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2019 Island Lake Classic – Race Review

I have the good fortune to live right beside Island Lake Conservation area and regularly run the trails. It is a good mix of flat hard pack with some good somewhat technical trails in the Sugar Bush area. The trails encompass the Island Lake Reservoir but for many years were not completely connected all the way around. It was always and out and back; you would get to the end of the trail at the waters edge, stop and stare and then turn back. About four or five years ago this all changed when they connected both sides of the “mainland” and the intermediate islands with a series of bridges. We now had an 8-10K loop of some of the prettiest trails in Ontario. The Island Lake Classic had been happening here for a few years already but only a 5K option. Now that the entire trail was linked a 10K option was a reality. For many years, this race was co-ordinated by Bob and Marjorie of Run Dufferin. Two or three years ago the torch was handed over to Jodie and Norm of Orangeville Running Free. The race is well organized, sponsored and well attended. It offers both a 5K and 10K option and takes full advantage of all that Island Lake can offer. The 10K option does a full loop of the lake while the 5K option only borders the southern edge of the water. Both distances come together into the sugar bush area for some of the more technical trails that Island Lake has to offer. While not at the level of the Bruce Trail, they are still a good challenge. Many different racing clubs are represented at this event, as well as many local runners including a solid contingency from the Orangeville Running Free store. As with any good race, it caters to both the competitive and family/recreational side. There is a free kids fun run (although I tell you some of these kids were smoking it) and the 5K is a good walk if running is not your thing. The scenery is second to none and the event is professionally run and is chip timed. This event takes place on the Labour Day Monday each year and is always well attended. As a transition from the summer this is a great race to get the fall season going. I always look forward to this event and if I am not racing in it I am somewhere out there volunteering. Volunteers are the backbone of a well hosted event and this one is no exception; the Running Free community is integral in making this event a success. If you are around for the Labour Day weekend and are looking for something fun and exciting to do, then come on out to Orangeville and join us – you won’t be disappointed. Happy Trails

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