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15 November 2010

Road2Hope Marathon Race Review

It’s been a little over a week since the run and I’m feeling quite good — good enough to write my race review! After much thought I’ve gained some perspective and I’m ready to post… I’d been preparing for the marathon for about 17 weeks on a training schedule that had me over 70kms a […]

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It’s been a little over a week since the run and I’m feeling quite good — good enough to write my race review! After much thought I’ve gained some perspective and I’m ready to post…

I’d been preparing for the marathon for about 17 weeks on a training schedule that had me over 70kms a week at the peak. It was tough, but long runs (except a few that were in the pouring rain) were quite fun and relaxing. I’d posted earlier (The Goal, The Hope, The Dream) that under 4 hours was the goal, under 3:40 the hope, and I was dreaming of a Boston Qualifier at 3:15. While my finishing time of 3:17:22 didn’t earn me a BQ, I am really happy with the time.

[blockquote align=”right”]The Road2Hope Marathon is ranked the #1 Boston Qualifier in Canada[/blockquote]
The day was quite chilly (-3C with windchill), but beautiful otherwise. I parked my car at the finish and got a bus up to the start line (forgetting my Gatorade pre-race shake in the process). I wasn’t sure what to do with my bag, so I (foolishly) ended up leaving it in the car – there was, of course, a bag drop. There was no wait for the bus, and once at Saltfleet High School (the starting point) we were ushered into the building where bathrooms were available, a large gathering was happening in the gym, and people were chilling out in the caf. While the bus ride and walking around aimlessly in the school gave me some flashbacks, it was great to be indoors while waiting for the start.

After a warm-up I met up with my cheering squad – my wife, mom and some friends – to take a few pics pre-race and chat a bit. The race was not crowded whatsoever (after running the Army Run and Ottawa Race Weekend) with only 1121 participants in the marathon. It was also nice that the half-marathoners were on a staggered start, leaving 15 minutes after the start of the marathon. Nice for two reasons: less people on the start line and you don’t get sucked into a quicker pace because of those running the half.

The Shirt

[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_thumb__0008_Layer-3.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_0008_Layer-3.jpg” rounded=”all” alt=”The Shirt”/]

Prior

[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_thumb__0007_Layer-4.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_0007_Layer-4.jpg” rounded=”all” alt=”Prior”/]

The Corral

[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_thumb__0011_Layer-13.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_0011_Layer-13.jpg” rounded=”all” alt=”The Corral”/]

Starting!

[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_thumb__0000_Layer-11.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_0000_Layer-11.jpg” rounded=”all” alt=”Starting”/]

Honestly, the run went by pretty quickly for the most part, and I was able to keep pace quite well. Seeing friendly faces at various points definitely helped, with cheers coming from the crowd in general it felt great to whip by water stations and keep pace. The scenery was great – going through fields for pretty much the whole first half of the race. Before the Red Hill Parkway the course is fairly flat (a few rollers) with one portion being out-and-back, which I love because you get to see people you know, cheer others on, and be encouraged by the guys who are way up front (the leaders were at about 16km when I was at 12km – it was awesome to see them pushing on).

After completing the half we merged onto the Red Hill Parkway for a six kilometer downhill run where keeping pace was difficult (always wanting to go faster!) and it actually felt longer because it was so open. It was a neat feeling to be running on the highway, though, and great to hear people honking in support on the other side of the divide.

Halfway

[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_thumb__0001_Layer-10.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_0001_Layer-10.jpg” rounded=”all” alt=”Halfway”/]

Almost Done

[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_thumb__0002_Layer-9.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_0002_Layer-9.jpg” rounded=”all” alt=”Prior”/]

Finish Line

[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_thumb__0003_Layer-8.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_0003_Layer-8.jpg” rounded=”all” alt=”Finish Line”/]

At the End

[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_thumb__0010_Layer-12.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_0010_Layer-12.jpg” rounded=”all” alt=”At the End”/]

I was popping gels every 10kms, and that kept me going quite well. Between the those and the drinks at the stations (GU’s answer to Gatorade – GU was a sponsor), I was sailing smoothly until about 33kms. Then it got tough.

It may be because I’d only ever gone 35kms or so, or perhaps it was the quick pace, but the last 10km was difficult, and the last 6 especially so. After getting off the downward jaunt of the highway the level ground seemed nearly uphill and resulted in a tough push through the beachfront area. The last km was especially long – and not because of fatigue. Unfortunately someone misplaced the markers on the Red Hill, by a whopping 400 meters! So the last km (or what was thought to be the last km) was actually 1.4km! This obviously had everyone confused – pace bunnies and runners alike. Perhaps if it had been accurate I may have reached my dream of a BQ. They’ve already said that they’ll be re-certifying the course next year and ensuring that all of the markers are in their proper place.

Other than the distance debacle and the lack of big-name sponsors at the expo (but that’s to be expected for a smaller marathon like this), the race was excellent. From an organizational standpoint it went very smoothly.

After the run I was exhausted, feeling queasy and needing fluids! I laid in the grass for a while and took it easy for a few days afterwards, but generally felt better than I thought I would.

Cheer Squad

[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_thumb__0004_Layer-7.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_0004_Layer-7.jpg” rounded=”all” alt=”Cheer Squad”/]

Me & Sarah

[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_thumb__0005_Layer-6.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_0005_Layer-6.jpg” rounded=”all” alt=”Me & Sarah”/]

I Love Gold

[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_thumb__0006_Layer-5.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_0006_Layer-5.jpg” rounded=”all” alt=”I Love Gold”/]

The Medal

[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_thumb__0009_Layer-2.jpg” url=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/r2h_0009_Layer-2.jpg” rounded=”all” alt=”The Medal”/]

I’ll likely do the race again. With money going to support both local charities (City Kidz) and those abroad (Hope for Haiti), the run is definitely worthwhile. And for those who raise money you can earn your way into the race (race fee is waived with minimum fundraising amount) – plus those who raised money also got a gift certificate to the Runners Den for merch, so that was a great perk for those that went that route.

And for everyone who was wondering – I wore the Nike LunarElite+ shoes for the race – I ended up having to go with what I knew I could rely on. This week’s Hanukkah Hustle will be in the Brooks, though.

[title]Race Video[/title]
[image img=”http://runbydesign.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/R2H_Video.jpg” url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08ANhzkb85w” rounded=”all” alt=”Road2Hope Video”/]

[hr/]

[info_box_1 title=”Race Stats”]
Distance: 42.2km (26.2 miles)
Cost: $75
Swag: Finisher’s Medal, Long-sleeved Tech T, GU (x2 -used them on the run)
Terrain: Mostly flat with gentle rolling hills through country and city on pavement featuring a 6km downhill on the Red Hill Parkway.
Time: 3:17:22
Pace: 4:41 (just 4 seconds off the 4:37 I would’ve needed for a BQ!)
Shoes: Nike LunarElite+
Fuel: GU Gels + GU Brew
Overall Place: 122/1121
Gender Place: 108/709
Age Group Place: 24/57
[/info_box_1]

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