This was my first and probably last time I’ll be running ATB30K.
First of all, Hamilton itself is not much of a draw (sorry if you are from Hamilton). For a race called “Around the Bay”, the course is terribly unscenic. The first 10k is in an industrial area with lots of smokestacks. The next 10k runs through a neighbourhood. The last 10k has some cemeteries.
I felt the water/Gatorade stations could have been better. I completely missed the 1st water station because of the crowds. By the time I realized there was a water station, I had passed all the water tables and I didn’t want to double back. There was also no gel, chews, endurance tap, etc on the course.
I didn’t like how there’s no race day kit pick up (unless you pay for the $40 premium package) and you had to pay $5 for bag check and you could only do it the day before. Talk about penny picking and super inconvenient! It would be better if they had an option to pick up race kits in Toronto seeing that probably lots of people are coming from Toronto.
The race kit swag was meh. The shirt this year looks like a throw back to Star Trek Enterprise. You’re gonna have all these Jean Luc Prichards running on the Martin Goodman Trail now. 😂 The cap, with the 125th logo on it, is pretty ugly. I’m not really a cap person so I probably wouldn’t have worn it anyway. Now I don’t know what to do with it. Lmk if it sparks joy for you – I’ll be happy to pass it to you. Because Marie Kondo says I should. They also had a couple of ROC anti-aging cream.. What are they trying to tell me?? There was no food which was disappointing too.
The Expo was actually decent with a lot of vendors and races being promoted. We even got a photo with the infamous Grim Reaper who was hilarious. When I saw him at 28k (by the cemetery), he was saying all these funny things as runners ran by like “why are you smiling?” When I passed by, he said “only 10 more km to go” and I wanted to sucker punch him.
The best part of the race, and probably most unique, was running into the stadium for the finish line. It was amazing to have so many spectators at the finish line. It made me feel like I was at the Olympics.
The exit chute to collect water, food, and medal was well organized. They had a bag for you to collect stuff which was great. I often find I need 5 hands to collect all the stuff that they give out at the end of races.
I’m glad that I did it in a year where lots of people from my runcrew were there to race or cheer because we were sending our runcrew leader on his 875km run from #hamilton2boston. And it was the 125th anniversary which, I guess, makes it more special. But it’s not a race I want to do again.