I was lucky enough to win a race entry for Gotta Run Racing’s – Island Lake Classic Trail race, in the Team Running Free Lottery this year. I had heard of this race before, but, not run it yet. I was super excited, as I run mostly road races, but, always love the trail when I do get out there.
The race was held on September 16th, at the Island Lake Conservation Area, in Orangeville, Ontario. They offer a 5K and 10K race, as well as a free Kid’s Run (approximately 400m). Entry fee to the Conservation Area is free for cars of race participants. There were marshalls out to guide traffic, and entry and parking went very smoothly. I headed to the check-in area, and was checked in within just a few minutes. Race participants got a nice buff, which comes in handy on the trails.
After check-in, I headed to the porta-potties, and was pleased to see that the lines were very small (always appreciate races that have the right amount of porta-potties on site!). I waited around with my family, as there were regular announcements with count-downs to start times. There was music playing, and it was a fun pre-race atmosphere.
Within a short time, we were called to the chute to get ready for the start. The area was large, and didn’t feel over-crowded. Plenty of room to move around, and keep the legs loose. And then we were off!
The route was absolutely beautiful! I ran the 10K, which was a loop around the lake. You could see the water at many points; crossed several really nice wood plank bridges (stable and solid with good footing); and one of my favourite parts went through the woods with trees that were quite bare at the bottom, but lots of foliage up higher (I found that sections to be really visually stunning). The route was mostly flat-ish with a decent uphill right near the end. The route was also very well-marked. I never worried about losing the trail, and going the wrong way. Of note – the 5K and 10K are completely different routes, which is always a positive in my book, and much more enjoyable than doing a 5K loop 2 times.
The finish line had commentating, and announcing as finishers came through. Again, music was playing, and many sponsors were out with samples, and all races participants got a sweet looking medal. Wakewater was on-site, with a couple of different flavours. I tried the Grapefruit version, and enjoyed it. It’s a caffeinated Sparkling water beverage with no calories / sweeteners. I also grabbed post-race nutrition in the form of a banana, doritos, and a granola bar (there were lots of options!) I visited the other sponsors, and stuck around for the awards presentation. Had a chance to chat with one of the race organizers (Jodi), and let her know how much I enjoyed the event. I will definitely be back, and would recommend the race to others. It’s a smaller race, with a real personal vibe to it. So much fun!