The Canadian Run
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Start Date/Time September 2, 2017 @ 8:00 am
End Date/Time N/A
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I've run the Canadian Evening Marathon on a few occasions and I plan on registering again this year. This is a great race, that may however not be for everyone.
The Canadian Evening Marathon is actually one event among a myriad of other events that take place during the day, all organized by Somersault, most notably the Iron 226 triathlon. The idea behind the Canadian Evening Marathon is to have a field of marathoners run at the same time as Iron 226 triathletes run their marathon (after a full day of swimming and biking). As such, the start time is at 5:30pm (the Iron 226 start time is 6:00am, I believe). This is one of the things that make this race unique - the fact that it is run in the evening. I've found running alongside triathletes very inspiring and unique.
There are usually between 30 and 50 marathoners, running alongside about 20 Iron 226 triathletes, and about 60-80 half-marathoners who join in the fun at 7:00pm. This small field of runners can be viewed both as a positive and a negative. You won't feel the energy boost of a mass start in a big marathon, but the overall experience feels very personal.
The event is superbly organized, as is usually the case with Somersault events. No issue there at all. These guys know how to organize races, no doubt about that. Everything is delivered as advertized, including race kit pick-up, tech shirts, medals, post race refresments, etc. Volounteers are very helpful - typically they consist of family members of other athlethes or atheletic club members. I also find the Terry Fox Stadium to be a terrific facility.
Runners who are considering registeting for this race should keep a few things in mind however.
First of all, start time weather can be quite hot and humid. Late afternoon is actually usually when temparatures reach their daily maxumum in late August / early September in Ottawa. Expect a start time temperature of about 21-23 degrees Celcius, and be prepared for the possibility of temperatures much hotter than that. It does cool down as the sun sets and the evening progresses, but it can still remain quite hot. After all, there is a reason why most races are organized in the morning. You need to be able to adjust your race plan in accordance with the weather. Hydrate a lot, and be prepared to slow down your pace a little bit.
Secondly, the repetitive nature of the course (8 loops through the stadium running track, a park and a residential area for the marathon) can be quite tough mentally. Except when you run through the stadium, there are very few spectators (and I mean, very, very few spectators). Regarding the course, I much prefered the one they had before 2012. There were fewer loops (6 instead of 8), and the course was definitely more scenic (along the Rideau Canal).
Overall, despite some of the negatives, this is one of my favourite races. It's a very well organized event. An evening marathon means that you can sleep in and rest as much as you want before the race, take all your time to enjoy a pre-run meal of your liking at a time of your liking and prepare your gear, as you head to the race site in no particular rush.
Just don't register for this marathon thinking you'll feel the same energy boost as running the Chicago Marathon - that's not going to happen. Don't regsiter thinking it's an easy course for a PR or a BQ either. To me, at least, this is a relatively challenging marathon.