One of my running goals this year was to do a race/distance that I haven't done before. It seems lately all the races I do are ones I've already done so I thought it would be nice to try something different.
After Seawheeze, I wanted to do a fall half marathon since I was mostly trained and I knew I didn't want to run long distance this winter with the time commitment, snow and cold.
I was really undecided on Harvest Half since it is one of my favourite half marathons, such a beautiful course, if not hilly but I took a few too many weeks off from running so while I knew I could do the half, my heart wasn't into it.
When I heard about the Gorilla Run, I knew it would be my next race! It fit my criteria of a new race and new distance for me. Plus the course took us through the Zoo!
The Gorilla Run offered a 16K solo distance and a relay. There was some confusion about the relay distances but that didn't affect me.
I will say I was a bit disappointed in the lack of communication about the race: we didn't know the route until a few days before the race and the package pick up was also not communicated until just before the race and did not include a weekend pick up date, as well as no pick up the day of the race.
The race route as posted a few days before the race- a loop through the Zoo and 3 out and backs.
The morning of the race was a bit chilly but I knew it would warm up as the race went on. I arrived at the Zoo around 7:30am for the 8am race start. Lots of time for the bathroom, find the start line and meet up with friends.
The race ended up starting about 10 minutes late because the lines for the port-a-potties were long (that's what they told us).
Sea wheeze crew!
CHRR crazies!! A bunch of them had run Harvest Half the day before and were doing the full 16K solo run. Insane people!
The race started and we headed to our first out and back. I will say that despite the fact that out and backs are kind of boring, it was nice to see fellow runners several times throughout the race. Made it much easier to forget about the distance and have fun and just run!
It definitely warmed up by about 5K. It would have been way too much work to take off my jacket so I just undid it.
The 2nd out and back was up by Max Bell Arena- aka lots of rolling hills. A lot of people were cursing them. Possibly including me although the hills around my house have helped me a bit!
Another frickin hill
There was only one aid station along the entire route that you hit twice. I wasn't totally paying attention to its location since I carry my own water and fuel but I think it was around 7 & 9K? I'm glad I always bring my own.
The third out and back was the same as the first. At this point I was starting to fade (about 12K) but at least the hills were over! Plus I was seeing lots of familiar faces again. However at the turn around I realized I was only at 13K and there was no way there was 3K left to go unless they had us run loops around the parking lot by the finish line.
Turns out the course was about 2K short, it was only 14K. I honestly wasn't complaining since I was about done anyway! They did mention they had to change the course a bit due to construction in the Zoo but I think there were other parts of the race that were shorter as well. Oh well- I earned my medal anyway!
Avg pace 6:44
You had to go into the Zoo to the Kitamba Cafe to pick up your medal (why couldn't they have them at the finish line?), your banana, water and tiny muffin. Maybe they should have put the finish line there? It would have been about 16K. The zoo was open at that time so I guess they didn't want runners mingling with zoo-goers.
We went in search of the Gorillas to take some pictures but only found Sheldon the tortoise. Someone said they found the gorillas somewhere else- not sure why they moved them?
I found a gorilla carving to have my photo taken by!
The medal!! Glad to add it to my collection!
Overall it was a fun race. I'm not sure I would do it again due to the logistics and the meh course but if you are looking for a neat medal and free entry into the Zoo then this would be a good race to do!