The Saskatoon Police Half Marathon

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Every April the Saskatoon Police force hosts a 5K/10K/half marathon event which starts and ends at the main police station downtown in Saskatoon. The course is scenic, relatively flat, and loops around downtown and the river. This has become a popular tune-up race for runners who are entered in the Saskatchewan Marathon at the end of May.

Last year I ran the 10K event in the Saskatoon Police Half Marathon after battling illness for several weeks and still managed to set a huge PR. I set another new PR in the fall at the Heartbeat Run, and was itching to try it again!

This race fell on April 21, just six days after the Boston Marathon attacks. My friend Morgan suggested we wear blue and yellow ribbon on our bibs for this race, and we were pleased to see that we weren’t alone! Many runners had similar ribbons or Boston messages written on their bibs and shirts. I thought there would be some mention of Boston or a moment of silence or something at the start line, but there wasn’t. That made me even more glad we had taken our own steps to recognize and respect the tragedy.

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I toyed briefly with the idea of running the half marathon instead, but decided it wasn’t the best idea. I had run one in March in Vegas, and had one booked for May, so thought that three consecutive months of half racing might be pushing it a bit. With the way this race turned out, I’m SO glad I wasn’t out there for the whole half marathon!

Saskatchewan has had the worst winter in sixty years. Six months long, frigidly cold, and many feet of snow made all things outdoors very challenging – including (especially!) running. I have no trouble admitting that I’m a weather wimp, so most of my runs this winter were on my treadmill.

By mid-April it had finally started to warm up and we were all so excited! Mother Nature is cruel sometimes though, so we’d have one or two nice days where the temperature would hover around melting, then plummet again the next day for several days.

April 21 was race day. The temperature actually wasn’t that cold… until you figured in the windchill. With winds gusting to 50-60km/hr it felt like -12 Celcius outside (that’s 10F)! I’d had capris and a long sleeved shirt out for my race outfit, but ended up wearing lined tights, a long-sleeved base layer, another long sleeved top, a jacket, a toque, a buff and gloves. I felt rather bundled up, but was the perfect temperature throughout the whole run!

The 74 5K runners, 114 10K runners and 98 half marathoners all started together at 8:00 a.m. The course is actually fairly sheltered, so the big winds weren’t as huge a factor as I’d thought they would be. There was a stretch of about 300m through Kinsmen Park that is in a very low spot and was completely ice covered. Our pace was forced to slow to almost 7 min/km at this point, which cost a lot of time. My running friend Janaya was sadly injured, but had volunteered as a road marshall and was assigned to this area, so it was nice to see her smiling face! All the volunteers deserve a huge round of applause for showing up to do their jobs in that weather!

This race was well organized, well executed and had a good route. Their port-a-lets weren’t delivered on time, but the police station was open and runners were able to use the bathrooms in there (and also wait for the start inside where it was warm!). I also wasn’t able to find a map of the course or any information on aid stations, so was relieved to find that the course was the same as last year and there was a water station at about the 3km mark to serve both the 5K and 10K runners. I assume the half marathoners had another aid station later on, and I did see volunteers leaving with boxes of gels to hand out to them.

 

I ended up finishing in 53:25, setting a 7 second PR! Considering the weather and ice we faced I was pretty darn happy with that! That was good enough to place me 38/149 overall and 8/40 in my group (F20-29). My friend Morgan also set a new 10K PR and boosted her confidence for her first half marathon at the end of May. Our friend Glenda ran the 10K as well and did fantastic! It was a good day for our little group.

The finish line featured bottled water, candies and PANCAKES, coffee and hot chocolate! YUM! The perfect end to a race that ended up being better than anyone expected it to be.

Next up: the SRRA Womens’ Run on May 11!

Gotta run.

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One response to this post.

  1. […] race on the Prairies at the end of April is always a bit of a weather risk. Last year the Saskatoon Police Run featured ice, wind, and a -12C windchill. This year it was considerably […]

    Reply

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