Yesterday my younger brother and I ran in the MEC Race 1 at Shouldice Park. This race came at an amazing price of just $15 (half marathons are running around $90 here in our city!). My brother thought this a good chance to check out just what a race of $15 is like - I'm glad I joined him for the experience.
We arrived to a really easy and fast check in. Music playing, a great race start line (heck it was in snow, but it is January after all), a warm-up and an efficient start. The 10K group headed out first, followed shortly after by the 5K runners. The organizers were great about warning about the worst icy patches (we had some warm weather, followed by low temps, and most sidewalks and roads are pure ice).
I was pleasantly surprised at the 2.5K turnaround point to find an aid station with gatorade and water. My only gripe has nothing to do with MEC, but rather general race etiquette. Runners are pretty friendly folks. We are competitive, but with ourselves. Running is not generally a team sport. Near the finish line, I love to push it and give the last kilometer a great kick. A man in front of me, probably in his fifties, would not let me push past him. Whenever I tried he would speed up or block me, almost coming to a complete stop at the finish line. It was so infuriating. Mostly also because being a man, and evidently not in my age group, it wouldn't have even been about trying to place higher than me in those categories. As my brother pointed out, it is a $15 race and can pull runners that are just starting and have never raced before, and may not know general race etiquette.
That however, was my only negative of the entire run. At the finish line they had gatorade, Clif bars, medals for the top finishers, and gift certificates to spend at MEC for those that placed. They had the rest of their races outlined and I will be sure to do another one. They even have a marathon coming in October! Great cheap runs ahead :)
Timing wise I was really happy with my result. I normally run during the week at a 5:55min/k pace, so focused on a finish time of 30 minutes. When I was at about 3K I noticed that my overall pace was at 5:47min/k which I was really excited about. I thought I'd see if I could kick it up a notch and lower that even more. In the end I finished with a chip time of 27:59!!!! That was an overall pace of 5:33min/k. A great way to start off the running year! My brother placed third overall for the men with a time of 20:32. Incredible!
Here's an image posted on the MEC Flickr site of my brother and I visiting after the run :)