Race Report: The Wellington Mile
After two established races left me baffled by lack of organization and direction, I was thrilled to have the inaugural Wellington Mile next up on our race calendar. The race director, Geordie McConnell, was born and raised in Almonte (yah!) and is the owner of Fit Ottawa. His organization is home to several incredible clubs, including the Ottawa Triathlon Club and the Ottawa Running Club. I knew this event would be shipshape.
Why run the mile? As Geordie McConnell said in pre-race interviews, “The Mile is the perfect running distance for everyone. It provides an attainable distance for new runners, a fun distance for kids and a tremendous challenge for recreational and elite racers.”
This year, the entry fee was $25.00. Hardly a bank breaker, which made the Bird House comptroller happy. In fact, he ended up being thrilled when I explained parents were encouraged to take advantage of the “Kids Run Free” option. Yes, you are reading this correctly: the Wellington Mile offered a 2-for-1 entry, meaning Duncan ran for free.
Furthermore, the members of the Ottawa Running Club teamed up with the race organizers, and sponsored 300 kids so they too could run the mile. These students were bused to the start line, received a race kit, and even had occasion to meet elite athletes. But wait… it gets even better. To ensure everyone could share in the memories of the day, Zoomphoto.ca provided free digital image downloads to every single participant!
Duncan and I left Almonte at 6:45am. Given the early hour on Thanksgiving Monday, the roads were clear of traffic and we arrived at the race site by 7:15am. The kit pickup line, located inside The Table, moved efficiently. We collected our bibs, an organic cotton race shirt, and our timing chips. After a quick walk back to the car to deposit the shirts, we lined the street to watch the first few heats tackle the mile.
Seeded in Heat 4, aptly named Team Fortitude by the kids, we were the first family based heat. After a quick a parade to the start, we had pre-race photos taken, cheered in the previous heat, then lined up to take Wellington Street by storm. At 8:45am, our heat was barreling down the road.
Based on our three attempts at training for the mile, Duncan and I both agreed this was going to be a struggle. I was consistently slow off the start, whereas Duncan went out too fast and blew up. While the 5K and 10K can be challenging, you at least have time to correct pacing issues. Not so with a short, fast race.
In the end, we both learned from our training mistakes. Duncan shattered his previous mile record (9:15 at Mickey Mile, January 2013) with a crowd frenzying finish of 7:26. In turn, I managed to pull myself together and nailed down a respectable 8:21.
Duncan – 1 Mile
Chip Time: 07:26.8
Overall Place: 92/395
Gender Place: 54/129
Men 19 & Under: 10/42
Andrea – 1 Mile
Chip Time: 08:21.9
Overall Place: 133/395
Gender Place: 36/167
Female 30-39: 13/42
The unique handcrafted medals, made from sustainably sourced dead or dying trees, dried by the sun, and processed using a low impact method, were presented by past Canadian Olympians. All told, a very nice touch.
On behalf of Duncan and I, we would like to thank The Table Vegetarian Restaurant, Ottawa Fit, The Ottawa Running Club, The Kitchissippi Times, Wellington Medical Centre, Solefit, Rick Baird, and West Wellington BIA for providing sponsorship. To the volunteers who lined Wellington to shout out encouragement and keep all the runners safe, your have our gratitude.