Event and Race Reviews
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St. Albert 10 Mile Road Race
(St. Albert, Alberta)
Distance: 10 Miles
Time of Year: Annually in April
2006 was my second year doing this race.
This is one of the Timex series races, and is one of the first big races of the season. It attracts a fairly fast group of runners, but is just as good a course for those of us who are a little slower. The race is put on by the St. Albert Road Runners and Triathlon Club.
Start Line: The race starts and finishes at Grandin Mall in St. Albert, which is centrally located. There is lots of parking at the mall and across the street North at either the Legion or by the Arden Theatre. There are bathrooms in the mall and porta-potties set up outside (South) of the mall, so the wait is not too long. The only negative for the race start is that the chip pickup occurs the morning of the race. This year, there was a long wait to get the chip, which delayed the race start by 15 minutes. The race starts on the road just to the east of the mall, and is a gun start.
Course: The course is sort of a figure-8, and is fairly hilly. The first 10K winds through the neighbourhoods of St Albert north of the river, starting on an uphill. The first water station is about 1 1/2 miles in (the course is marked in miles), and runners hit the same water station just after the halfway mark (where there is another porta potty. the sign reads, "Pay toilet ahead. Runners are free.") Smile
The course is very well marshalled, with volunteers and RCMP directing traffic at every intersection and volunteers at every turn, so there is no worry about getting off course. Traffic is light through most of the race, but the runners' lane is marked by pylons the whole way.
At the halfway mark, the course turns downhill, back toward the river for about 1 1/2 miles. Runners pass the mall, and then the next uphill section starts again. From about 6.5 miles to 8.5, it is "rolling" hills - 4 hills with flat or slight downhill sections between them. Coming at this point in the race, it can be very challenging and it is not uncommon to see people walking parts of the hills. Water stations are rounded out by a third at the 8.5 mile mark, just at the top of the last hill.
Turning the corner back to the mall, the last mile is almost all downhill, guaranteeing a strong finish.
Finish Line: The setup allows the announcer to call each runner's name as they approach the finish line. It is a chip finish, and volunteers will remove your chip for you after you cross. Water is provided at the finish, and you will be directed to the food and beverages inside the mall, as well as your free massage (which I did not take advantage of this time.) Food included the standard bananas, oranges, cookies, yogurt, juice, donuts, as well as coffee, ice cream, popsicles, and more. It was plentiful and even at the awards volunteers were bringing food and juice around to offer to the runners.
Organization/Volunteers: STARRT does a great job with this race. Aside from the short wait to pick up chips, there was nothing lacking. They seemed to have thought of everything. Volunteers were numerous, and experienced. Many of them are STARRT members and are used to racing themselves, so provided lots of encouragement to the runners.
Extras: There are no medals for this race, but the T-shirt is long sleeved technical, and is always a great design. This year the shirts fit a little bigger than usual. Numerous door prizes from the sponsors included a Garmin 301, bike, gym memberships, etc. I didn't win anything, but was impressed with the prizes. The weather was great, too. The price to enter this race can't be beat. I believe it was around $35, so it is easily the best value for my money of any race I've done.