Sep 24 2012

Oakville Half Marathon 2012 – Race Report

This weekend being 6 weeks away from Hamilton Marathon Road2Hope, I thought this would make a good tune up race to see if my training was up to snubs.

For this race, I had a chauffeur and an assistant for picking up my race kit. Thanks guys!

Race Start

The temperature was still cool as I watched the 10k runners start 15 minutes before the half marathon.

I wrapped myself in the heat blanket given away from my last race, and ditched it when the race started at exactly 7:45am

Km 1 to 7

I started close to the 1:40 pace bunny, and stayed behind him more or less for the first 8km along Lakeshore Road.

He was a bit erratic, so I kept my own pace while keeping him in sight.

Km 8 to 10

Runners only in the bike lane today.After an eternity on Lakeshore, the route turned north, and there was a small incline.

The 1:40 pacer slowed down a bit, so I attacked and dropped him on the hill. (See, I’m borrowing road cycling strategy!)

This section was a twisty turning maze. I looked backed at every turn, where the pacer was still no more than 20 seconds behind and holding steady.

On the next downhill section going south, I was still feeling fine, so I turned it up even more to just over 4:00/km pace, and didn’t look back from this point on.

Km 11 to 14

This was a good time to eat my first gel.

The route now took me west along a long stretch of Rebecca St. to the finish. It was disappointing that only the bike lane was allocated to the race. When the bike lane stopped, we ran on a sliver of the curb side lane, while cars squeezed by with only orange traffic cones to “protect” us.

I understand the smaller field probably didn’t justify a full lane closure, but there was barely enough room to run two abreast in the allocated space. A few intersections were not managed, so I had to keep a look out for turning motorists too.

In any case, there was a bit of headwind going back west, but not strong enough to disrupt my efforts.

I was slowly but steadily reeling people in and picking them off one by one by this point. It was great to have these carrots to keep me focussed on the otherwise boring long stretches.

Km 15 to 21

The finish line is in sight.I probably didn’t need a second gel, but ate it anyway in front of the 15km feed station, and prepared to ramp up for the final stretch.

Only a minor case of stitches slowed me down momentarily at around 16km, but otherwise, I was pushing myself right up to the redline.

After another eternally, the course finally turned away from Rebecca St. It went south for a bit, and then finally turned east again along the waterfront for the final finishing stretch.

I picked it up to about my 5K race pace, and then sprinted to the finish at exactly 1:37:00. (Chip time was 1:36:48)


Check the time!After gathering myself against the fence, got some food, and went back to cheer on other Square One Running Room friends at the finish. I got a larger and louder cowbell from last week’s Centurion Canada, and made sure it was put to good use today!

Post race reward for this day was provided by Harvey’s and VISA.
The chauffeur drove the bunch of us to the restaurant, and actually had to line up outside before it was opened for business. Good times!


This tune-up reassured me that I can comfortably keep sub 5:00/km pace for an extended period of time. For Hamilton Marathon, I can realistically expect a finish time somewhere between 3.25 and 3.5 hours. I will see what happens next, and set my goals for next year accordingly.


  1. Paul Radcliffe

    Great report Henry! You’re amazing! I’m proud I got to be your assistant to pick up your kit!

    1. Henry Lo

      So it was.
      I think it’s only fair that the race times be considered null and void, and everyone must run the race again 😉

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