Around The Bay 2023
It has been 3 years since last time I ran this race. It was in 2019, in my first year in Canada. Meanwhile, the pandemic cancelled the 2020 and 2021 editions, and the 2022 edition was so demanded that the race was sold out a month in advance. This time, I couldn’t miss Around The Bay 2023 and registered as soon as possible.
Hamilton is not that far. I drove 1 hour to reach the OntarioOne Arena, where we can chill out before the race. The race starts in the street in front of the arena and finishes in the middle of the arena, in the coolest finish line in North America.
The weather was cold but sunny, comfortable to run without thick layers. I was feeling great! No injures, no soreness. Excited to run along thousands of runners around the bay of Hamilton. There were so many people that it took a while until I had enough space to set my pace. The first water station at 7km was overwhelmed, unable to refill plastic cups in the same rate of demanding runners. One would need to slow down to get some water.
My goal was to simply beat my previous race time of 3:04 hours, which was not very ambitious, given my running volume during the winter. My strategy was to run the first 10 km slowly, then the second 10 km a bit faster, saving energy to run the last 10 km as fast as I could. It worked! I reduced my time to 2:49 hours, 15 minutes faster. I still felt I could do better after finishing with a pace under 5:00/km. I guess I was afraid of the hills in the last 10 km, making me opt for a conservative strategy. Since I went well in that part of the race, I will be more aggressive next time.
One thing I regret was to use my cellphone to take pictures of the course. Marathon Photos caught me running while trying to unlock my phone to take a picture. It made me look like an idiot. I was also caught crossing the finish line with my phone, which was ridiculous. I still need to take pictures, but I have to find a better solution for that.
Distance: 30 km
Average Pace: 5:40/km
Best Previous Time at this Race: 03:04:48
Elevation Gain: 204 m