Trek and Run were supported during this event by;
First, here’s a short film showing the route from a runners perspective.
This 10k race takes place in Oakville, about a 20 minute drive west of Toronto, and is a fundraiser for The Lighthouse, a registered charity providing peer support for grieving children, youth and their families in the Halton and Peel area. It’s known as a fast and flat route alongside the shores of Lake Ontario. Here’s a few thoughts about the event from the Trek and Run team.
Tell us about the pre-race experience.
Dave – The pre race emails were comprehensive and we didn’t have any doubts as to where we had to be, at what time and when to pick up our race pack. We arrived at the Bronte Go Train station about 6:40am on race morning and there was no waiting around, the transfer/shuttle bus was just leaving. And because we got to the race village (10 minutes drive away) early, we had no queuing for the toilets. Race pack pickup on the day (for us out of towners) was simple, we just located our numbers next to our names on a print-out list on the tent wall and repeated it to the volunteers.
Tara - I chose to go pick up my kit on Saturday at the New Balance store. I arrived at 3 pm and had my kit in my hand in less then 5 min. Very efficient and organized. I also asked a few questions and had a quick chat with one of the organizers about the race course.
On race morning I arrived at the Bronte Go station at 7 am and found parking very quickly. There was already quite a line up forming. When I got in line we were informed one of the buses broke down and as such there would be a slight delay. After about 15 min a bus arrived and shortly thereafter a few more arrived. I was happy to be get on the bus by 7:30 am and had arrived at the race start by 7:45.
The bag drop off was also quick and easy, and there were plenty of vendors in the starting area. The race MC was did a great job at getting everyone pumped up and informed about race corrals and course rules.
Paul - After picking up our race kits we did some exploring and found an entrance to Appleby College, then after spending 30 minutes indoors sheltering from what was a chilly start to the day we made our way to the starting line. The race was scheduled to start at 8am but one of the shuttle buses broke down which caused a 25-minute delay. The MC did his best to keep everyone entertained whilst we waited.
How was the race itself?
Dave – The race was scenic in places – especially as we ran alongside Lake Ontario – and it felt flat and very fast. My watch print out, below, of the course elevation shows that whilst it wasn’t as flat as I thought, it certainly was as fast (my previous best time was 43 minutes and I did this race in 39 minutes and 25 seconds).
The surfaces were well graded and easy to run on. Observations worth mentioning are;
1/ In some places there was a turn in the course and whilst it was marked with cones, there was no marshall there. I do feel that with town road races, whenever you come to a turn that isn’t exactly obvious, there should be marshalls.
2/ On the final few kms of the out and back course outward bound runners were very close to me as I ran for the home straight. There was no barrier between us, not even cones, and had there been a bigger field of runners this may have been a larger issue than it was. Then we joined the 5km runners as they ran for home. I did have to step outside into the traffic zone to pass runners on this stretch – no big deal but as I say, with more crowds in future years this congestion could slow thing dramatically.
3/ On the plus side I thought the placing of the 5km drinks station was clever. It was at the base of a slight hill that many would slow down to climb anyway, so using this slow time to take on liquid is a good idea.
Tara - Overall, the course was great. Relatively flat and scenic with km markers every few kilometers. There were people out on the course cheering and volunteers at the water stations cheering on the runners. The last couple kilometers were somewhat congested where the 5 km walkers merge with the runners, however there were lots of cheering spectators along the finishing chute which was great.
Paul - The course itself was at times difficult to navigate. At one point around the 2K mark I saw two sets of pylons going in different directions which I’m certain caused some confusion. It would have been beneficial to have a race marshal stationed at that location. At one point we were running by the lake and the view was breathtaking. Overall I was pleased with the course.
And how was the post-race experience?
Dave – The finish line crowds were vocal, that was nice. All runners got an excellent medal that resembled the Mercedes Benz car badge, and ample amounts of bananas, apple, bagels and cookies. The event village itself was small but nicely sighted inside the college grounds with a few stalls and kids games spread over the grass which made it seem like a village fete and helped make for a happy family atmosphere. The only downside was the bag check issues and that there was a huge wait for the shuttle bus back to the car park. We were lucky it was a sunny day; if it’d been cold there could have been some serious problems.
A nice touch was that we got our race photos free of charge; they were posted online a couple of days after the event.
Tara - Upon getting my “Mercedes” medal I got my water and banana and was congratulated by the volunteers. They also had cookies and apples available. There was a large grassy area to meet up with family and friends.
The baggage pick up was somewhat challenging. It appeared the bags were not well organized and volunteers were having a tough time finding them. However everyone was friendly and apologized for the delay.
The shuttle bus back to the Go station again was subject to a long delay and somewhat disorganized. This would be the one area of improvement I would suggest to the race director. All in all though, it was a very enjoyable race!
Paul – Once I completed the race I found the finish line clogged with traffic that had to come to a sudden halt. Here we could have done with some volunteers with assisting with the traffic. I received my medal and made my way to get some much needed recovery fuel.
The bag check line was long and when I got to the front it was easy to understand why. The bags themselves were stored in a chaotic manner so it took some effort for the volunteers to retrieve the correct bags. Bags sorted by range of bib numbers would have helped. We found a similar level of confusion waiting for the shuttles to take us back to the parking lot.
I did enjoy participating in this event but some organizational tweaks are definitely required to make it into the great event it can become.
To summarise, the Oakville 10k is a family friendly event, with races for all ages (not just a 10k!) on a flattish, fast course. There are turns on the course but not tight ones and if you’re looking to run a fast time, this just might be the course on which to do so.