This report is a little late coming, but as they say, better late than never!
Having been a RD for a smaller 10k/5k race (although 900 runners isn’t exactly small) I have gained an appreciation for the grass roots, community races. I try to support as many of these smaller races as I can, and to be honest, I much prefer the race experience that one of these races delivers vs. a big city race.
The Barrie Spring Thaw 10k took place on Saturday, April 20 at Centennial Park in Barrie – this is the same location as the Barrie sprint tri, which is also an awesome race. I hadn’t really done any speed work at all and was just building mileage, but thought I would give this race a go anyways. I woke up on race morning to super cold temperatures, wind and heavy flurries…oh boy! I got to Centennial park, checked in and then did a quick 15 minute warm-up…which mostly consisted of sitting in the car with the heat cranked…warming up.
There were only about 40 people in the 10k – I’m thinking the weather may have had something to do with that – so there were no issues with log jams at the start line. My plan was to go out strong, but at a pace I knew I could sustain for the whole 10k. I went to the lead right away and built a 100-200m lead by the first km (which I ran in 3:55). For you good runners…I know that’s super slow, but for me that was quick! I have never been in the lead of a race, so that was really fun! The first couple km of the course runs on a combination of paved path and boardwalk right along the lake. On any other day, that would have been great, but today there was a mega-strong wind coming off the water that really made it quite chilly. After about 2k, the course takes an out-and-back section of about 3 or 4k along a nice, flat gravel trail along the lake. By the time I hit the turn-around and started back, I had built a lead of a couple minutes. I passed my fiancé on the way back as she was heading out and she yelled, “You’re leading!” To which I responded, “I know…what’s going on?!?”
After the out and back section, you retrace the course back to the start line, but run by it and out the other direction to complete a loop of a couple km. It’s a little tough to see the finish line, and then have to run right by it, by oh well! By this point, my pace slowed to about 4:05/km, but I kept building my lead. The final loop section of the course is also really nice and had a couple short, but steep hills just to add a little bit of a challenge. The last 2k or so was dead into a really strong headwind, so my pace slowed even more, but I knew I had a big lead, so wasn’t really that concerned. I passed my fiancé again and she said (with a lot of surprise in her voice) “I think you’re gonna win this thing!”
I crossed the finish line in 41:20 (4:09/km) to win the race. I’ve never outright won a race before, so that was pretty cool. Obviously, had there been any serious runners there, I would have gotten smoked, but this was a PR for me and I was definitely pleased.
Overall, this was a really fun race. Good organization, great location, fast and flat course, friendly and helpful volunteers, etc. Had it not been so bloody cold out, the race site would have been great for a post-race party. I definitely recommend this race to anyone looking for a break from the big city races with thousands of people jamming into the starting chute.