I actually hate the Around the Bay Road Race. Nevertheless, I’ve signed up for the 2022 edition (in-person) and I’ll be running the 30km through beautiful Hamilton, Ontario with a few buddies.
The problem with Around the Bay is that it’s in Hamilton. It means a long drive out on Saturday to get the bib and chip, and another one on Sunday morning for the race. Parking is always a pain both days just to add to the fun.
It’s also in late March meaning the weather can be anything from -10ºC, windy and snowing to 2ºC with a driving rain to 12ºC with sunshine. I’ve run the race in shorts and a t-shirt and also in basically every bit of running gear I own (to stay warm).
The route is not especially enjoyable. The race starts in downtown Hamilton and quickly takes you through the industrial area and then out to the lake. It’s always windy and cold along there. But don’t get too excited about the turn at 18km to get out of the wind and cold…because that’s where the endless hills start.
Even the last few kilometres are terrible, with a downhill(ish) finish that features a grim reaper at a cemetery and eventually a tight downhill turn to end up inside the arena formerly known as Copps Coliseum.
That finish might be the best part of the race. It’s indoors, warm and generally nice.
So Why Run It?
The reason I’m running it is because even as terrible as it can be, it’s still better than running 32km in a training run. Racing always beats training runs and getting one fewer soul-crushing Sunday long runs is a plus.
Additionally a few of the guys from my run club are running it (and Vancouver) and it’ll be a chance to try out our race pace over a long run five weeks before the marathon.
There you have it. Another race on my calendar in 2022. Things are slowly getting back to normal and it’s good to have these goals and mileposts along the way.
Thanks Ian Hunter for the Around the Bay featured photo.