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Barrie Half Marathon

Well it was a cold and wet day in Barrie and here we are ready to run Half Marathon. as we sat at home and hoped the weatherman was wrong, it just got worse. With 15 minutes left before start time, it was pouring rain, but spirits were still very high.

Registration this year was at the Running Free store and it was a huge success, lots of people in grabbing there last minute stuff and chin waging to all the other competitors. On Race morning everyone still seemed to be in a good mood, despite the weather, it is nice to do local races and see other people out that you normally done see. A good crowd of Team Running Free Members were out for the event, which is always nice to see.

With a few minutes to go we headed into the corral, the buzz was great, lots of first timers with that worried look on there faces, and of course lots of seasoned vets looking at setting a new PR on this flat out and back. As the race started off, it was a jockey not as much for position but for who got the big puddle and who got the grass, it was like this for about the first 3k, then people started to spread out and the trail was pretty open.The Barrie waterfront trail is a great place to run and even with the bad weather it was still enjoyable. After we ran past the end of the trail up to the road section this is where things got a little hairy, the one road was completely flooded so they re-directed us to another side road which may as well have been flooded as there was only a small opening in the middle of the road that was not covered in water, so needless to say many soakers! but we all laughed and kept going as what else could you do, by the time we hit the 10k turn around the rain had pretty much stopped, so we only had to deal with the wet ground. At about the 6k mark a girl flew by me and looking very confused asked where the 10k turn around was, a few of the fellow runners said that she passed it about a km back, it was not very well marked but I think this might have been the ladies race leader and just got caught up with the crowd.  After we reached the turn around I was actually amazed that the time on my watch was a PR pace, which I was not expecting with these conditions but I am thinking that we were dodging around so much that we were actually running faster than we thought, so with this I had a new sense of go go, the rain had almost stopped the roads were still in ok shape so I trucked on for the next half. The 10k turn around was a spot of contention if anything, as we came upon it on the way back it was very congested as the 10k runners started after the halfer’s and at this time the 10k’s were making there turn and it was a very tight area, many of the halfers were running on the grass as there was no room on the trail. The marshalling could have been better there and I know we all started here at one time but I can’t go on with out saying it as it seems like the slower the runners/walkers the more they feel the need to go 3-4 abreast and blocks the faster ones coming up behind them, maybe a small write up in the race rules would be good as well as  an announcement at the beginning of races.  Ok I have said my piece now on with the race. So the next challenge was the other end of the trail. On this course you pass by the finish line at about the 13k mark and go out on a dirt trail to the turn around then make your way back to the finish line, This part was tricky as it was very muddy after all of the rain. But we all pushed through and with 1km left to go you come back onto the paved trail and off to the finish, oh wait one more small pet peeve, the 90 degree turn with 100m to the finish ( Hamilton Road to Hope), your legs are already tired, you are just ready to finish and you have to come to a complete stop, turn the corner and then pick up your legs to make the best of the final sprint to the finish.

OK so that is it, the race was a great race, I did PR somehow, but knowing the worse part of the race was the weather and what it left behind it, so I am hoping that next year it will be nice out, as I really enjoyed the course, the people and how well it was run. My hats off to Jeff on a race well organized, and hope to see more team members out next year.

Jason Cooper

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