The oldest long distance road race in North America was held here in Canada on Sunday.
The Around the Bay road race, notably featuring a 5K and 30K, took place in Hamilton. The event is touted as “older than Boston” as it was first held in 1894 though the Boston Marathon is North America’s oldest continually run distance road race. (See a gallery of photos from ATB here.)
Both distances have a memorable finish inside the FirstOntario Centre in downtown Hamilton as the final metres of the race are run on a track. The event is arguably the area’s most popular spring event and one of the year’s more memorable runs, both because of its unique race distance and on-course traditions including Tim the Grim, the infamous Grim Reaper who can be seen in the closing stages of the 30K. ‘Heartbreak Hill,‘ officially the Valley Inn Road hill, was reincorporated into the 2017 route after a two-year hiatus making the final 5K of the race that much tougher once again.
In the marquee event, the 30K, Vancouver’s Dayna Pidhoresky, racing for just the second time since the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon last October, won in 1:47:27. Panuel Mkungo won the men’s race in 1:34:42 leading from 10K onwards. Paul Kimugul, who had won the previous three ATB 30K titles, finished back in sixth in 1:42:51. Both winners earned a $4,000 payday, a large enough sum that the race is able to attract strong fields, both nationally and internationally.
Mkungo won by four minutes over second-place finisher Daniel Kipkoech. Pidhoresky, who had a big lead at the halfway point, won by a sizeable six minutes over Jane Murage. Pidhoresky won last weekend at the St. Patrick’s Day 5K in Vancouver.
Conditions looked unfavorable in the days leading up to the race with the forecast calling for wind and rain. Fortunately, there were overcast skies on Sunday and runners stayed dry for the most part though conditions were just above 0 C and, as predicted, were quite windy. More than 4,200 runners took part in the 30K, according to timing company Sportstats. There were an additional 2,300 races in the 5K.
— Ryan Strang (@ryanstrang) March 26, 2017
Ross Proudfoot, who won the St. Patrick’s Day 5K in Vancouver last weekend in a thrilling finish, took his second win in as many weeks on Sunday running 14:44 at the Around the Bay 5K. Kate Van Buskirk, who had a stellar indoor season on the track, ran 16:14 to top the women’s 5K field.