This part of my race report will be about the race itself – I have a different race report for my personal performance as well but I wanted to keep my review of the race organization separate.
The race takes place at a great time of year and has a great route to take advantage of the scenery – in the area here around Winnipeg it represents that last good chance to see how the summer training went before fall and winter sets in. It puts a good cap on the summer / fall racing and training season.
Overall I think the race was run extremely well – lots of great volunteers, great organization and a well-marked course.
Package Pickup was smooth – grab your bib number off of the board – head to the pickup table, they grab your stuff and out you go. No fuss no muss. Great t-shirts. (pic of shirt and medal at the bottom)
No parking on site was a bit disappointing but there were lots of areas very close by to park so it really wasn’t an issue. I parked at a school less than a block away and there were lots of places to park on the streets nearby, at a church and a different school than where I parked. The nice thing was that most of the places where you could park did not require crossing the course to leave when you were done – so heading off when you were done was pretty smooth too.
I got there pretty early and since it was pretty chilly I stayed in my vehicle and prepped my stuff for a while before I headed off to the start area. Even then I was still pretty early was getting a bit cold even with the short walk over. Luckily the area where the dry clothes drop off was located was open to all and many runners waited in there for a good chunk of time before heading out for the opening ceremonies. There was lots of room and no crowding. I didn’t take advantage of the drop off though so I can’t comment on how well that worked but I heard no complaints and everything was well marked.
There was a minor glitch at the start where the microphone kept dropping out on the poor singer performing the national anthem but it wasn’t too bad as the runners all seemed to join in to sing.
Start corals were well marked by expected finish times and I didn’t see anyone get confused or line up where they shouldn’t have.
The start was smooth as well although one lady playing with her cell phone almost cost the race for a couple folks – she dropped something and turned around to grab it less than 30 paces from the start line causing the guy in front of me to almost fall and I damned near fell onto him. Once she picked it up she was oblivious to what she had almost done and kept playing on her phone and not watching where she was going…I shifted where I was running in the pack to make sure I was out of the danger zone.
For the rest of the race the course was well marked, had friendly and happy volunteers out cheering people on (I’m not sure how the hulu hoop lady kept going for as long as she did!) and the water stops seemed plentiful with easily accessible Gatorade. There was also a GU stop around mile 7 that I skipped but nice to see that it was available.
One really nice feature was the heavily marked half way point with a race clock running – it would be nice if more races did that. I liked seeing it even if it messed with my head a bit seeing that I needed to do a negative split to beat me PR (only had to make up about 10 seconds at that point but combined with the snow and the cold the mental game got tougher at that point).
Second half of the race was good as well – very scenic with the all the trees along Wellington Crescent and along the paths in Assiniboine Park with all their leaves changing colours. Very nice fall run. Some of the paths chosen through the Park were pretty narrow but wasn’t an issue due to how everyone had spread out by that point.
For just over the last mile or so the 5k/10k course merged with the half marathon course – this could cause some issues but in the end I don’t think it was too bad. Most of the slower runners had already moved over to the right and the faster runners were able to pass on the left.
That worked well until the final corner of the race – and this is really my only complaint about the race – with all the slower 5k/10k runners on the right and faster halfers on the left the runners all make a right hand turn and then head the last stretch to the finish line….but the finish line for the 5k/10k was on the left and the half finish line was on the right – so all the runners had to weave between each other. Besides the one lady that decided to stand in the way to take a picture of the finish line right at that last corner, I had no issues there but I could see how that could have been a source of frustration for some. I haven’t heard if anyone had complained about that situation but it was a bit of a risky situation that would have been nice to avoid. Maybe finding a way to split the 2 race groups earlier would help – potentially switching the finish line locations would have been enough. edit Oct 20th – just saw Steve Lambert’s video of the race and it doesn’t look like there was the same issue at the 2 hour mark – my timing in relation to the other set of runners must have just have lined up correctly for the issue to pop up – maybe not as big a concern but still something to watch for.
At the end got a great looking medal and I headed off – I wanted to get rolling and head home so I didn’t hit the refreshment tent so I can’t comment on that.
Overall – fantastically run event – relatively smooth and quick – I will be looking at doing it again next year!