Location: Hamilton, Ontario
Time of Year: March
The Around the Bay 30K is very well organized. The website is thorough, packet pickup is quick, the Expo is just the right size and the starting line is set up well. As an added bonus, the finish is now indoors (it wasn’t the first time I ran this race) and this is both runner and spectator friendly!
The race was $70 (Canadian) if you registered early enough and that went up to $90 on November 4th. For this race, I would describe that as average. With that being said, hotels are relatively cheap in Hamilton (stay at the Sheraton if you can – it’s located right at the start), as are restaurants.
I love this course. Every kilometer is marked, which makes pacing easy. The first 20km are flat with almost no noticeable elevation changes. Around 20km, you start a gradual climb (over the course of 4km or so) that adds about 120 feet of vertical. You then drop sharply and climb sharply – Once you have reached 27km, it’s all downhill to the finish. Not only that, but it’s the perfect grade to run fast. Despite the two climbs, I rate this course as very fast. For a course map, see http://www.aroundthebayroadrace.com/images/30k/30kmap.pdf
You receive a New Balance shirt for running (short sleeve) and a very nice finisher’s medal. The medals are gold, silver or bronze, depending upon your time (see http://www.aroundthebayroadrace.com/awards.htm)
This race has a great history – it has been around since 1894 making it the oldest race in North America. It has also been closely linked to the Boston Marathon, with several past winners going on to win at Boston.
This is a great race and can provide a fast 30km time. It is a fantastic “workout” for a Spring marathon and the city of Hamilton is quite hospitable. It’s also conveniently located between Niagra Falls and Toronto if you’re interested in exploring a little more of Canada.