Posts Tagged ‘5km’

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






Diefenbooker race report

Today was 23rd annual Diefenbooker race day. It’s hard to believe it took me this long to get out and do it!


It takes a village of volunteers!

This is a community race. I was immediately impressed by their team of volunteers. As we arrived, volunteers directed us to a parking spot. When we walked into the building, a volunteer asked if we needed race day registration. We said yes, so she  provided us with forms to fill out, asked what races we were doing along with our shirt sizes then proceeded to fetch our t-shirts and bibs. Once we had completed our forms she directed us to another volunteer who took down our information and payment (cash only by the way). Additional volunteers were ready to hand out bibs and t-shirts to those who had pre-registered. There were also plenty of volunteers along the route managing traffic, making sure we did not miss turns, and cheering us on.

IMG_20190504_165733Race day registration runs from 7:30 AM to 8:30 AM. We arrived just before 8 AM. The line for race day registration was a bit of a bottleneck by 8:15, but they kept it open late so everyone could be processed. But, if you decide to race, it would be a kindness to the volunteers and organizers to pre-register or arrive early on race day to register. Pre-registration also helps you get your preferred t-shirt size. The smallest women’s shirt they had by the time I arrived was a women’s large. The shirts are cotton by the way, not technical shirts. Fairly common for community races.


A race for the whole family

This is a great family event, with races for everyone! There was a 5 km, 18km, and 33 km cycle. There was a 5km, and 10 km run for those who want to race. There was also a 5 km walk for those who prefer a more gentle pace. There are also shorter races for the youngest family members. A 1 km race for 12 and under, and the loonie loop for 2 to 6 year olds. The 2 yr olds do not race against the 6 year olds. They do one race for each age 🙂 Such fun to watch a line of 2 year olds race about 30 m across a field as fast as their legs will carry them. Parents, siblings, grandparents and total strangers stand on the sidelines cheering them on. Of course there are always one or two confused toddlers who stop and look around bewildered not entirely sure what is going on, but family are only a few feet away to rescue them if needed.

Running through the Diefenbunker

blasttunnelOne of the really cool things about the 5 km and 10 km races is that you get to run through the Diefenbunker blast tunnel.  The blast tunnel was designed and constructed to allow the pressure wave from a nuclear blast to enter and then be diverted away from the actual bunker itself where key members of the Canadian government would be relocated in the event of nuclear attack.

I did the bike ride instead of the run so I did not get to run through the tunnel. Clearly, I need to return next year to do the run so I can run through the tunnel!

The bike ride

The 33 km bike route took us along country roads. There was very little traffic and only a few hills. All the turns were clearly marked. You did need to keep an eye out for cracks and potholes. Not surprising for a spring race in Ottawa. I did the ride on a good road bike and would use the same bike if I return. I guess I should specify, what I mean by a “good” bike, since that definition can vary widely! My bike is is a Trek Lexa SLX :aluminum frame, carbon forks, Bontrager components and Bontrager alloy wheels, Shimano 105 drivetrain. Another cyclist who rode with us for a good part of the race did comment that he was glad he brought his “B” bike and not his racing bike given the road conditions.  Save that bike for riding in the Gatineau hills.

The 33 km cyclists started just ahead of the 18 km cyclists, and the 5 km cyclists started last. This worked out well since the faster cyclists tended to be doing the longer distances. By breaking up the starts, you don’t have an 8 year old on their mountain bike jockeying for position with my cycling commuter husband clipped into his pedals riding his Marinoni.

A community race with community sponsors

The cycling races are cycle tours which means, unlike the running races, they are not timed. As a result, I was surprised when they asked me to pull over at the finish line. Apparently I was the 2nd female overall in the 33km bike. I was presented with gift certificates for Kin Vineyards and The Cheshire Cat Pub (make sure you read their road sign when you are in the area). local businesses can be such great supporters of community races!)

Even if you don’t get a top three finish, the 2019 bibs included $20 off any purchase of $100 at Bushtukah. It is far too easy for me to spend  over $100 at Bushtukah, and it just so happens I need to buy a pair of trail running shoes. You also got a coupon for a free Kichesippi beer at the Cheshire Cat Pub (valid on race weekend). I also heard a rumour kids who did the Loonie Loop got a coupon for a free ice cream (but I have no way of fact checking that, so don’t make any promises of free ice cream to your kids, just in case I am wrong)

img_20190504_165718.jpgThank you to all the sponsors who contributed to this community event! Giving away gift certificates is smart, because now my husband and I are planning a return trip to Carp for dinner at the pub and a stop at the vineyard. Maybe we can combine it with an attempt on the Diefenbunker Escape room.

Washrooms and bag check

Yes there is a bag check inside the building

There are washrooms inside the building and they also had 5 port-a-potties in the parking lot.  I appreciated the indoor washrooms when I realized I had absent mindedly put my bib bike shorts on backwards when I got up in the morning and needed to remedy the situation before the race start. Glad I didn’t have to do that in a port-a-potty!

The Diefenchunk

img_20190504_165353.jpgAnother unique aspect of this race is the medals. In addition to receiving gift certificates for my top 3 finish, they also presented me with a very original medal. The middle of the medal has a small piece of concrete glued to it. Apparently I received a “Diefenchunk” 🙂  Presumably meant to be taken from the Diefenbunker, though my husband and I wondered if perhaps they were taken from some of the more impressive potholes on the course!

Diefenchunk medals are awarded to top three men and women overall in each cycling race, in the 5km and 10 km running races, the 5 km walk and to the first place age group winners in the 5 km and 10 km running races.


The Diefenbooker is a well organized, fun spring race for runners and cyclists of any age and ability. The funds raised support organizations in West Carleton that promote literacy, encourage physical activity or personal wellness. Little touches like the Diefenchunk and running through the tunnel make it one of the more original races in the Ottawa area. I’ll be back. Maybe I’ll see you there!


If you are interested, I have other running related posts and race reports

Emile’s Run Race Report

EMiliesRunFriendsThere are more and more all female races out there, last week I ran my first: Emilie’s run. The race was established in 2007, in memory of Émilie Mondor. Emilie competed for Canada in the 2004 Olympics and died at the age of 25 in a car accident. She was the first Canadian woman to complete a 5,000 m in under 15 minutes. (14:59.68 at the world championships in Paris 2003).

Emilie Mondor

Emilie Mondor

The race appealed because in addition to being a welcoming race for female runners of all levels, it’s a race that celebrates competitive female runners.  The event aims to give competitive women a chance to lead a race, set the pace, and be the overall winners. (The prize money helps attract some strong runners)

Emilie’s run is a 5 km spring race in Ottawa. The route is a simple loop on the experimental farm.

A couple of useful things to know if you are thinking of running (as of 2019):

You can pick up your race kit on race day at the start or Thursday at Bushtukah

  • Parking – There was free parking,  but the posted race lot was full when we arrived. There were some other lots around but the signs seemed to indicate 90 minute parking. We decided to keep it simple and just paid for parking at the agriculture museum which was a nice short walk to the start, and I have no objection to supporting the agriculture museum with a few $.
  • There are two hills, not very steep, but fairly long
  • You get a necklace instead of a medal at the finish line
  • They have bag check and there are bagels and bananas at the finish
  • There is a 1 km Fun run as well
  • Wheelchair friendly route
  • Port-a-potties are located at the start area, and a short walk away are the heated indoor toilets.

For the casual runner looking for a fun run:

  • There is a water stop around half way
  • When I ran (2019), the last pair crossed the finish line at 1:25, the previous 9 runners all came in between 45 minutes and 55 minutes

If you are a tad competitive (like me)

  • There is prize money (unusual for a 5 km) so this race attracts some fast women! $750 for first place, $500 for 2nd, $350 for 3rd, $200 for 4th, $100 for 5th.
  • It’s interesting to compete in a race that is all women and has some serious competition for the top spots.
  • The overall winner in 2019 finished in 16:52.9, fifth place 18:35.5 (that’s how fast you had to be in 2019 to take home $)
  • First place in the masters finished in 18:59.2 and won $250
  • There were 14 women who finished in under 20 minutes
  • They have timing mats and clocks at every km, so you can keep an eye on your splits.
  • It’s a fairly fast course, but it does have a long hill at km 2-3 and km 4-5 and if it’s windy you are guaranteed to have a stretch with a headwind because it’s a loop and there is not much shelter from the wind.
  • The road isn’t closed before the race starts, but you can do a nice warm up running out to the 1 km flag and back.

EMiliesRunSusanHow was my race? I am a runner who occasionally sneaks in a top 3 in her age group. I finished in 22:10 which is within a minute of my 5 km Personal Best. I finished 23rd overall, 2nd in my age group.  I enjoyed racing with such a strong pack of women runners.  I think I would have been at least 10 seconds slower if not for Kailey (that’s her in front of me in edge of the photo) for being just close enough and tall enough for me to draft behind on the windy sections. Thank you Kailey!