formal events until February’s Chilly ½ marathon, but this year I was given the heads up regarding the Burlington Runner’s Club annual Robbie Burns 8K run and walk.
In the fall of 2012, I was ‘hanging around’ our Running Free. I usually catch up with our Team manager, and anyone else who cares to join in on our conversations. Well on this particular day, one of our local runners just happened to stop in to pick up a shoe order. He’s well received in our running community. I for one, appreciate the experience and wisdom he brings to conversations – he willingly gives advice when asked, never solicits it, and an individual can chose to listen or ignore it. Although he’s now a master’s class runner, his past and current results are inspiring to say the least. I’d be foolish not to ‘pick his brain’, and on this day I did. (Thanks John!) To cut an over-hour long conversation short, one thing suggested to me was to try the Robbie Burns 8K.
The race is well organized. Informative emails keep registrants up-to-date with pertinent race info. At a cost of about $38.00 this race won’t blow your season’s race budget, but more importantly, a runner get’s their monies worth.
As with any event held during the peak winter months, the weather will make or break the experience. Sunday’s race would be no exception. The preceding week’s weather was a mess. Extreme cold temps, snow covered roads, and high winds made it difficult to run consistently throughout the week, however, come the weekend, the weather improved dramatically. Sunday’s temps were mild. One could even argue that it was warm. The race course was 99% dry, and there was little wind to impede a runner’s progress. A good thing, as part of the race course traverses along the Lakeshore. To start, runner’s gather inside Burlington Central School. There’s a good deal of space for everyone. Plenty of change rooms, and moreover, free hot beverages are provided to participants. By 9:00am race organizers marshal runners out to the start line.
The race commenced at 9:30. There were no delays. I wasn’t looking forward to the start, as in my experience, most races in and around the GTA are well attended, and to the detriment of the event itself, the congestion makes for an unpleasant experience. This race was no exception. The starting line was jammed. No starting corrals, lots of innocent pushing and shoving. I started the race with a few friends. We ended up more than half way behind the front-line starters.
The starter’s pistol sends runners on their way, and I for one, was pleasantly surprised with the course. It is FAST! The road surface was dry, but equally important; the paved surface is relatively smooth – something the ankles will cherish. “K” markers appeared to be in the right spots (I was wearing my Garmin), and they were visible. Race volunteers and local police officers did a fantastic job of controlling both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. I was enjoying the race. I, unfortunately didn’t have the opportunity to scrutinize the race course map before running – something that I always try to do, and as a result, by the 5K marker I wasn’t sure how much running ‘juice’ I needed to save to for the remaining 3K. The first 5K took a runner downhill towards the Lakeshore, so I anticipated that there would be an uphill portion to get runners back to the finish line. Feeling great, I carried on. My start was about fifteen seconds after the first runners crossed the timing mats – not a good thing as race results were based on “gun time” not “chip time”. Regardless I was in my zone, and pushed hard towards the finish line. I was pleasantly surprised as the anticipated uphill portion of the course never materialized. Crossing the line was a rewarding experience. Runners were encouraged to head back into the high school to review race standings, moreover, there were plenty of post-race foods available – all the usual suspects (banana’s, bagels, water) but adding to the Scottish charm, warm oatmeal was offered.
I would recommend the race to both experienced and novice runners. For all the aforementioned reasons, it’s a great way to start a new running season.