Runner: Greg J
Race Date: 07/27/2019
Location: Dundas Valley Conservation Area (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada)
3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?
Well organized, friendly chill atmosphere and great volunteers.
Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
It’s a timed event, so a short loop (7km) is par for the course. No other issues.
Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?
The Gong Show event. Leave on the hour, every hour for 24 hours. The last lap is the race and it’s crazy how fast they rip (~30′) after having done 23 laps.
Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?
Managed the heat well using ice in my hat and in a bandana around my neck. Didn’t waste time in the aid station like I did the previous year; volunteers made this possible by packing my hat and bandana while I took care of food and water / nutrition bottle. Only changed shoes / socks once; was hoping not to, but my shoes started to feel as thin as flip-flops.
Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner
Find your rhythm on the course as there are plenty of rollers. Always run the rail trail section no matter how much you want to walk it; you make up good time here. Note: the course changes each year so sometimes this section is a slight uphill which makes it more of a mental crux.
Lessons you learned that will help you next time around
I should have printed out my pacing chart on put it on my cooler because after a plethora of loops in the heat I was actually on track even though it didn’t feel like it. I was using average pace on my watch and though I had blown it for my goal distance, but I was hitting my splits that I had accounted for the later fatigue and heat.
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
Which direction the race is going this time around. There’s a water tap at eight 2.4 km (CCW) or 5km (CW) to fill-up a bottle or soak yourself. Which nutrition drink(s) they have; it’s been different. Mostly in the shade, but sill sunny each for SPF. It can get hot it was 35ºC (95ºF) this year. You can wear road shoes if it’s been dry; there are some grass sections.
Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?
It’s a nice shady course through a “scenic Carolinian Forest.”
Difficulty – Is it a tough course?
Difficulty lies in the pacing through the rolling hills. Depending on the year, the 2km uphill on the rail trail can be a mental battle and the are a couple of short, but steepish hills no matter which way you go.
Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
The RDs are very experienced runners and directors and their events are well run and keep the friendly trail vibe.
Competition – Is there a strong field?
The strongest runners seem to be in the 7km or the Gong Show. The 6hr can be quick.
Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.
Some of the distances can sell out quickly. Located just West of Toronto and near Hamilton, so plenty of accommodation options. Some airlines fly right into Hamilton otherwise, Pearson is next closest.
Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?
Lots of choices of the standard fare and changes throughout the day. Typical soft drinks and different sport drink are available. Volunteers are great.
Weather and typical race conditions
Typically dry for this time of the year. Temperature and humidity are fickle. First year, the heat broke after a brutal heat wave and made for a great, summer race. This year, we woke up to a heat advisory.
Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?
Very spectator friendly and there’s even place to set-up a tent for the longer events.
How’s the Swag?
T-shirt and “buff” and a nice finishers metal and a buckle if you hit 100 miles in any event.
The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?
Five out of five and yes, you should try one of the distances that challenges you.