Monday, 25 February 2013

Winterman 2013 Race Report

The Team in Training Coaches!
Ok it's a cheesy line for a frozen race, but it was printed on my number bib, so don't blame me exclusively.
This past Sunday I went over to Canada's capital, Ottawa, for the Winterman Marathon. I had signed up for the full distance a while ago, but due to a lack of proper training, I felt that I should maybe switch to the half. Of course, machismo kicked in when I got there so when I approached the registration desk to pick up my number, I blurted "Marathon" quickly without hesitation.

The Winterman Marathon has been going on for a number of years, put on by the good people at Somersault events, who organized other races that I've done such as the Carleton Place Tri. This year was the largest yet, with 1,500 people participating between the different events (5K,10K, 1/2, Marathom, relays), but you wouldn't really notice it, especially when comparing to a 20,000+ person event like the RnR Montreal. Registration happened inside the Canadian War Museum, where they also handed out souvenir shirts, sold race merchandise, and picked up your timing chip.
The race officially started at 8:30 with a cannon shot (real cannon! It's a WAR museum after all), though you were able to request an early start for 8am.

The course for all the events were basically the same course, with the marathoners running 8 loops. The course was slightly rolling One aid station was set up near the turnaround at the end, as well as right after the timing mat that marked laps. The aid stations carried either water or Gatorade. For the first time ever I was actually HOPING that the water would be warm! I really have to hand it to all the volunteers, who rotated in shifts, for standing outside to support our foolishness.

My race went as well as I could have hoped for considering my lack of marathon-specific training. My time was not very impressive (4:35:52), but thanks to the small size of the race, I managed to snag 3rd place in my age group! My first time on the podium, so I'll take it! The race wasn't particularly scenic, and running loops didn't help. Neither did the -20 degrees temperature or wind coming off the river. But all these things are what made the race fun. One of the most special parts for me was running most of the second half of the race together with fellow Team in Training coaches, and running across the finish line in tandem, with smiles across all our faces.

Did I mention that it spins?!
The finisher medal is appropriately shaped like a snowflake, and the marathoner's flake spins inside an octoganol metal frame. Though distinct, they do reuse the race medal, but change the lanyard. Along with the medal and T-shirt, the race also provides participants with a small towel (perfect for using on a bike trainer), and a reusable Somersault grocery bag filled with some sponsored booklets, a snack, and some Deep Ice lotion.

Winterman 2013 will always hold a special place in my mind. It wasn't particularly the hardest race (aside from the temperature), and it wasn't my fastest, but it was certainly a lot of fun, and I hope that I can make it back in future years because, hey, I have to defend my (bronze) title.


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