The L3 WESCAM Team joined close to 10 thousand participants celebrating the 125th running of the Around the Bay Road Race.Since its inception in 1894, the Around the Bay has become one of the nation’s most iconic races, growing over the years to include not only its signature 30K but also a 5K, 2x15K relay and a 3x10K relay.
Members of WESCAM’S team participated in the 3x10K relay, the 30K and the 5K raising close to $400 for St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation. Over the past 14 years, St. Joe’s has raised over $3.5 million to support patient care and research at the Hospital. WESCAM’s Team, Alexandra Usyk, donated because “St. Joes has cared for family and friends, and my small donation was one way I could give back.” New this year, the charity challenge provided other worthy causes the chance to raise funds through this historic event.
This was WESCAM’s Jamie Fitzgibbon second 30K Around the Bay, “I’ve taken up running as it is something I can do on my own time (running before the kids wake up and work) or on weekend mornings (again before the kids wake up). This is a great event to be a part of and so close to where I live. I also try to set a good example for my kids in that physical exercise should be part of your life. When we got home from the race two of my girls said they want to do the run with me when they are teenagers.”
The 30K is longer than a half marathon, yet shorter than a marathon, and it takes participants through downtown Hamilton, up and down overpasses, then onto Beach Boulevard. After crossing the Canal lift bridge, the race turns onto Eastport Drive to Northshore Blvd. The race turns westbound onto Northshore Blvd., and then west onto Plains Rd. Runners continue on Plains Rd. up the Valley Inn Rd. Hill (no small task at the 26K mark), entering Hamilton on York Blvd. and finish into FirstOntario Centre at York Blvd. and Bay St. See map https://bayrace.com/images/map-30k.jpg
WESCAM’s Cathy Jackson took part in the 3x10K relay but has set the 30K as a goal for next year, “When I was coming home from the relay along York Blvd., I witnessed all these people climbing the hill on York Blvd. Old and young, big and small. Some barely moving but not giving up. Knowing they had been pushing themselves for the last 4 hours and that they were almost at the finish line was pretty impressive.”
The experience for those who are there to support is equally as rewarding. While video exists, there is nothing like being there on race day. The excitement is palpable amongst families and well-wishers who line the course with signs or in costumes to encourage the runners. “My wife and kids came out both last year and this year. They met me on the route and at the end. I almost missed them mid route because I was in the zone and had my headphones on. Another runner had to turn me around. It’s great to have that support when you’re doing something like this because the 30 km is definitely not easy for me so that helps to keep you going,” said Jamie.
The average daily high on race day is 4 degrees Celsius, which sits close enough to 0, that rain, snow, sleet and sun can be on tap on any given Around the Bay race day. This year, runners woke to a fresh blanket of snow.
Alexandra says, “I had a personal goal to go outside more this year. Training for the Around the Bay motivated me to go outside and on the trails a lot earlier in the year, and I was excited to take part in a long-standing Hamilton tradition. My goal for next year is to join Team WESCAM again and run a personal best.”
Registration is open for next year’s Around the Bay. With a long history that began as the brainchild of a cigar store owner, the Around the Bay is in its 126th year. Winners include the best from around the world, from Boston Marathon winners and Olympic gold medalists.