Over the May long weekend my girlfriend and I traveled to Halifax, Nova Scotia, a 4 hour drive, to run the 10 km race at the Scotiabank Blue Nose racing weekend. This was the second time that I have run this distance at this race and I was looking forward to testing my legs on a pretty hilly course. Initially I was planning on “racing” the distance but once we found out that a friend was going to be the 60 minute pace bunny we decided to treat it as a “fun” run and enjoy the sights and sounds.
The Blue Nose is Atlantic Canada’s biggest and therefore premier race to run; this year, almost 7000 people ran the distances from 5 km to a full marathon. The numbers do not include the number of walkers and the kids race that was also held. It appears that the number of runners this year was down from last, more than likely due to the horrible training weather that occurred over the winter and the spring.
The 5 km distance is run on the Saturday and the 10 km, half marathon and full marathon distances are run on Sunday. My girlfriend and I arrived on Friday evening in order to pick up our race kits on Saturday afternoon and to watch my sister and brother-in-law run the 5 km. They live on the opposite side of the harbour from the races but this year, with your bib in hand, the use of the ferry was free, a very nice touch.
EXPO and 5 KM Race
On Saturday we took the ferry from Dartmouth, on one side of the harbour, to the Halifax side and walked to the World Trade and Convention Centre to collect our kits and to watch a panel on social media presented by our friend Paul Merrigan, He is known for the @RUNATCAN twitter handle and he who hosts an almost weekly chat on twitter on Sunday evenings at 8pm Atlantic time. The panel was great and we connected with a few other twitter friends then collected our kits.
The expo had a number of vendors, races and of course the Running Room man himself, John Stanton. We had met him in Vancouver a few weeks ago and of course being the sharp lad that he is, he recognized my girlfriend. Our race kit pick up was simple and we even registered for another race, The Valley Harvest half marathon in October. By registering in person we saved the dreaded processing fees that the sites love to charge now…essentially for doing nothing.
We walked up to the finish line, which was located mere minutes away, in front of the large hockey arena and waited to see my sister and brother-in-law. Our timing was impeccable because they approached the line shortly after we started watching.
We met inside of the arena, they chatted with a few people and then we all headed to a local bar called the Stubborn Goat to meet up with Paul and a few of the other RUNATCAN participants. We chatted, enjoyed a few eats, a brew, then called it a day because we were all getting up early on Sunday; my girlfriend and I to run and my sister and brother-in-law to cheer on their friends and runners from the clinics that they host.
Sunday broke cloudy and cool, as the forecast had predicted, but there was a risk of showers forecast in the morning with periods of rain in the afternoon. We were hoping that this would hold and that our race would be dry. One thing that Halifax is known for is cool, cloudy weather in May, which can be downright cold if it’s breezy and rainy. My sister and brother-in-law drove over earlier to meet some of their runners while my girlfriend and I caught the ferry once again and met our “kid” to give her her bib. We arrived with plenty of time to warm up and chat with other runners. One secret for all of you future participants, instead of lining up for the port-a-potties near the start, head over to the Cambridge Suites, their washrooms are open and free, the women’s may have a bit of a line but it goes quick and you are indoors. This ended up being a good thing as it started to shower about 20 minutes before our race began; regardless of this I did a bit of a warm-up and then we headed to the start line. As luck would have it the rain ended and the rest of our race was dry.
At the start we met our friend Myles, who was acting as a pace bunny for the 60 minute race, the gun sounded and we were off. The race winds through parts of North End Halifax before crossing a centennial style bridge over to the sister city of Dartmouth. It was a comfortable pace for me so I looked at all of the small shops and the abundant construction that was in progress. We were maintaining a steady pace until about 4 km and the first crossing of the bridge when my girlfriend started to feel ill and we had to start walking. Sadly this continued throughout the rest of the race but she did brave a smile or two! We finished strongly over the last kilometre and voila! Another race completed in a time of 1:03:09. We met a number of friends at the finish and received our medals from our very good friend @crazymamaruns. We entered the arena, drank a bit and ate a few things but since my girlfriend was still queasy we decided to head back, luckily my sister and brother-in-law were just leaving and we caught a ride with them.
I couldn’t find much at fault with the weekend this year, the medals were very nice, the course was in good shape, there seemed to be lots of volunteers and the businesses in the downtown core were engaged. However during the expo there were a group of participants who were staring at a wall and didn’t benefit from the flow of traffic, why their displays were not permitted to be placed against the wall is a question for someone else but it seemed like a slight to me. I have heard that a number of the courses will change next year due to bridge construction so I’m not sure if i will participate, however I will return sometime in the future regardless as it has great energy and it seems that the city is finally understanding its benefit.
Thanks for reading my long-winded account!
One Foot in front of the Other
Next race: Saturday May 23rd, Fredericton, The Inaugural Airport Run, I’m running and volunteering!