My iRun Nation Spring Race Guide

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of sharing some of my favourite Spring races, as well as the favourite races of some community members on the blog of iRun Magazine. View the original post here, or scroll down and see some races that have caught my eye this Spring.


Spring has officially sprung and whether you’re looking for a place to test our your legs and take on your first 10km or to venture across the country with your crew, here are a few Spring races that have caught my eye and hopefully yours too!

Date: April 23, 2017

Race: Banque Scotia 21K de Montréal

City: Montréal, Québec

Why this race? The Banque Scotia 21k really is the race that gives back. In 2016, the fundraising tally for the 66 Official Charities was a whopping $1,227,802.52. Now if that’s not reason enough, the first 250 people who sign up to race both Saturday and Sunday (5k +21k or 10k+ 21k) will receive a bonus long-sleeve Asics technical shirt. Double the fun all for social good.

Date: April 30, 2017

Race: Rotary Classic Run

City: Brantford, Ontario

Why this race? Sue Spence on Facebook shares “One of my fave runs to participate in is the Rotary Brantford Classic Run in Brantford Ontario. I have completed this race so many times (at least 12). It was the race that I ran my first 5 km and 10 km. I continue to support this race because the atmosphere is friendly and supportive. The community really comes out to support this great cause and ALL proceeds go back into our community.”

Date: May 6, 2017

Race: MEC Calgary Race Three

City: Calgary Alberta

Why this race? For the super low price of $15 MEC Calgary Race Three includes a 5km or 10km race with chip-timed results, bananas, finish-line massages, plus unlimited high-fives. For an extra $5 up your distance to the half marathon. Kids 1km race also available.

Date: May 6, 2017

Race: Fort Town Night Run

City: Prescott, Ontario

Why this race? Nicole Hartley on Facebook shares “I am looking forward to the Fort Town night run. Starts at Fort Wellington and goes through town hitting multiple historical points. It is in my home town of Prescott Ontario. It is a night run so swag is finisher medal shirt and headlamp.”

Date: May 7, 2017

Race: GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon

City: Toronto, Ontario

Why this race? The Marathon course is fast, downhill, scenic, and a Boston Qualifier. Starting at Mel Lastman Square in North York and finishing at Ontario Place, the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon winds through many of the City’s great neighbourhoods.

Date: May 7, 2017

Race: BMO Vancouver Marathon 

City: Vancouver, B.C.

Why this race? From the 5K to the full marathon, every distance of the BMO Vancouver Marathon offers an impressive view. The marathon is a Boston Qualifier that travels across beaches, parks and the Seawall winding through the longest shoreline views of any race course world-wide. The half marathon is a separate course from the marathon, and weaves through distinct cultural neighbourhoods including Chinatown and Yaletown. No matter which distance you choose, the race day atmosphere in this vibrant, youthful city is one of the most energetic with positive vibes that will see you through to a fast finish.

Date: May 7, 2017

Race: Mississauga Marathon

City: Mississauga, Ontario

Why this race? The Mississauga Marathon is a point to point course that takes runners through many of the areas that encompass much of Mississauga’s beauty including racing across the Credit River, along the Mississaugua Golf and Country Club, and through some of Mississauga’s most beautiful residential neighbourhoods. The course does feature small inclines at 10km and 24km, but the ‘net’ downhill aspect of this race includes a 250′ (or 80m) drop from start to finish.

Date: May 14, 2017

Race: Sporting Life 10K

City: Toronto, Ontario

Why this race? The Sporting Life 10K runs right down the middle of Canada’s most iconic street — Yonge Street! Whether you are a novice looking for an easy 10k course, or a seasoned veteran looking to set a PB, this event is downhill, fast, and proceeds go to Camp Oochigeas (Ooch), a residential camp for kids with cancer.

Date: May 21, 2017

Race: Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon

City: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Why this race? The Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon is a “little hilly” as it takes participants on a marathon adventure through the vibrant streets of Halifax, Nova Scotia. This double looped course allows you to experience several of Halifax’s main attractions including Citadel Hill, Point Pleasant Park and the beautiful downtown core, as well as the experience of the whole city cheering you on – twice!

Date: May 28, 2017

Race: Saskatchewan Marathon

City: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Why this race? The 39th Saskatchewan Marathon is a Boston Qualifying race that runs along the beautiful South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon. If a full marathon distance is too far, consider checking out the 5km kids run, 5km, 10km, or half marathon distances.

Date: May 28, 2017

Race: Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

City: Ottawa, Ontario

Why this race? David Dazé on Facebook shares “My number one spring race is the Ottawa Marathon. It’s always very well organized and you get to run past many Ottawa landmarks like the National War Memorial, Parliament Hill, the National Gallery, and the Governor General’s Residence just to name a few. There’s great crowd support along many places of the route, as evidenced by the number of spectators who used their garden hoses to spray the runners during last year’s heat wave. The crowd is at its largest and loudest when you need it the most….during the last several kilometres of the race from the Chateau Laurier Hotel to along both sides of the Rideau Canal. The entire Race Weekend is a fantastic event. This year will be my 17th consecutive Ottawa Marathon and I can’t wait!”

Date: May 28, 2017

Race: Scotiabank Calgary Marathon

City: Calgary, AB

Why this race?  In celebration of Canada’s 150 anniversary the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon teamed up with Canadian artist David Crighton on the design of the commemorative race shirts and medals.  While the ultra distance is for a select crew, the Confederation 150-KM ultra-marathon is one of the first urban ultra courses of its kind. With a team relay option for the 150KM, you may want to grab you your run crew and go the distance on this challenging urban adventure. Race weekend also includes the marathon, half marathon, 10K and a family fun run and kids marathon, keeping the whole family active all weekend long.

Date: May 28, 2017

Race: Royal Canadian Air Force Run

City: Winnipeg, Manitoba

Why this race? Winnipeg is the home of the Royal Canadian Air Force and each year they invite members of the public to join them on a run along the 17 Wing Flight Line and through the base. Proceeds from the run will go to support ill and injured RCAF troops and families. Course options include a half-marathon, half-marathon relay, 10k, 5k, or 3k family fun run/walk.

Date: June 3, 2017

Race: Whistler Half Marathon

City: Whistler, British Columbia

Why this race? With towering glacier capped mountains as the backdrop, this scenic half marathon showcases all that Whistler is – an amazing town nestled in the coast mountains of BC. Looking for extra training motivation? Check out the Whistler Half Marathon playlist on Spotify.

Date: June 17, 2017

Race: Niagara Ultra

City: Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario

Why this race? The 25th Niagara Ultra follows the Niagara River Parkway from Niagara-on-the-Lake past Fort George and on to Niagara Falls and back. The route is very scenic as you run in continuous view of the Great River and turn around at Niagara Falls. Martin Miksovsy on Facebook shares “Niagara on the Lake Ultra/Half Marathon, simply for its scenic route and the generosity of racers that donate to the Bruce Trail conservatory.”


Race Report: Chilly Half Marathon

On Sunday March 5th I did my first race of the season, the first of 4 half marathons on the schedule, the Chilly Half Marathon.

My training hadn’t been ideal after a week+ with the flu and a couple weeks away from the long run because of work, so personally my expectations weren’t high – my coach on the other hand expected much more and left me with two words as I approached the start line  “be aggressive”. FYI: Me and “aggressive” don’t have a great relationship. I hate having to “sit” in the uncomfortable feeling of a “push” and to do it for up to 2 hours – no thanks! So I really wasn’t excited about what was in store.


My goal pace according to coach was 5:30, the goal pace I set for myself was 5:40. I ran the first 2 km easily. It was FREEZING cold (like seriously why is this race always SO COLD). And when I’d look at my watch my pace was around 5:20, I knew in the end I might be paying for it being to tired, so found myself going between thoughts of slowing back to 5:30 (which I did), and just running at that pace because it felt OK. I kept my eye on my watch and kept trying to slow myself down.


There was a head wind after the first turn as we headed back towards downtown Burlington along the beach strip. It was cold and windy and felt tough. The crowds in the downtown area were lively as we made our way along the short rollers. This course is a double out and back with one side being much longer. This has advantages and disadvantages as it’s a long time without any turns of excitement. So good, because it’s quick and easy to know where you are, bad because it’s sometimes boooring.

I started to feel some pain/tightening in my left inner thigh around 12km, then my left glute, and eventually my left ITband. As I haven’t been feeling great my strength training hasn’t been consistent and my little weaknesses are starting to add up. I just kept focusing on my knee lift and keeping my left ankle (the one I sprain all. the. time.) straight, something I’ve been working on with the Runners Academy for the past three weeks. I’ve found recently during my training runs that focusing on better running form is making me faster – because I’m running more effectively, although I need to keep it in mind until it becomes second nature. My plan: whenever my watch would beep for km or I thought of it I’d count myself 30 seconds of a stronger knee left during my stride.

Around 17km I started to slow down (5:39- so not actually as slow as I thought). I got passed by some friends I started with and began regretting the 5:20 at the start thinking it was doing me in. I started doing my numbers like crazy in my mind – knowing I might be close to my 1:55 if I could just get myself back under 5:30. My mind was racing to make this happen. Be Aggressive.

I ran upon this old dude who seemed to be holding a solid 5:25, so tucked in behind him like a shadow and held on and it felt ugly.

My brain kept trying to convince me to slow down – as I mentioned, I am pretty sure I intentionally do everything I can to avoid that uncomfortable spot I need to be in to “be aggressive”.

After two km behind this old dude and only 2 km to the finish I pulled ahead and turned my music on crazy loud to get to the end. I don’t usually run with music – spent 4 years not, but I did in Barbados and it was a good distraction for my brain to disconnect from my body. My finish line jam – click here.

So I grinded out that last km at 5:16 and finished at 1:56 (a 5:30 pace – guess coach knows) – just off my personal best, a time set here in 2013 for my seconded fastest half marathon.

I’m happy with how I raced. I’m glad that I now have an accurate race pace to apply to my training, and I look forward to this upcoming season and finally chasing down that PB.


Race Recap: Run Barbados

Last week I had the joy of traveling to Barbados with Tribe and Canada Running Series for the Run Barbados race series which consists of 5 races including a 1 miler, 5km, 10km, half marathon, full marathon, and 5km walk. Over the three days, Dec 1-3, of the events I participated in the 1 miler, 5km, and half marathon races.


Here’s a little recap of my experiences over the race weekend.

1 Mile

The 1 mile race took place at 7pm, it was 30 degrees, and pitch black out. The course was pretty straight forward (yes, I know it as only 1 mile so what would I expect but still). We pretty much just ran around the Garrison Historic Area in St.Michael which was one of the main areas of the islands 50th anniversary party two nights before.

The atmosphere was fun as they lead car was blasting Bob Marley and creating the perfect island vibe. The weather was host and just standing at the start line had me soaking before we even started. The course had very little light as the sun had set and the street lights were few and far between. It was almost unbelievable how dark it was. This also left it to be somewhat unsafe as the road contained many potholes and was very uneven.


The finish line was the same for all five racers. Finish line food and hydration included in the race experience was minimal, including water, Powerade, coconut water, as well as meals and drinks, including beer for sale. Runners and walkers of all levels and ages participated and everyone received a very nice finisher medal.



The 5km run began at 4pm on Saturday. The temperature was still hot, around 30 degrees. I spent the day hydrating (with water) while lying on the beach. Throughout the duration of our trip I used an entire bottle of sunscreen. It was so important for me to stay hydrated and sun burn free. Matt Loiselle (2009 Canadian Half Marathon champion) who was racing as staying at our hotel spent the entire day inside his hotel room keeping his body cool. It must’ve worked as he placed 3rd in the 10km.

The 5km started near the finish line and was an out and back, fairly straight with one little loop and the furthest point. We ran through Bridgetown, the downtown/tourist area in St.Michael, and it was very cool exploring this new area of the island during the race. The course at 4 water stations. At each station I took a cup to drink and cup to dunk on my head to try and manage the heat. While my goal was to go slow and have fun, I felt great on the second half deciding to pick up the intensity and pace. I ended up seconds away from my time at the Holly Jolly 5km (a down hill 5km the happens before the Santa Claus parade) so I was happy. The awards happened after every runner from the 5km and 10km had finished and this made for a late night. We went back to the hotel, grabbed dinner, and 8 hours later the next race was on!


Half Marathon

The half marathon start time was 5am, which meant we were up way before the sun leaving for the start of the race at 3:50. As I knew our hotel wouldn’t be open from breakfast I snuck some food out the night before and had a croissant and jam, along with a banana, and Powerade for breakfast. Not ideal, but I made due with what I had and felt fine while racing. Similar to the 1 mile and 5km the race start line was a spary painted line on the good. In pitch black we took off and began on our out and back course. The full marathon did 2 of these loops. The course was pretty straight forward, had a couple hills, and some interesting sights as we ran along side the water, but also a residential area, and industrial area. Not all of the roads were closed which made for an interesting experience dodging buses and cars out on the road.

As we started before sun rise vision was a challenge again with limited street lighting, but as if a switch had been hit, roosters started crowing, and at 6am, the sun came up and the daylight was on…along with the heat. There was plenty of water/Powerade on course as well as marshals riding bikes offering gels.


Similar to the 5km I went in with the goal to complete the race and manage the heat. I set a challenge to stay under a 5:50min/km and did a great job at it, spending most time around 5:45. I felt great when I hit the half way point and tried to stick around 5:40 for the second half. This was way easier then I anticipated and raced the final three km at 5:30, a pace faster then my 5km only 8 hours prior. While I didn’t PB (remember that wasn’t my goal) it felt awesome to have my pacing so on point.


At the finish line coconut water, powerade, and popsicles available. Food and beer was available for purchase. The medals were great and recovering on the beach was truly amazing.

Challenge Medals

The race series also include a “challenge” option for those doing multiple races as I had. I wasn’t aware of the challenge until after I had registered for all there, but with my minimal training I don’t believe I would’ve run any other distances. The challenges included:
Gold Challenge – Run the Fun Mile, 10K and Marathon and receive a special commemorative gold medal.
Silver Challenge – Run the Fun Mile, 10K and 1/2 Marathon or the Fun Mile, 5K and Marathon and receive a special commemorative silver medal.
Bronze Challenge – Run the Fun Mile, 5K and 1/2 Marathon and receive a special commemorative bronze medal.
I received the bronze challenge medal.

While it certainly wasn’t my plan to make this series a regular in my schedule, we had a blast and I will be back next year. I love the island and the races were so much fun. Next time I would be sure to bring more of my own breakfast foods, or buy some there, in order to be more prepared prior to the race.

If you’re looking for a hot race, check it out, and join me in 2017!