Joe McGuire Race Report

The Joe McGuire race is a 5 km, 10 km race and 5 km walk in Woodstock, New Brunswick. It’s advertised as a flat, fast course. It does not disappoint.

Joe McGuire race swag

Who is Joe McGuire anyway?

Joe McGuire was inducted to the NB Sports Hall of fame in November 2009. As of 2019, he holds the record for New Brunswick’s fastest marathon at 2:27:51, which he set at the Halifax marathon in 1984. He also won the master’s division at the Boston marathon in 1985.  Not bad for a guy who says when he first started running to lose weight in 1977 could not run a mile and ran at night in the evening because he felt self conscious about having others see him run.

For me, this race has some personal meaning as well. My mum and dad were racing in New Brunswick at the same time as Joe. I often came along to run the occasional 5 or 10 km. I remember hearing Joe’s name when awards were presented at the end of the race. My father confirms that he was often bumped down a spot on the podium by Joe. When my dad was catching up with Joe at the race, they were reminiscing about exchanging greetings with Joe before he reached the turnaround of his first marathon, Joe had reached the turnaround and was running back. My dad wore his 1987 Joe McGuire race shirt to accompany me to the race today only just outdoing another gentleman in a 1988 Joe McGuire race shirt! If I got the math right since 2019 was the 33rd running of the race, the race only started in 1986!

The route

Joe McGuire Race routeYou start at the Woodstock fire station , run to the bridge, cross the river, run along the river on the north side, turn around and come back. The finish is NOT the same as the start line. The finish is on the far side of the bridge, which saves you running up the hill over the bridge at the end of the race. But it does mean you need to either take the shuttle back to the fire station, walk back to the start, or if you have a cheering team old enough to drive, they can drive the car to the parking lot at the finish. The 10 km route goes further down the river before turning around.

There was one water stop at the 5 km turnaround and another water stop at the 10km turnaround.

The hills

Because you don’t cross the bridge on the way back, this course is a net downhill. The last mile or so is uphill, but not too steep. The downhills are a nice incline, gentle and long enough they help your pace. I’ve shared the elevation chart  from my Garmin below:

Joe McGuire Race elevation chart

Fun for runners of all levels

This race brings out a mix of serious runners and community runners which is kind of awesome. This is evident when you look at the wide range of paces in the age group winners. In the 50-59 women of the 10 km, first place time was 40:04, 2nd place was 43:12, and 3rd place was 1:05:34. The women’s 40-49 first place time was 57:52. Curious if you would have placed in your age group in 2019, take a look at the 2019 results.  Everyone crossing the line receives a finisher medal, but no matter what your finish time, you should stick around until they post the age results, just in case! FYI – They present the awards after the last runner finishes.

Fast runners are likely coming out to run the race because it is a good course to set a Personal best (I set a 5 km PB here), and because the 10 km is part of the Run Trackie Superseries. and you can accumulate points towards the provincial standings.

What’s unique about the race

The medals are handed out by the race’s namesake: Joe McGuire himself.


It’s a community race, so that means prizes, swag bag goodies, and post race snacks are often donates by local businesses. It’s wonderful how the local businesses support the race. In 2019 instead of a t-shirt you got a really nice coffee mug (pictured in the photo at the top of this post). First place male and female overall in each race got an embroidered race towel. 

There were draw prizes too. They draw the names ahead of time, so all you have to do is stop by the table to see if there is a prize with your name on it.

There were old-school engraved medals with the race name, year, age group, and finishing place for 1st through 3rd in every age group. I don’t see many medals engraved like that these days. The age groups were 10 years, but they had an under 14 age group and a 15-19 age group in the 5 km this year. (Kudos to the talented 12 year old who was first female in the 5 km race finishing in 20:11!)

Post race food

There were bagels, watermelon, oranges, and coffee. There were also Timbits and chocolate milk which made me happy.  Covered bridge Potato Chips also provided full size bags of chips at the finish line as well 🙂

Covered Bridge Potato Chips



There were 2 port-a-potties beside the start line and one port-a-potty in the finish area.


At the start line, you can park behind the fire station. Don’t park at the guest house across the street. There were guests whose cars were blocked in by runners.

At the finish line, there is a parking lot next to the finish area.

How did my race go?

If you are curious about my personal race, like several others at the race, I arrived hoping to run a personal best. I made sure to line up at the start line, since 4-5 seconds caught behind a slow runner can make a difference when trying to best your 5 km time.  At the last minute I realized there was no timing mat at the start, another reason to line up at the front if you have a time goal!  The race is chip timed but all times are gun time.

Thanks to adrenalin and downhill my first km was solidly sub 4 minutes. Suffice to say that did not last, but I was able to maintain a decent pace, until the turnaround point. Fortunately the slight headwind on the downhill was a tailwind on the uphill. I managed to finish wheezing with an 11 second PB. Mission accomplished, as an added bonus I won my age group, but it was the personal best I really wanted 🙂

If you enjoyed this post check out other race reports and running related posts






One response to this post.

  1. […] a PB friendly race. There’s a 5 km in New Brunswick near my parents place, called the Joe McGuire race that is flat and fast! My dad drove me out while I was visiting, there was a little bit of wind, […]


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