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With virtual event in 2021, Around the Bay to include 8 race options

The Around the Bay will be open to runners across the country, and there will be many virtual races to choose from

Photo by: Maxine Gravina

Around the Bay (ATB) is North America’s oldest road race, and it’s one of the most well-known runs in Canada. The race normally takes place in late March, and its 5K and 30K runs are held in Hamilton. This year, however, organizers have transitioned to a virtual format, adding more race options and giving runners from across the country the chance to compete any time between March 25 and April 25.  

After organizers postponed their race in 2020, moving it from March to November, they ultimately had to cancel Around the Bay when it was clear that the pandemic wasn’t going to be resolved by the winter. ATB race director Anna Lewis made the call to go virtual for 2021 well before the new year, but the plans have now been finalized. 

RELATED: No “Heartbreak Hill” at 2020 Around the Bay

In addition to the traditional 5K and 30K races and two- and three-person relays (2 x 15K and 3 x 10K), participants can choose to run 2K, 10K and 15K. There is one other race option available, and it’s called The Hammer. This event incorporates all of the virtual ATB’s individual races, and entrants will have the month-long window to complete all five distances: 2K, 5K, 10K, 15K and 30K. 

This works out to 62K of racing in just a few weeks, and it’s apt to keep anyone who enters The Hammer busy and motivated all month long. Runners in this event will be ranked in each individual race as well as in The Hammer (with all race times added together for what Lewis and her team call a “Hammer Time”). 

The ATB has teamed up with Hoka One One to present The Hammer, and there is a “Hoka Hammer” ambassador team with runners from across the country. This team of runners is the perfect representation of the ATB’s virtual event, as the 2021 race will mark the first time that anyone and everyone can run the storied race, even if they aren’t in Hamilton.

RELATED: Get to know Mengistu Emebet, the surprise 2019 Around the Bay winner

Organizers have already set the next in-person race date, and it is scheduled to run on March 27, 2022. For more info on the ATB, click here.