Yesterday I participated in the 3rd Annual Manotick Road Race. This was my first time at this particular race and while my run in the 18k race was less than perfect (ok, parts of it were pretty bad), I can highly recommend the race.
As I try to think of why I was impressed with this race I keep coming back to the same thing, which is going to sound a little vague; I liked the feel of the event. So what does that mean? Keep in mind my last race was in New York City last month. Honestly, I was a little worried it had spoiled me for any future races. How do you match Central Park, Times Square, and huge cheering crowds? Well, the fact is you don’t, but you can appreciate other races for other reasons. And while the NYC half had all the big city “Wow!” you would expect, Manotick had the small town, family feel that is just as enjoyable in its own right.
There was a feeling at this race that the community had really embraced the event. Businesses allowed participants to use their parking lots, the community arena was open for washrooms, the local butcher was providing a charity BBQ and the local gingerbread store was selling goodies. And I loved the photo booth where you could have great photos taken by Stagehouse Photos (and can I add that their prices are really reasonable – I’ll be very happy to order a photo and support a small business). I also loved seeing so many families participating in the 2k and 5k events. At the risk of sounding corny, it gives me hope to see so many kids introduced to running at a young age. With all the talk about screen time and childhood obesity, it makes me smile to see kids out in the fresh air proudly wearing their race shirts and medals, feeling the same sense of accomplishment we older runners feel.
But beyond the feel of the race, there was also a sense of a very well organized event. The organizers were hugely energetic (I am pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to keep up with them on a race course based on the energy they showed!), and from my vantage point things seemed to run smoothly. The course, which had many turns and changes of directions, was clearly marked and at each turn there was always a volunteer making sure you went the right way. I thought the 18k route managed to hit a nice balance of being challenging without being overwhelming in terms of elevation changes. And I say that despite the fact that I struggled with the hills towards the end, and quite frankly the last hill before the finish line nearly managed to finish me. But I can’t complain about that because it would be boring to only run flat courses. I say that with complete conviction as I sit here at the computer…I am, however, pretty confident it was not what I was saying when I broke down and walked part of the final hill. Somehow the thought of “This is really good for me, more races should have a hill in the final km,” didn’t seem to enter my mind at the time 🙂
So, for a fairly new event, I was quite impressed and I am looking forward to trying more InStride events in the future.
Next post: a review of how I did at the race (let’s just say it won’t be such a positive review)