It’s been a while since I have done a 5K race since I missed the other two Subaru Niagara 5K’s (Jordan and Confederation Park) in the spring. I was looking forward to this race and to ticking off a goal for this year of running a sub-20 minute 5K on this difficult course. As we neared the race site I realized that my memories of the race route from last year didn’t line up with reality – where I had pictured gently rolling hills, there were actually long steep climbs! This woul definitely be a challenging day.
The course is great – two laps on very quiet tree-lined country roads with wineries and their grapevines to run past. The race starts on an uphill section and then flattens out for the longest straight and flat stretch of the route. The next section is a steep downhill to a right hand turn and then continues on a gentle downhill. The last right hand turn leads to a long steady climb up to the end of the lap. On the first lap, this uphill is a full km of climbing. The race is two laps, so on the final lap this hill is cut in half when the route turns left into the finishing area. The finish line is at the former East Dell Estates Winery, which has recently been purchased and will soon become the home of Mike Weir’s Winery.
My race was uneventful. The first lap went OK, and I was happy trying to sustain a mid 3:40’s pace. The long hill at the end of the first lap definitely dragged that pace down, and had my HR high for the rest of the race. I struggled through the final hills on the second lap but still managed to get in less than 20 minutes. I crossed the line at 19:18 which I was satisfied with. I got my Subaru Series “Sub-20 club” medal after the finish. I was surprised to find out that this time ended up being good enough for 2nd place in the 30-34 age group (the fast guys must have been resting for the Acura 10-mile in Toronto on Sunday!) I found out at the awards that first in my AG went to a guy from San Diego, California – must be a great race to attract people from that far away!
After the race there was some excellent food (pulled pork sandwiches) and a live band for entertainment. Once everyone had made their way around the course the awards ceremony was held with some great looking medals to the age grouper winners along with some cash for the overall. Another great day and a well organized race. If you’re looking for a challenging 5K race, this is the one to do!