- 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon
- Road Race
- Event Website
The Bluenose Marathon is one of, if not the largest running events in Atlantic Canada. 2014 marked it's 11th year and was the first time I had experienced it at all. Having competed in a full marathon the weekend before but still eager to find out what the Bluenose was all about, I signed up for the Johnson 5km run.
Like many other large events, the Bluenose has a variety of options for runners of all ages. This year marked the first year that the 5 km race was moved to Saturday, as well as the 2km and 4km kids races. The 10km (with two waves now, due to demand), as well as the half and full marathons remained on Sunday.
The 5km race was held at 3 pm, which was very convenient for me, as I live a couple of hours away. This meant I could save on hotel costs and drive down the day of the event. It also meant I could check out the Active Living Expo, pick up my race kit and still not feel rushed at all. Some people felt that this time of day was tough as it would be very warm, but for a 5 km race that wasn't a concern of mine at all.
The only hiccup we experienced was parking - which was expected with the number of visitors in town and the road closure. We did find a parking garage nearby which was laid out in a confusing manner but we eventually found a spot and made our way to the Expo and kit pickup.
The Active Living Expo was amazing. Lots of great businesses, causes and other races were represented there and the WTCC in Halifax was a great location to hold the expo. It was very close to the race start and had plenty of space for athletes and others to move about and check everything out. A number of impressive speakers were scheduled throughout the weekend, although I missed out on them (including 3 Kenyan athletes who were participating in Sunday's marathon or half). Kit pickup was smooth and easy with no delays at all. There wasn't a lot of swag with the kit, other than the t-shirt but the handouts and other things at the Expo more than made up for this.
The race organization was also top notch. Considering there were well over 2000 runners for the 5km, I can't imagine things going more smoothly. Runners were asked and repeatedly reminded to line up according to expected paces and for the most part they seemed to stick to that. A guard in full regalia from the Halifax Citadel fired his musket to start the race - a first for me!
The course was relatively flat and considering it was downtown in a city, fairly scenic. Halifax is definitely a beautiful city and it was a perfect day weather wise. There was only one aid station, standard for a 5km race and all turns were well marked and staffed by race volunteers. There was also a misting station set up just past the 4 km mark, another first for me which I though was pretty neat.
At the finish, runners were handed their medals and then funneled into the Metro Centre where they could grab some food and drinks as well as instantly find out their time and placing by talking to one of the many volunteers armed with tablets connected to the Chronicle Herald website for race tracking. Another great touch!
Overall, I just can't say enough positives about my experience at the Bluenose. Everyone I spoke to seemed to really enjoy themselves and the community support was fantastic. A huge congrats to the organizers and especially the volunteers on course.