Conquering the Bay 2017

Around the Bay is North America’s oldest road race and a must for any runner who lives in the Greater Toronto Area.

This race has always made me nervous. The hills are intense, the weather is so unpredictable at the end of March and the Grim Reaper stands in your path at about 27/28 kilometres. For real! I met him yesterday!

The route is 30 kilometres long, which is a great distance. It pushes you past the 1/2 and trains you for the full. I wish there were more 30 k runs.

The weather was cool and cloudy, but thankfully the rain held off.

The winds were a little intense at times, especially as we ran under the Burlington Skyway. You had a perfect view of Lake Ontario and there were white caps out there. The waves were crashing over the break wall!

Some of my random thoughts on ATB 2017:

  • great crowd and energy through entire run
  • lots of weird smells through Hamilton, especially near the beginning
  • you pass a lot of cemeteries
  • rolling hills happen during the first 10 k
  • major hills happen during the last 10 k
  • lots of water stations
  • route was interesting with the challenging hills and changing scenes
  • volunteers were awesome
  • kilometre markers were nice at every km
  • neat to see a couple fruit stations too
  • loved the people handing out tissues! Thank you!
  • very nice medal
  • race shirt was okay, not the best I’ve seen but long sleeve is good!
  • Bagel, granola bar, banana etc were at finish line
  • amazing distance for anyone training for full marathon
  • when you see the grim reaper you know the finish is close
  • huge drop when you are running into FirstOntario Centre (could be easy to slip and fall)


I thought it was really neat to finish inside FirstOntario Centre. Cool setting with the finish line, big crowd and big screen. However, I am not sure why this happened, maybe the quick change in temperature? But I found once I crossed the finish line and slowed my pace it was hard to breathe. I could feel my throat closing up. Weirdest feeling and something I have never experienced before. I almost called for help and then my lungs adjusted and I felt okay. Perhaps the rush of the building and changing conditions (outside cool and crisp to crowded indoors stuffy and warm?).

I would run this race again and I recommend it to anyone who loves a challenge. The route is not easy but its an excellent way to start your spring race season.

I did not stress over finishing at a certain time. Just wanted to keep it under 3 hours and feel the push of running 30k. This race was the first time I have ran this distance since my marathon training last fall.

Best part of the experience was sharing it with Jaclyn Whittal my best running buddy. She encouraged me to start racing 4 years ago and we both thought Around the Bay would be too hard for us! Now we are finishers!

Have you ran Around the Bay? Let me know your thoughts on this race! @RachelSchoutsen on twitter or comment below.


One thought on “Conquering the Bay 2017

  1. I agree about the odd smells! I remember the first time I ran it wondering if whatever good things I was doing for my body were being negated by what chemicals I was breathing in! It’s too bad they can’t make the first 10k a little more scenic because the rest of the route is very nice.
    That said I find it a great distance and a nice challenge in terms of the hills. It is the perfect race to get ready for a spring marathon. I also really love their expo, second only to Ottawa Race Weekend.

    Liked by 2 people

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