This recap is the first of four (okay, probably five) recaps that will be coming your way in June (I realize it’s still May today, but it’s June tomorrow, so…..)
The Calgary Marathon races on Sunday were the goal races for the Lole 17th Ave run club, and I had signed myself up for the half marathon. Having participated in Ragnar Niagara the week before, and only running twice a week leading up to the race, this wasn’t a goal race for me, but I was hoping for it to be a good judge of my fitness before committing myself to training for SeaWheeze.
The day before the race, Kaella, Nynke, and I hosted a We Run Social meet up at the Expo. It was such a beautiful day and I had a great time meeting new running friends and chatting about the race. Since we didn’t have teh coveted WRS flag, I thought it would be a great idea to make a sign…..then I realized I’m terrible at signs and should stick to running.
Then it was time to meet Emily and head down to watch the start of the 150k solo runners. As part of Canada’s 150th birthday, the Calgary Marathon hosted a 150k race that could be run solo, or as a team relay. Minutes before the race was set to start the skies opened up and it started pouring, not the best way to send them off, but I was glad the sun came out after a few minutes. Emily, Adrianna and I then went to Joey’s to fuel up for the race….a few glasses of sparkling wine may have also been consumed.
Once I got home I gathered my race gear and got to chatting with my Ragnar team mates. I made a joke about putting my flatlay in a ziplock, and then this happened. You’ll probably only get the joke if you’ve done a Ragnar.
And then, time for bed.
My alarm went off at 5:30 and I enjoyed my standard pre-race cup of coffee and frozen waffle before throwing on my clothes and meeting Emily for the walk over. We were able to meet up with most of our Lole run crew (with the exception of Adrianna as she was running the 10k and that race didn’t start until 11am 😒) before finding our way into the corrals and waiting for the start.
And then? We were off.
My goal for this race was to support Emily and Nicole. I was there to run with them and help them if they needed help. This race wasn’t for me. And yet, with my cold and not fueling properly during the week (I completely lost my appetite after Ragnar, so definitely didn’t eat as much as I should have during the week) I felt my energy fading, and they helped to carry me throughout the race.
While the forecast didn’t predict crazy hot temperatures, I ended up shedding my race shirt and running in my sports bra for 10k. Once I hit the 15k mark I started to cool a bit, so tossed my shirt back on.
Around this time we came across people handing out popsicles and totally went for it. It. Was. Hot. and I was ready to do anything to cool myself for the last 6k of the race. The Mission District Run Crew also had tequila, but I felt it to be a tad aggressive. Beer would have been a totally different story.
Around this time I started to cramp up. Although I had been downing electrolytes all day Saturday, my pre-hydration was no match for the heat. I had a front row seat on the struggle bus all the way to the finish. I perked up at the East Village as I came through the lululemon cheer station for a third time, and tried to keep the energy up to the finish. Right before Nicole and I hit the finishing chute, the lead marathoner few by us and I lost it hooting and hollering. Daniel Kipkoetch won the Calgary Marathon title.
I had just enough energy to make it to the finish line and then I.was.done. I started cramping and getting sore as soon as I finished, which is unusual for me, and likey related to the heat and illness. However, given the heat and my cold (I’m still coughing) I’m certainly not going to complain.
I chugged some water and set out to find Emily and Crystal as we had plans for brunch before heading to the East Village to cheer on the marathoners and ultra runners (as well as the 5k runners, we just didn’t realize it at the time).
Emily and I were certainly questioning our sanity as we walked the few blocks to Craft for brunch. We were both tired and sore and walking/standing sounded like a lot of work. Thankfully after a few morning beers, and food, we were ready to go and cheer.
We were outfitted in cowboy hats and bandannas (someone tell me not to tie my bandanna so tight next time, kay?!) and made our way over.
Our initial plan was to run runners to Stampede park, but we found it difficult to pick runners out of the crowd, and then the 5k race came through and the energy was through the roof! We had a blast dancing, and cheering, and high-fiving runners. I got a kick out of laughing at the kids who were dragged along by their parents (you’ll appreciate it when you’re older!) and high-fiving the younger kids.
We were able to see Team Mito break a Guiness World Record, a 92 year old walking the 5k, and even made a cheer tunnel for some 5k runners, and the course sweepers. We even made room for a police car to go through.
I now absolutely need to make time to get out and cheer on more runners at local races.
Sunday was a hot day. While the official temperature may have hovered around 20C, running without wind, or shade, and on the road cranks up the temperature. Calgary has had a relatively cool spring (if you can call what we’ve had spring) and I was certainly not acclimated to running in the heat for this race.
Cheering was, for real, the absolute best. THE BEST. I totally lost my voice and was exhausted from standing in the sun all day and it was 100% worth it. I also had an opportunity to meet Raf and Shurl in person, which was pretty great considering I’ve basically been stalking them online for the past year 😉
What was good
- The course. I really love how this course shows off the city. I found the course to be well-marked and the volunteers were awesome. Highlight: around the 12km mark we ran by a police officer directing traffic. I thanked him and his response was “looking good” and Nicole made my day by responding “as are you”. Amazing.
- Entertainment. In addition to cheer stations, there were bands on course and the ones I heard were awesome
- Cheer stations. Best cheer station goes to the Lululemon station in the East Village. It was an absolute treat to be able to run through there three times during the half course.
- Post race food. The food is now all prepackaged and handed to runners as they leave the Stampede grandstand. I didn’t get a chance to peek in the bag until I got home and I was super pleased with variety and quality of the food.
What could be improved upon
- I’d really like to see the Calgary Marathon start employing wave starts. There are over 3,000 who run the half/full/ultra and with three events starting at the same time, the course was extremely crowded up until the full marathoners branched off at the 10k mark
- Cups. I haven’t run this race in a few years, so I can’t comment if this is new or not, but the race used plastic cups. I get it, they’re compostable (I believe); however, it is impossible to do the “pinch and pour” with a plastic cup. I also find they can be a bit more dangerous when they accumulate on the side of the road after a water station.
- Communication. Although I wasn’t running the 10k race, the timing of the race was moved from 7:30 to 11am, and I talked to quite a few people who didn’t realize this was changed until a week or two before the race. The race also started 15 minutes late. It was a really hot day, so standing in a corral for 15 minutes in the blazing sun at 11am just isn’t okay.
- It’s no secret I love my city, and I feel like this race has the potential to rival other large city races, but for some reason, there seems to be an issue each and every year. Sure, some might say I’m being overly critical, but I’m honestly only upset because of how much potential this race has; the course is amazing, the weather is typically awesome (if a bit hot) and the cheer stations are phenomenal.
Have you ever cheered on runners? What was your experience?
Disclaimer: Posts may contain affiliate or referral links. Your support is appreciated. Thank you!