Chilly Half-Marathon 2016 Race Report

I’m happy to report another Chilly Half-Marathon is in the books! This is my 6th year in a row doing this half-marathon and one of my most enjoyable!


Run gear laid out before the race. Not quite sure how I should dress because of the temperature

In the leadup to this race I was wracking my brain trying to figure out what to wear. The forecast said it would be a high of +4C, but with a 15km/h wind, but the day started around -8. Should I have brought a jacket? Do I need a thermal layer? Is this shorts weather? Based on a run the week before I decided to go with 2 layers, and that turned out to be just perfect.

Viet, Noor, Anita, Phil and I drove to Burlington in two cars and arrived there around 8:30am. To my chagrin, my favourite parking lot just East of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre (PAC) was closed off because of race road closures, but we found nice parking in the PAC’s multi-story parking structure.

Pre-race photo with the “Burlington Skirt Brigade” (sans Patty). And fewer skirts than usual…

I always enjoy the part before the race where to meet and mingle with runners. Coming out of the parking structure we ran into Nobel who I trained with 3 years ago. In the PAC I met up with Helen and Kristen who I see frequently at local races. I spied my friend Andrew on the upper level and we caught up, and I met his friend Yogi. I saw Anne who used to be the manager of the Square One Running Room. There was also a rather large contingent from the Mississauga YMCA including Danny and Lee. I got a photo with the “Burlington Skirt Brigade” and fellow bloggers Emma, Sam, and Nicole. And, perhaps most importantly, I saw the race director Kelly Arnott.

Selfie with Chilly Half-Marathon Race Director, VRPRO’s Kelly Arnott!!

It’s always nice to be able to stay in the Burlington Performing Arts Centre before the race. It has flush toilets, which is a huge bonus over outdoor porta-potties in the winter. And it’s warm inside and nice for sitting down and stretching. There were even massages and I should have had one while I had the chance.


Group picture before the race with several Mississauga runners


About 20 minutes before the gun went off, our little group headed to the start line. I made a conscious decision not to warm up and save the warm-up for the first few kilometers of the race. I saw Patty with her 2:15 pacer sign as we headed out. We weaved our way to the very back of the starting corrall behind the 2:45 pacer. I was pleasantly surprised to see Bryan who I paced at the Oakville Half-Marathon last fall. And we saw Ashley who works at the Square One Running Room and her mother who was running her first half!


First 13km

I started the race as expected, nice and slow and in the back of the pack. Viet and Noor took off almost immediately but Phil and I stayed together for almost the first 5km. It didn’t seem as crowded as previous years and I was able to maneuver comfortably through the crowd.

I was a little discouraged that my feet hurt for the first 10km or so of the race. This foot tingling thing has plagued me for years. I think I really should have warmed up!

Speaking of warm-up, it felt REALLY warm on the course. It was bright and sunny and just a hint of breeze. I think I dressed perfectly, well, almost perfectly: I wish I had worn a visor instead of a headband. But the sunglasses came in really handy.

I didn’t take any walk breaks for the first 6km or so, even though my feet were hurting. I felt my pace was pretty slow and not taxing at all.

Around the 8km mark I finally caught up to the 2:20 run/walk pacer. I had seen him in the distance since about 5km and I made it a point of trying to catch him. His name was Ian and I think he was doing a great job. I introduced myself to him and told him I was doing his job last year.

Shortly after I passed the 2:20 pace group, I happened upon a group of people wearing Tutu’s and antenna-like pom-pom things on their heads. They identified themselves as fairies. Then I recognized the lone guy as JP who I met at Scotia in the fall when he was ran the full-marathon course three times!! I think they were the only runners in costume, which was a big change from my last race which was in Walt Disney World.

Around 11km the circulation to my feet was FINALLY in a normal state. That was also a time I started to see a lot of people heading back, including some others I hadn’t seen before the race like Javaid.

Shortly before the turn around I was pleasantly surprised to RUN into Anita. We’ve been training together for months and we ran all of the Scotia Half together last October. She was still going strong but she says she started a bit too fast. We stayed together until the turn and then she gradually fell back.


13km to end

After the turn-around there was a noticeable headwind. I feel like it didn’t add much resistance but was lovely for cooling in the later part of the race. It felt like a lot more uphill on the way back, but that may have just been a trick of fatigue. Also, my right hip flexor was bothering me a bit on the way back. I guess that means I should do some more core exercises in the months to come.

Photo of Patty's Garmin as she paced an essentially perfect 2:15 (photo stolen from her Facebook)
Photo of Patty’s Garmin as she paced an essentially perfect 2:15 (photo stolen from her Facebook)

Before the turnaround I saw Patty, the 2:15 pacer had just passed the turnaround. I was hoping to catch up with her. I saw what looked like her pink ears in the distance. However, when I caught up to that person it was one of JP’s “fairies” who had pink pom-pom antenna ear things. I did catch up with Patty right at the finish line. She paced with a chip time of exactly 2:14:58.5, which is incredible! I bow down to her pacing accuracy and precision.

I thought I was running much, much faster in the second half. However, my own Garmin data shows I crossed the 10.5km point at 1:06, so it wasn’t exactly a split-negative time. I was running faster, but I was also taking walk breaks which evidently brought down my average speed.

Andrew’s friend Yogi and I were passing each other constantly over this stretch. I would usually pass him on an uphill, then he’d pass me when I took a walk break. That was probably a pretty good sign that I was running at a fairly even pace.

I prettymuch broke into a sprint for the last kilometer, probably pushing 5:30min/km for the last stretch. As I crossed the finish line, Kelly Arnott was reading the names, and she gave me a special shout out when she saw my name! Yay!


Date Event Goal Time Chip Time Gun Time
2016/03/06 Chilly Half-Marathon Finish 2:14:10.0 2:18:05.9


Post-Race Thoughts

I’m very happy with my time in this race, especially since I started slow, didn’t really have many expectations, and was just trying to have fun. This is actually my fastest half-marathon since I paced the Oakville Half-Marathon in September 2012! That’s a good sign!!


Post-race selfie with the medal

At this point I also want to commend the race on much improved water stations. They were at regular intervals and on major intersections which made them well-spaced and easy to expect. And they served Gatorade rather than some unknown product like Nuun or Honey Maxx. And, finally, I was impressed that each Gatorade cup was filled only about an inch deep, which is prettymuch perfect for drinking on the run! And of course, a huge thank you to the volunteers at these stations and elsewhere on course!


Group photo after the Chilly Half-Marathon 2016


Finishers Certificate from 2016 Chilly Half-Marathon

Finishers Certificate from 2016 Chilly Half-Marathon

Six years of Chilly Half-Marathon medals
Six years of Chilly Half-Marathon medals


I’m already looking forward to my 7th time doing this race. When does registration open?

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 Comments (9) 

  1. macnic says:

    Congrats on a fantastic run and race, Paul! Its so nice to hit faster milestones again, isn’t it? All the best for your next one!

  2. Mark Young says:

    Nice racing! Congratulations!

  3. Lisa Tong says:

    Congrats on the PB!

  4. Chris says:

    Nice run Paul. Nice to finally find a “guys” running blog I can follow for encouragement. Especially a fellow engineer. Dosn’t hurt that you’re a Sci-fi/gaming fan either. Good luck with your continuing training!

  5. Carmy says:

    LOVE their medals! Way to go Paul!

  6. […] have to. I don’t have any upcoming races. I had a pretty good race earlier this year at the Chilly Half-Marathon, so I’m not worried if I flub this. Might as well leave it all on the […]


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