Submitted by Susan Brooks
Everyone get ready to cheer at Hamilton’s Around the Bay Road Race that will be held this year on Sunday, March 26th. The race and relays start at 9:30 and the 5km starts at 9:45, with the 30k (18.6 miles) race starting at York & Caroline, and the 5k starting in front of FirstOntario Centre. Both races finish inside FirstOntario Centre.
This is the oldest road race on the continent, being first run in 1894, (three years before the Boston Marathon) and while not being a Boston qualifier, as it is not a Marathon distance, its winners have gone on to win Boston Marathons.
Its history started on Christmas day in 1894 with sponsorship from “Billy” Carroll, the Hamilton Herald Newspaper owner. Some racing greats such as Scotty Rankine hold the honour of seven wins (30’s and 40’s) and Peter Maher (1996) and Gord Dickson (1950’s) had five wins!
The 30k race begins at York & Bay and proceeds to James St. N. and onto Burlington (up to Woodward) via Guise and Dock. From Woodward Ave it is right to the Beach Strip. After the Canal lift bridge, the race continues in Burlington on Eastport Drive to Northshore Blvd, then to Plains Rd, before entering back to Hamilton on York.
The 5k race starts at FirstOntario Centre and goes via Cannon (becoming York) to a turning point near the cemetery and then back on York to FirstOntario Centre.
There are 2 very popular relays are limited to 250 teams each: The 3-person relay (3-10k lengths), and the 2-person relay (2-15km lengths). Fees are $90 and $45 (for 5K) with a limit of 8000 participants and 2,500 participants for the 5k. Money fundraised for the race goes to support hope, healing and discovery at St. Joseph’s hospital and all Hamiltonians are all grateful for funds donated and opportunities created by the Bay Race.
To register, people are expected to be able to finish the race in 4.5 hours and there is 4 seeded carrols (starting places) based on expected finish times. If a participant has not reached the midpoint by 12 noon, they are not allowed to finish (due to traffic control and runner safety), but slower participates may walk along the sidewalks obeying traffic rules on their own.
30k top Awards range from $500 to $4000 with additional $1000 for race records in male and female categories. The Men’s record is held by Alene Reta (2010) at 1:32:22 and Lanni Marchant (2013) 1:44:40. All finishers receive a medal and there is recognition for those who have participated ten or more times.
On Saturday, March 25 there will be Free Kid’s Races (50 metre dash) through the official Around the Bay Finish Line for Children ages 4 – 12 held at the FirstOntario from 11am – 1pm (must be accompanied by an adult and must have running shoes)
On the day of the race, a variety of streets are closed from 6am to 4pm, so check your intended routes out if you are on the road Sunday.
For volunteers, no experience is required, but sign up early and share your skills and meet new friends while having fun contributing to a great cause.
Come on out and support your community and cheer on the racers-Enjoy the excitement that the Around The Bay brings to Hamilton!