As some of you may already know, I was chosen earlier this year to be an Ambassador for the amazing RBC Run for the Kids event here in Toronto. Once I first heard about the opportunity, I knew I wanted to be involved with such a great cause. This run (5, 15, and 25K) raises funds and builds awareness for youth mental health issues – specifically, the Family Navigation Project by Sunnybrook, which is a program available to youth and their families to assist them with getting the help they need at the right time.
Over the last few months I have been trying to spread the word off-and-online to encourage others to sign up and/or donate. You’ve probably seen all my tweets and retweets, so I certainly appreciate you sticking with me through all of this promotion and also spreading the word yourselves. I really had so much fun sharing the details of this race and cause with you and I greatly appreciate the donations I received to my fundraising page.
So, this past Saturday, a few months of training and building momentum finally came to fruition. I had been following my plan and building up the miles and I was ready to rock this 15K. I woke up earlier than I have in months at 5am and dragged myself out of bed to get ready after only about 2 hours of sleep. Trust me, I was excited, but I never sleep well the night before a race so it takes me a while to get really pumped up. Didn’t help that it was still pitch black out and that I worked late the night before, but this is what we do for that bling (aka medal). I did my usual smoothie and Clif Bar breakfast routine and by the time I got to the expo and start line, I was pumped! Everyone was already buzzing and the volunteers were cheerful… they must give them caffeine. ;) Bag check was really easy and the port-potties weren’t even that busy. Shocking.
Once I got myself to the start line, I was ready to go! The sun was coming up at that point (7am) and everyone seemed to be coming alive. There were a few speeches about the cause and then we were off! A few points about the race/course:
- I liked the course, even though there was a monster hill on Finch Avenue. ;) Also, this course was a great mix between road race and trail run through G. Ross Lord Park. The only thing that was a little strange was running down the middle of Finch, but I get that it’s difficult to close a full major road like that. It was a little scary at some points with angry traffic on both sides, but I am glad for the helpful Toronto Police officers that were around guiding/blocking the vehicles.
- The course was a little bit long. Instead of 15K it ended up measuring almost 16K in total. Not a huge deal of course, but I can tell you I was wondering where the heck the finish line was. I almost burned out during my final push because I was going by the distance on my watch. (I checked in with the other Ambassadors after the race and they all clocked almost 16K on their GPS devices as well)
- Perfect amount of water and porta-pottie stations in my opinion. At no point was I worried that I wouldn’t get a drink or have the option to go if there was an emergency.
- Great amount of volunteers along the course as well. Some of them were really friendly and cheered us on as we went by, which was quite nice. We need that enthusiasm early in the morning while we are torturing ourselves. ;)
- The post-race expo was one of the best I have ever been to. Tons of food – delicious grilled cheese, pizza, breakfast burritos, bananas, chocolate milk, coffee, etc. I was truly amazed here. The only issue for me is that I am both lactose and gluten intolerant, so the options weren’t awesome for me personally. I did have a few bites of the grilled cheese because after almost 16K, I was hungry for more than a banana. Not the smartest move for me… but I was tired and overwhelmed and just wanted to try it. I then looked longingly at the rest of the food while I filled up on the free coffee. (Side note: I did notice A LOT of non-racers taking in the expo and lining up for multiple servings of the food, which is fine, but it’s important to make sure there’s enough for all of the racers first in my opinion. Just something to look out for.)
- Post-race entertainment at the expo was awesome and fun. I enjoyed jamming along to the music while waiting to gather for an Ambassador photo and I could tell the crowd loved it too. There was also a good amount of vendors and the kids area looked pleasing to the parents.
Overall, I had a really great time being an Ambassador for the RBC Run for the Kids. I can’t thank everyone around me enough for their support, donations, and encouragement as I trained. My almost 16K time was 1:30:41, which I am super happy about. I’m right on par for time for my upcoming half marathon and I’m glad to see my training and hard work being rewarded. Feeling good and strong!! This race really solidified that for me, so I am grateful for having done it.
So, if you have a moment, check out what the RBC Run for the Kids is all about and consider signing up or donating next year. You will have one of the funnest mornings you can have running, while knowing that your efforts are going to one great cause.
Again, one last thanks to friends, family, race organizers and volunteers, sponsors, the Toronto Police, fellow Ambassadors, and our ring-leader, Claire. It was a blast! :)