After returning to the Around the Bay 30K route in 2017, the Valley Inn Road hill, also known as “Heartbreak Hill,” will be bumped from the course this year, once again due to construction.
In 2015 and 2016, race organizers were forced to reroute away from the hill to work around construction in Hamilton. In 2017, the hill was reintroduced to racers (whether they liked it or not), but it was only enjoyed for a short stint of three years, as the Around the Bay race director Anna Lewis announced recently that more construction called for another route change.
Over the years, Valley Inn Road hill has challenged thousands of runners at the Around the Bay. It’s not only long (about 500 metres in length), but it was placed at one of the worst points in the race, over 25 kilometres into the run. That’s right—year after year, runners braved the cold (and sometimes rain or snow) pushing themselves for 25 kilometres and then they had to summon the strength to run up a 500-metre hill.
“It’s a love-hate relationship with that hill,” Lewis said in an interview with CBC, “because although lots of people have a hard time getting through it, once they do, they feel a sense of accomplishment.” After they managed to get up and over the hill, runners had only three kilometres to go, most of which was downhill, to get to the finish line in Hamilton’s FirstOntario Place.
Despite this unfortunate detour, the Around the Bay is of course still a great event that everyone should run, but there’s no doubt that it will feel different without its infamous Heartbreak Hill this year.
The 126th running of the Around the Bay 5K and 30K is set for March 29.