Ever stumble upon a race and think, “I have to make this race happen!” I can’t quite remember how I came to hear about The Maritime Race Weekend, but likely I stumbled upon it on social media. I connected with the race director (Michelle) and followed the race’s social media pages. Michelle does an amazing job with all the posts. She also does an exceptional job working with her sponsors and volunteers to get people engaged and excited about the race. Go follow the race now, seriously. 🙂
Okay, so once I decided I wanted to run this race, I had to see what my husband thought. He was all in for a family trip down east! He has family in Canso and loved the thought of getting to see them while we were there.
Awesome! Plans were in play.
Packed into a rented Malibu, we left very early on Saturday (4am) and drove straight through. Overall the drive down was great. Aside from the car being crazy full with all our stuff and of course the big bodies (we are a family of five, wife, hubby, 2 boys, 22/20 and our daughter 18). My eldest son is passionate about outdoor adventure and practically begged us to camp on the Cabot Trail. So in addition to all our stuff, we included 5 sleeping bags, 5 pillows and 2 tents!! I should have taken pictures as we left, but I trust most of you can get a visual. 🙂
First Stop, Canso N.S
We arrived in Canso around 10pm, after some hellos and hugs we were all in bed by 10:30pm! We spent the next few days visiting our Canso family, exploring, dipping in the Atlantic Ocean and hanging out together. We headed out Tuesday to the Cabot Trail. It started out very foggy and we were not quite sure what kind of camping conditions we’d get by the end of the day. We booked our backcountry camping site and took a chance. It was approximately an hour hike, mostly down, to get to our site BUT what a view!
We were instructed to hang any food items up and away from our tents as there were black bears, moose and coyotes. Needless to say, I slept extremely light! We did not bring much with us so using my Ottawa Marathon bag seemed perfect to hoist our food up!
The next morning we woke up and my daughter was 18!! Happy Birthday Rebekah!!! We planned to celebrate with dinner in Halifax that evening. We still needed to climb back up this incredible trail that took a little longer and somehow was a little less enjoyable. 🙂 I questioned if I could actually run an unsupported ultra from this experience. Side note, I’m always thinking about future goals. 😉
We made it to Halifax found a neat restaurant that apparently had just opened. Turned out that it was so new it didn’t have a dessert menu yet. 🙁 So much for cake to celebrate! Fortunately, Bec was meeting up with a childhood friend for the night and they decided to go for dessert together. We would continue to celebrate when we returned home.
The End of Camping
We decided the camping had gone well, so we ended up camping 2 more nights. We headed to Peggy’s Cove, as it was a must on our list.
Lonely Rock, Fox Island, then Peggy’s Cove
The 3rd camping night we ended up getting rained out. So much rain, by 3am the boys had stuff floating around in their tent. From inside our tent there was a gentle mist covering us. We all hopped in the car and headed to Tim Hortons. By 4am we were back at the tents, hoping to sleep a bit. That didn’t happen. I called ahead to the hotel we had booked in Dartmouth for the race. Did I mention I was running? They were so accommodating, they told us to come anytime as they would have a room ready for us!
As mentioned above, Bec had a friend living near by and we are friends with her parents. Graciously they allowed us to go to their place and throw some stuff in the dryer and get reorganized. We decided we were done camping and threw out some gear! This of course gave us more space in the vehicle.
Tartan Twosome Races
The hotel had a pool, sauna and hot tub that we were all looking forward to enjoying. We decided to order in and relax. I had hoped to get a nap in before the race, as I had not slept at all the night before. Not a chance. Friday night was the Sunset 5K Race. The weather forecast for the weekend looked very gloomy with lots of rain. Fortunately, the rain held off until we were back at the hotel. The next race was at sunrise! Start-time was 8am and I was doing the half marathon. The rain stopped about an hour before the race start, but when we started there was a lot of fog. Originally, when I signed up for this race I somehow got the impression that it was a flat race. Mistaken, I know! Everyone I talked to when I first arrived just chuckled as there apparently is not a lot of flat areas in Dartmouth. I was a little nervous mainly as I did not know what to expect. I was also excited as this was a good test/training run for the MEC Race that I have coming up in Ottawa.
I decided at the last minute to run without carrying my own water. The first time ever that I would rely on water stations. I understood that there would be water stations every 3km or so, so I took a chance. I was so glad I did! I loved running “free”. There were more than enough stations throughout the course and I didn’t mind grabbing water for a quick break. Coincidentally, located often at the top of a hill! Oh and there were some decent hills, character building ones in fact.
along the route, it’s impossible to really capture hills (I find)
What made this race so enjoyable was the energy of the runners, volunteers and community as a whole. The pirate theme was fun and there were some really great costumes to admire. Somehow I missed the pirate parade and the fireworks had to be cancelled Friday night due to the weather, so it would have only been better had I experienced these things.
AND the medals!!! BEST Bling EVER!
My husband probably enjoyed this race location more than any other race. Fisherman’s Cove is a pretty awesome place if you love the small fishing town feel.
I plan to race it again next year and highly recommend if you are looking for a race to travel to with family or friends, then do this one! Plan on dressing up for the Friday night run in your best pirate get up, you’ll love it!
My plan for the next 3-4 weeks is to do more hill training in preparation for the Ottawa MEC Race. We finally have a little taste of fall, my favourite running season, so I’m excited to kick it up a notch.
What about you, have you travelled for your races? Do you have a recommendation for me? What did you love about it?