I know I said that Mount Stewart would be the next featured trail run, and I did actually run there on Friday (…well, sort of), but I also did a race this weekend so I thought I’d post about that this week instead!
The Hatley Castle 8 K is the fourth race in the Frontrunners Island Race Series, and one of my favourites as it’s partially on the trails of Royal Roads University. I used to run in and around this area when I lived out in Langford, so I know the area and the route quite well.
Because it’s the only 8 km race I ever do, I never really go into this race with a set pace or time goal. I couldn’t even remember what I ran it in last year, so I just ran it at whatever pace felt hard, but not too vomit-inducing.
The race is usually at the end of February/early March, so it can be pretty chilly, even with an 11 am start time. Besides a scenic course (ocean views, Hatley Castle, forest trails, peacocks… yes, peacocks), the event itself is really well organized, with a clearly marked course, friendly volunteers, an efficient package pick-up, a good post-race spread (someone even made gluten-free goodies!), and post-race massage. Other pluses of this race include age group awards to 10th place (medals for the top three, ribbons for places four through 10 in five-year age group categories), a 100m timed sprint at the end (the fastest overall male and female win a jersey), good draw prizes (Frontrunners gift certificates, yoga classes, foam rollers, local restaurant gift certificates), free hot coffee (very important), a cheap entry fee (only $20 for the early bird rate!) and live timing (so you know whether you should stick around for the awards or not!).
The course itself is challenging, with a few gradual climbs (one at the start, at about the one kilometre mark on College Drive and another one about 5 k in at Wishart Road) and one nasty climb at the 3 kilometre mark near the university campus. Once you get to the top of Wishart and turn back down on to the trails, it’s all relatively downhill from there.
This was my third year running (and placing!) the Hatley 8k. I was pretty happy with my time of 37 minutes-ish, which I’m pretty sure was faster than last year.
Bri’s Race Rating (out of five stars)
My Garmin route map of the race (for more information about the elevation, distance, route, etc.)
Post-race food: ★★★★★
Race Garment: N/A
Race Expo: ★★★
Oh, and if you’re curious about my sort-of Mount Stewart run… we actually got lost (haha!) and spent so much time taking pictures that we ran out of time to get there and back. We’re planning on setting out earlier next week, and this time we (hopefully) know where we’re going!