New Balance Chilly Half Marathon & Frosty 5K – March 4, 2018

The Trek and Run Team were supported during this event by;

Kusaga Athletic

Salba Chia

Adam – The New Balance Chilly Half Marathon and CIBC Wealth Frosty 5k took place in Burlington, Ontario in March. Predominantly run along Burlington’s Brant Street and Lakeshore Road, the course was relatively flat and you could expect a fast race. This was my first ever half marathon last year, so this year my goal was to obtain a personal best. Born and raised in Burlington, this race was especially fun to me. Last year I arrived very early at the race expo for bag pickup. This year I arrived just before noon. Arriving earlier was much better, as there was a lot of traffic and a bit of confusion amongst drivers. Although it was stated that there would be no parking at the Mercedes-Benz dealership, many people missed this and were turning around at the front of the lot and at various areas on the road. Side street parking was overcrowded and parking became difficult. Once inside, picking up our kits was quick and painless, with many vendors to shop at.

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On race day morning the commute from Hamilton to Burlington was smooth and sunny. We drove down Locust Street and my wife dropped me off by the Performing Arts Center. Bag check was a cinch and not crowded at all around 8:15 in the morning. I met Virgil by the starting line and we planned to run in the two hour group. The crowds were thick and there were many people. There was a massive turnout of about 3600 in front of Burlington City Hall. Twenty minutes before the start of the race Virgil told me he would be running in a faster corral and I agreed to meet him in the 1:50 pacer group. Upon arrival in the start area, I noticed that the pace bunnies were a little mixed up and there was a large crowd still trying to access the corrals. I couldn’t find Virgil and decided to catch up to both 1:50 pacers who were spread apart. With the growing popularity of the race, a suggestion for next year is that they have more spaced out corrals.

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Before long it was 9:05 and the race was on. The runners ran down Branch Street and turned onto Lake Shore, making their way down Beach Boulevard towards the lift bridge. Unlike last year, the water at the first aid station wasn’t frozen! Once we hit the turn around, it was back up Beach Boulevard, onto Lakeshore,  and back towards Brant Street. The weather couldn’t have been better for a race called the ‘Chilly’ half marathon. Temperature hovered between 0-2 degrees C. The sun warmed things up a little more. I passed a lot of runners within the first 5k. It was obvious people did not start with their proper pacers, hence the crowded start. Wanting to beat last year’s time, I made sure to push myself hard for the first 10K. Still feeling good after 10K, I kept up my pace for the next 5K. The majority of the runners I passed or ran alongside had great big smiles and were thoroughly enjoying the race. There were many aid station set up, with volunteers handing hand out Nuun or water. As I approached Burloak Drive it started to get windy and cooler. Once I hit the turnaround I tried to maintain my pace.

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By 16 km I could feel myself start to speed up, and by 18 km many runners slowed down. Although I saw Virgil just prior to the turn around, I was not able to catch up to him during the race. Once the 19 km mark was reached there was a slight uphill grade for the next two km. This seem to destroy a bunch of runners. I was really feeling it by this point but turned on whatever I had left to cross the finish strong. With the last dash toward the finish line I put everything that I had left, increased my speed and finished strong. 1:53:27.2 was my official time, taking ten minutes off last year’s race. And just ahead of me I noticed Virgil! The finishing medal reminded me of a fidget spinner with a spinning chili pepper in the center. Virgil and I took some post-race photos, and bag check was quick, thanks to all the wonderful young volunteers. After the race we made our way to Wendel Clark’s bar to enjoy some Stagg chili and a Steam Whistle beer. This year I noticed that there were many dogs in the race. I thought that was fantastic as my own little guy loves to run far distances. I frequently ran with Cody, my Border Terrier and Irish Terrier cross. The volunteers were wonderful, racers were supportive, and the atmosphere was fantastic. I loved the flat fast course and the wonderful scenery along Lakeshore. Chilly was a great race to start the season, and to test where you are and where you need to be. Whether you are looking for a nice flat course or chasing a personal-best, I recommend all my friends and fellow runners give this race a try.

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Virgil – The 2018 race season kicked off to a chilly start with this early benchmark half marathon race. It was a cold one, dipping just below freezing in the morning and I saw many runners wearing multiple layers. I opted to go light with a tech shirt, tech top and a thin sleeveless vest, with tights. Though I was cold, I knew it wouldn’t be once I started. There was a large crowd gathered inside and outside City Hall and there was the heady excitement of race anticipation. The announcer calling out last minute instructions to the 5k runners to hurry to the start and music pumping added to the festive atmosphere.

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The corrals were too tightly spaced together and the pace bunnies were not in order just before the race start. I wanted to get some stretching in because I didn’t want to get into the corrals too early and get too chilled. There were many spectators mixed in with runners trying to get into the corrals. Of course, that meant I was only able to squeeze into the corrals once the gun went off and spaces opened up. Though I saw Jason ‘s 1:50 pace sign in the corrals earlier, the crowd prevented me from squeezing my way through to bridge up to his group. I ran up past the 1:40 and 1:45 pacers looking for his group and caught up to him just before the first kilometre marker. While we were running, the faster pace groups eventually caught up and slowly opened up a gap on us. Briefly I was tempted to run with them just to see how long I could stay with them, but decided not to as this was the first race of the season and I didn’t want to blow up. It turned out warmer than expected, and I was peeling my vest, hat, ear covers and gloves around the 5k mark. I did a bit of yo-yoing at water stations when I slowed down to drink, but was never more than 10-15s behind the group. However I was doing mid-170s to 180 heart rate, which was not a good sign. Deep down I knew I could not maintain this pace for the whole race. Adam started later than me due to some overcrowded corrals and mixed up pacers, but we high-fived on the turnaround after 13k. The yo-yo snapped at 16.5k due to knee aches and the formation of a blister on my left foot. I was left running the last 20% of the race at 6:15 to 6:45 pace. Logically and rationally speaking, I should have ran with the 1:55 group and broken free at 15k, but what fun would that be? wpid-IMG_20180324_095305_665-1224x1224.jpg Dennis picked me up at 800m to finish and lifted me to a 5:20 pace for a brief but appreciated 300m – thanks Dennis! The short uphill Brant Street to the finish was an ache-fest. I crossed the line and was walking over to pick up my medal when Adam surprised me with a tap me on the shoulder. I found out later that we officially finished within 4.8s of each other! That probably meant that we should have run together. We picked up the large spinner medals with a chili pepper in the middle and headed over to Wendel Clark restaurant – one of the four restaurants that were sponsoring the race, for a complimentary meat or vegan chili (I chose the latter in true T&R fashion), and Steam Whistle beer. wpid-IMG_20180324_095220_105-1224x1224.jpg That was a decent kickoff race – I kept up the target pace group for almost 80% of the race, despite it being an early season race. Official time was 1:53:22.4 – only 4+ minutes behind my PR time! This is a really good race to kick off the season, with a decent expo, enthusiastic volunteers and a snazzy medal to add to your collection. As always, VR Pro Inc. hosted a fantastic event.

To discover more about this race, and to register for next year, visit http://www.chillyhalfmarathon.ca/site-chilly/Chilly_Half.html

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