With 94 days left until race day, the Canada Army Run Half-Marathon is already 98% sold out. It now totes itself as the fastest growing run in Canada... which can’t be far from the truth given that in the four years since its inception, race participation has doubled from 7,000 in 2008 to more than 16,000 in 2011.
I managed to squeeze my registration in before it filled up (… for the price of 91$ (which doesn’t include a donation)... Is it just me or are these things going up drastically in price each year along with the participation numbers?!) buuut, I didn’t want to miss the window of opportunity like I did in the winter with the Ottawa Race Weekend ½ Marathon which took place in May.
In fact, it was the Army Run that got me convinced I could actually do a half-marathon for the first time:
While walking around downtown shortly after I arrived in Ottawa in September 2008, my interest was piqued by the 7,000 runners who were finishing up the last km of a race and filing into a finishers area in Confederation Park. I thought to myself… “I wish I had known there was a race happening... I would have taken part.” And that might have been the first time I had felt that tug of a “race” feeling since the track days of high school. I went home and took a look at when I could have another chance to do a 21.1 (plan now, panic later?) and so I set my sights at that time on Ottawa Race Weekend 2009.
I likely had never run a distance longer than 8 km up until that point but I figured if I was able to play a 90 minute soccer game, with no subs, then I could surely run for two hours straight.
Two hours was what I set my sights on for the first race. I also convinced myself that if I got tired, I could stop and walk. "No big deal," I thought to myself. (Sometimes I question how much I actually think through with myself ) This thought of course evaporated post race when I connected the purpose of the large popcicle sticks medics had been freely handing out along the course, to the insides of my legs which were of course, due to chafe, bleeding. Also I was kicking this naive thought in the gut when 2 days after the race finished when I was still using a geriatric bar to lower myself onto the toilet at work, at which point I was like.. yea ok, ... it’s a big deal.
So now here we are. It’s June 21, the first day of summer, and I’m signed up for another Army Run. Part of me is regretting having now chained myself to a ½ Marathon training program for the extent of the summer, but…. it’s a pretty cool race. You get to run alongside survivors of war. The race is starts with a cannon blast (seriously. It’s the most intense race start I’ve ever experienced). And for finishing? You get a dog tag. Oh, and you also get to show your support for your country which makes you feel part of the bigger picture. Not too bad indeed.