Niagara Falls Half Marathon

My first ‘International’ race per say.  This weekend (my birthday weekend to boot), I headed to Niagara Falls for their 1/2 marathon.  It’s been a good 15 yrs since I’ve been to the Falls that I can remember.  I left Friday afterwork and drove about 3.5 hours to Canada.  I love my passport card, as it’s less to worry about than my book.  It took maybe 5-10 minutes to get through customs, then I was able to pick up my packet at the expo.  Going from mph to kph in a mater of 30 seconds was a shock to the system, that’s for sure.  Not a huge fan of the expo- it was at a mall, so you had to figure out where the bibs were.  Once you picked up your bib, you had to make sure it was activated and then go to a separate location in the mall to pick up your shirt.  After you found your shirt, you had to go to a third location to get your swag bag (which included a box of pasta).  I get trying to get people to walk through vendors and stuff, but someone’s bound to miss something, especially if you’re not familiar with the layout.

I drove to the hotel and was able to check in and get somewhat settled.  I found some food (used a $10 off coupon) and headed to the Falls, which were all lit up.

IMG_0274 Saturday (my birthday!), I treated myself to sleeping in until 9 AM.  I got myself out of bed and scheduled myself for a wine tour (because who doesn’t love some wine?).  I went up the sky tower and got some good sites of the Falls from high up and close up after I came back down.  Lunch included Tim Horton’s.  Cleveland doesn’t know what it’s missing by not having Tim Horton’s, so it was a must to order.  Around 1, I went to where the wine tour departed from.  We went to 4 wineries total and I was introduced to ice wine, something the Niagara region is known for.  The last winery, we got a full tour before the tastings.  Between the 4 venues, I may or may not have ended up with more than a few bottles of wine that I won’t be sharing with anyone.  I went back to the hotel and stayed up until way after midnight thanks to OSU winning in double OT against Penn State.

Sunday I was up at 730 AM.  Race time was at 10 AM, but we had to be shuttled to the start (I have no idea where it was at).  I was in a crazy long line by 820 (I even forgot my garmin) and I was to the start shortly after 9 AM and even had time to use the bathroom.  We were huddled together in tents prior to the race start.  We had a moment of silence for 2 Canadian soldiers who lost their lives earlier this week prior to the playing of the US and Canadian national anthems.  The wheel chair athletes were off and we followed shortly there after.

The course itself is very scenic.  You have some crowd support at the start and throughout the course, but it really is a course to enjoy your surroundings.  It’s also a relatively flat course.  I was doing fairly well, holding about 2:10, but I fell back towards the end, a combination of walking the day before and having just run the Columbus Half Marathon last weekend.  You pretty much have a straight line up until after mile 11, where you have some turns.  Water stops were every 2 miles initially and then got funky towards the end.  The Marathon started in Buffalo and crossed the Peace Bridge into Canada, and they started at the same time as the half marathon did.  Throughout the course, you’d see both the half and full marathon markers.  I trucked along and was glad to finally cross the finish, right behind Niagara Falls.  As you crossed, you were given a throw away type jacket and then were given your medal.  Food and water were right behind.  I kept walking to stay loose.  Shuttles holding bags for anyone who checked were waiting, but I wasn’t a fan of checking anything this race.

In Canada, or this race at least, pacers are called bunnies.  One of the bunnies loved my yellow pants and said that I had been pacing her a while.  Woohoo!  They still beat me.  I walked back to the hotel, though I took the Niagara Falls incline up the ridiculously steep hill I had no desire to climb.  I had the million dollar shower before packing up my car and heading back to the states.

Overall a decent race.  I’d change the expo because I was freaking out I was going to miss something.  I might have worn one more long sleeved shirt, but I’m always cold.  Successful weekend for sure though!


About drrunner
8 time marathoner, 65 ish time 1/2 marathoner with a bucket list item to hit all 50 states. BibRave Pro, Doctor and a mix of insanity

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