This race was on May 28th, and I was hesitant to sign up for it as a goal spring half after hearing they shortened it to a 12k fun run last year due to extreme heat. Then I figured, what are the chances that will happen again? And, indeed, race day was a perfect 12C and sunny.
The course is a scenic paved trail in Sunnybrook Park. The race website says it is fairly flat. Many race reports say it is a challenging course with quite a few hills. It turns out that both are kind of correct. There are a lot of small inclines that seem like nothing at first, but wear on you as the race goes on. In the last 5k there are some bigger hills that feel like mountains. There are also several bridge crossings that can be a bit slippery when wet. So a nice course, but not the easiest.
My goal was to run a 1:30 and finish in the top 5. I ended up with a 1:32 and second overall. I was definitely losing steam towards the end, but was happy with how I executed the race. I tore out of the gate with the lead pack, but when I saw we were running 3:40/km, forced myself to slow down and run my own race. This put me in 8th place, and running all alone. There was a time when I would have stuck with the pack and blown up, but this time I stuck with my goal pace, and a plan to be patient and pick people off. By the halfway point, I’d worked my way up to third place. I was catching up to 2nd and happy I might finally have someone to run with, but she ended up dropping. 1st place was a serious speedster I had no hope of catching, so I was all alone the rest of the race. With 1st pace so far ahead, 3rd place quite a way behind and a steady stream of hills towards the end, it was definitely hard to keep pushing the pace, and I had to keep reminding myself I wanted a PB (which I did get!)
There is not a lot of crowd support since it’s in a park, but the atmosphere, other racers and volunteers are so happy and supportive that you don’t really miss it. There was a nice post run area and awards ceremony afterwards, and I really like the finishers necklace they give out instead of medals.