The morning of Sunday, April 28th, I woke up excited to start the day and get going to the race. My high school had been doing the Run For It program for the past several weeks in order to train a group of girls to run the Shoppers’ Run For Women 5K in Unionville, Markham. I was very excited for this race, as it was going to be my kick off race for the 2019 season. I had planned on running several races in February and March, I was not able to, due to some minor injuries and illness. Nevertheless, I was excited to start 2019 off with a 5K for a great cause.
I arrived at the Markham Civic Centre around 7:30am. I had already picked up my race kit on Friday and knew the race was going to start at 8:15am. There was a decent amount of parking and I was able to meet my friends near the entrance of the building. Later, we walked down to the ice skating area, where tents and a stage where set up. They announced the 5K was going to start at 8:30am instead of 8:15am, so I had to wait longer before heading to the chute. It was set up far from the skating rink on Warden, and was long and narrow. I decided to start in the middle of the chute since I wasn’t expecting to run terribly fast this morning.
The race went by smoothly. The elevation changed very frequently, which was unexpected. There were many hills going up during the first 2.5K, then was a faster, downhill route for the second half of the race. I experienced some calf pain running up the first hill, but it faded away throughout the race.I wasn’t expecting a PR, as my training in the past few months was rocky (school sports, extracurriculars, winter illness). However, I was able to run with a smile for the five kilometres and enjoyed the race. I finished with a time of 27:57 and placed 16th in the F-U20 age group. The post race chute was well organized, with volunteers handing out food, swag bags, and finisher’s bracelets.
The swag I got from this race is unreal. Firstly, there was a line for bananas, energy bars, applesauce, and granola bars. There was also a tent to receive a bag of Life products from Shoppers, including hand sanitizer, mouthwash, shaving gel, etc. Finally, there were volunteers handing out swag bags, which were chock full of great items. There were coupons, samples of lotion and perfume, bug repellent, toothpaste, lip balm, and lots of it! They also handed out coconut water, electrolyte juice, cans of Fresca, Skinny Pop, and other snacks. The real jewel of the swag bag was a package of Merci dark chocolates! 🙂
Overall, this event was amazing, raising awareness for mental health as well as women empowerment. I would definitely recommend this great race to others for the positive environment, straightforward course, the amazing organization of the race directors and the eager volunteers!