Around the Bay Tips

There are some races that bring people back every single year – Around the Bay is one of them. Sadly, I am missing out on the Around the Bay action this year as I cannot make it down to the Toronto-area (race is in Hamilton). I am not the biggest fan of winter running, so the 30KM race is usually out of the question for me, but the 5K is a fun race. Around the Bay is one of those races that brings out so many runners that it tends to be a bit of a running party. I feel like I’m missing out on that party this year, but will definitely be tracking some runners on Sunday!

Are you travelling to Hamilton to take part this year?

I have no comments on the 30KM race course. It is in Hamilton, a place I lived for four years. The race is exactly as described in the title – you go around the bay! Don’t worry, you don’t run over the large bridge that the general population drives on, and apparently this year the big hill is gone. The 5K route is one of my favourite routes – an out and back route with an uphill for the first half, and downhill for the second. All you have to do is just stare at First Ontario Centre and concentrate on running as fast as you can. The 5K route is  PB/PR race – my 5K PB is from this race.

Here are some tips if you are attending the 2016 Around the Bay Races!


Tip #1 – Bring all the layers

Once again, Around the Bay seems to happen on one of those super cold spring days. This week’s Hamilton weather is all spring like, with a few days over 12C. But Sunday? A balmy high of 1C. That honestly isn’t too bad, but it will be a chilly one. Do not make the mistake that many runners make on this cooler spring days – overdress. I believe I mentioned this last year as I did indeed overdress for the 2014 Around the Bay 5K. Last year the high on Around the Bay day was only 5C, only a few degrees warmer than last year. I ran STWM in what I believe was 0-3C in shorts and t-shirt. A throw away layer is key for the start of either race. Make sure you have some warm layers for after as well. Capri’s/light leggings and a long sleeved top/light jacket would be perfect.

Remember that you do get to wait indoors for the race! Stay warm!

Don’t Dress like me!


Tip #2 – Have a parking plan!

There are many runners coming to Hamilton for the race – parking can get a bit crazy. The race start is in downtown Hamilton and it is mostly one way streets. It is easy to just keep doing circles and finding an accessible lot, but be warned you will be paying over $10 (more like 15-20 dollars) for parking.

My special tip from me to you – HAMILTON PLACE

Go park there, it is underground and close to the start. You can leave your after race comfy gear inside the car and it will be warm. Be warned that it is very hard to see the location of the parking lot by Main Street. Check out Google Street view. It looks like you are going to drive into Hamilton Place, but don’t worry there is a parking lot there. I’ve never had a problem parking there.

Just ensure you get to the race EARLY (an hour before at least)- remember, you wait for the race indoors with indoor heating and indoor toilets.

Tip #3 – 5K’rs Wait for the washrooms….

Ok – so First Ontario Place gets extremely busy close to the 30K start. Washroom lines for miles. 5K runners – do your 30K runners a favour and let them use the washrooms first before you go for your last pre-race visit. Once the 30K racers start heading to the start (about 30 minutes before), the washroom lines magically disappear. Last year, I saw the 30K’s off, went to the washroom and still had time to warm up indoors. The 5K race is significantly smaller in size and you just have to pop right outside to get to the start.

Tip #4 – No Bag Check

Remember this – leave valuables at home, don’t leave anything behind you won’t miss and find some friends that are staying behind. There are always people waiting inside, find some friends – use Twitter as a connection tool. I had my Run Ottawa water station leader at the race last year to watch my stuff (he was watching all the Run Ottawa gear), but I only left my sweats. Everything else stayed in my car, or just didn’t come at all. A benefit of a cooler race is that you can have a jacket with pockets to store your keys/phone.

Tip #5 – Afterwards

Starbucks – At the Sheraton Hotel

Mulberry Street Coffee House – A few blocks away on James Street North

Burgers – The Works on King Street, right next to the Starbucks

More Pub Fun – Hess Village, a couple of blocks away

Have a car and willing to drive? – Bean Bar in Westdale (Near McMaster)


If you are racing on Sunday – Good Luck! Let me know if you are racing and I will virtually cheer you on!


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1 Comment

  1. Kristi@BlogforanAverageRunner

    Thanks for the parking advice! It is going to be cold on Sunday, indoor parking sounds good. I hate that they don’t have bag check at ATB


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