I talked just a little bit about this race in my last half training update but that was just a little teaser to get you to read this post. And it worked! See I’m really smart. I signed up for this one way, way back when I was feeling all itchy to race. I was still thinking at the time that the half I’m training for and running in September would be really slow and mostly ceremonial for me and so I wanted to find a race or two that was just for me along the way. So I figured a fast 10k around the same time I was doing that for speed work was perfect for a PR. Fast forward and I’m not sure that I’ll be going for a PR, maybe a second half a bit later, who knows? Which meant I was I bit conflicted about how hard I should go. Go for that PR or just a little fast it was like the angel and the devil on each shoulder although I don’t know which one was which or the right thing to do still but it worked itself out in the form of a 7 year old boy named Dominic.
The race wasn’t without it’s issues completely but it also ran really well if that’s possible, we’ll get into it, don’t worry. However I do 10 out of 10 recommend you do it plus it’s pretty shiny and affordable at the same time so LOVE that!
A bit about the race: Halifax is a port city and a Navy town. If you go back a couple of centuries (or more) the Navy is pretty much the reason it’s here. This one has been going on in some form for 34 years which is almost me years old, that a hell of a long time! This was the 35th annual Navy 10k. It was run by a local run club for the first 10 years and then the Navy’s personnel support programs took over the event. PSP (because the military and acronyms right?) has run the event since 1998 and it’s their only event of the year open to the public. They use the funds raised for fitness programs and other special events during the year.
It really is an OG North End event running since 1986, way before gentrification and multiple Starbucks locations. The kid’s races are within the base and the 5k and 10k is a loop through the north end.
Parking and weather: So I arrived a 07:45 (military time here) just in time for the first kids race. I parked right on the base and it was easy to get parking. But that was sort of a special case. They really don’t want you parking on the base while the kids are running around there. Their races probably aren’t finished before the registration table closes so it’s best to park on a side street. Gottagen is mostly closed off outside the base for the race. You should also know that the 5k is way more popular than the 10k despite the name, so if you are doing the 10k leaving right after the race isn’t really an issue. So if you plan on picking up kits on race day come early and park on a side street. If you’re also into the kids races you can park on the base with no hold ups for the 10k but plan to hang around for a bit if you’re doing the 5k.
The weather was pretty sucky, pretty hot and really humid. It was 24 C with a humidex of 28 but it was cloudy. Since the race starts later at 09:30 expect to miss the morning cool temperatures. For that reason it’s probably best to plan to bring a back up shirt with you in case you find the race one too warm.
Course: It’s hilly enough but it could be worse in this city with 85 m of elevation gain. It’s mostly on the residential and slightly less busy thoroughfare streets but I have to admit I didn’t take a lot of the sights in. I was busy chatting the first loop and giving it on the second. There was one water stop on the kids course and two on each loop of the grown up course, so that was awesome. My niece hadn’t encountered that before and she was pretty stoked but also in disbelief that people were just standing there to give her water. It is a really popular event and there was probably at least 1000 people there. It’s pretty much all asphalt and no concrete which is nice.
Cheer squad: Lots for the little one two parents, one grandparent and of course a crazy running auntie. But everyone is busy with end of summer stuff and an hour and a half wait before my race started meant it was just me. Honey was at home re-doing the basement sub-floor and I was doing a full day of last minute surprise wedding errands! That’s right we got surprise married the weekend you’re reading this and even though it was to be a tiny event there was still a lot of running around to do it make it real and you know legal and all that. So I waited in the car for a bit and then did my race on my own but that’s cool. Though I do love running races with the former trainee runners I end up just chatting with them and not randoms I meet in the porta-potty line up. Some times like this race that leads to pure magic. I did talk to a lady who made it her goal in 2019 to get fit and collect 12 medals, one for each month, along the way. That’s led to some driving for races though. I also met Dominic and I guess you could say I was his cheer squad for the first loop at least.
I noticed that he was way younger than the age cut off to run on your own but he also had 5k numbers on. One parent was in a wheelchair and the other probably wasn’t going to be running the race either. Plus neither had numbers on. I asked him if he was running all on his own and his parents offered that he was and he was nervous, much to his chagrin. He found me and another lady in the coral and chatted some but when the gun started he took off like a bat out of hell. I pointed out while we were chatting that he could ask me and the other lady for help if he needed it but also that the volunteers in blue shirts were there to help too. But less than a km in he came up behind me and started talking to me. Pretty soon I pulled out my earphones and just decided to run with him.
I learned a lot about Dominic as a person and as a runner, this was his longest race so far, he was freaked out by know knowing who his teacher would be this year and he was 7. He did a great job and it was a pleasure to run with him. I explained to him that he was going through the chute, what a chute was, that I would be going on and I gave him a high five and an extra loud cheer when he crossed the line. Pretty cool kid!
Logistics and support: Race day, great but Navy 10k ya’ll need to get you’re online $hit together! Let’s start there shall we? There are two disused Navy 10k facebook pages but they are currently using the PSP page for updates which was impossible to figure out for me until after the race. Find a spot you will use long term and then delete the other stuff guys and stick with it! Now for the website it loads really slowly which means it sometimes doesn’t load on mobile at all. Could you please add a section that talks about where the funds go to and finally we need some links to things like the facebook page, the event page and if you have one the instagram. All of those places would be a great place to post those last minute changes because millennials sometimes need to be told to check their emails when you send them something. Crazy, another reason to hate us but it’s true.
Other than that you folks did great! Maybe add a porta-potty or two more since that line was crazy long but I think we all made it through. The water stops and intersections were perfectly manned and placed. The traffic control was on point and the post race cookies were the bomb! My niece’s cheer squad also really appreciated the hot Tim’s early in the am. The medals were amazing and special and it’s really cool that the littler racers get the same tees and medals as us old folks.
Race goals: Unclear… I really was snuggling with how fast to go even as I was setting out. On one hand I was ready (probably) for that PR and who doesn’t want that? On the other hand how would that effect the next week of half marathon training. This was a speed workout so give ‘er right? On the other hand how bad did I want to smell running all those errands later. Spoiler I smelled terrible anyway.
One little note: Dominic was under the age 8 cut off (allegedly) but I don’t think that’s to be held against the organizers. Confession time we snuck my niece into a kid’s triathlon two months before her third birthday recently. It’s a parent’s choice really and being the age police is really not a race director’s job on top of all the other job’s they already have. For races that allow a gown up to run with kids, how do they know some other person isn’t running with this kid regardless of last names or even that it’s just a typo. Finally a parent could easily register themselves and just not run on the day. But I found out his goal was to run the longest race he’d ever done. His longest one was the 4k at Bluenose so far. Going easy on the first loop and hard on the second one turned out to be the perfect compromise given how hot an muggy it was on the day.
Nail Polish: I choose a very light grey blue since that’s one of the colors the ocean can be and that’s where you can often find the Navy. And my nails were already painted that color.
Swag: Pretty good really given that highest price race is $40. You get a shirt (polyester but not technical) tee and a sweet medal. There are lots of treats at the end and some other vendors giving away swag like the van for circe du sole giving free pens and a chance to win free tickets. I gather that over the last few years they’ve tried and succeeded in making the medals really special in relation to the military. I stole this infographic from their website which explains this years medal. It might be nice if they included a blurb about how and why they want it to be special year after year on the website too. Honey who comes from a military family was really taken with the design.
Time: 1:10:15 (chip)
Overall: 271/ 313
Shoes Asics Gel Cumulus 18’s (second pair)
Had I run the first half as fast as the second I would have been less than a minute off my 10k PR, But I still definitely made the right choice.
Looking back: This is a great race for a good cause and very well organized. I could definitely see myself doing it again. I love me a good 10k but it often falls dead smack in the middle of training season. For years where that fits its a good budget choice and the fact that it’s got a kid’s run makes it a winner in my books. The best part though was meeting a new running friend!