[b]Burlington's Chilly Half Marathon[/b]
1:34:33 - 26/237 AG, 244/3294 OA
Had a blast yesterday competing for the second time at this event. Compared to last year's ice-pocked surfaces, this edition had dry roads going for it, although the 40+ km/hr headwind gusts along the final 8kms made me want to shift to a lower gear at times. A group of about eight of us seemed to bunch closer together as we approached Burlington's downtown for the finish across from city hall. The pace steadily picked up in the final 2 kms or so, with different people taking turns surging ahead. It stirred up some long-forgotten race craft memories for me, and I quite enjoyed it; as we turned right and headed up from the lakeshore to the finish line we all let it rip with the crowd's yells and cowbells ringing in our ears. I thought, This must be what it is like in one of those campy heist movies when the getaway car breaks down and all the crooks try to outrun the police and no one wants to be last, in case they're caught.
The organizers did a solid job putting on this show. Loads of volunteers, lines of (not lines [i]for[/i], lines [i]of[/i]) shuttle buses at both ends of the morning, a wonderful venue for remaining warm (the newly-opened Performing Arts Centre... how often can you sit back in a plush theatre seat to await the call to the start corrals?) lots of easily-accessed refreshments at the finish - including chilli & beer! - not to mention the coolest "twist" to a finisher's medal I've seen! (with apologies and condolences to the 2011 IMC medal winners for the debacle they had to weather)
[i]The little chilli pepper guy in the middle of the medal not only has a "rhinestone" inset but he also spins like a top![/i]
The only downside was that it seemed there weren't enough porta-potties in all of Southern Ontario to cope with the thousands of frozen bladders & bowels queued up beforehand. (There were nearly 3300 entrants in the half marathon alone, + there was a 5k starting at the same time). Luckily, I had the good fortune of stepping into the Foot Tools store nearby and there was hardly a lineup > proving it pays to be a frequent customer... thanks John & Paula!