As I sit down to write this i am still beaming about my race at the Run for the Grapes. It was a beautiful day for a run, maybe just a bit windy during some parts of the first half of the half. But the route was still fast and on day 85 of my run streak I ran 21k, set a new PR and scored a third-place medal for overall males.
It was the 35th annual Run for the Grapes, part of the Niagara Wine Festival that is taking place in downtown St. Catharines over two weekend. The half marathon starts on James Street just steps away from Market Square. The course takes runners through a few streets in Western Hill before sending them out to Louth, by the new hospital and towards the vineyards west of the city.The turnaround is just passed the 11k marker and the course takes you back downtown over a lot of the same streets.
Since I set my previous half PR (1:31.40) during last year’s Grapes half and this was my third half marathon, I was naturally looking to set a new personal best. My goal time was 1:24. I finished the race in 1:23.46, smashing my PR by about eight minutes. My plan was to run even splits and to push the pace during the second half of the race. My first kilometer was a little fast and I struggled to keep my pace during the second kilometer, mostly because of the hill near Rodman Hall but I was able to get back on my plan. I felt strong throughout the race, staying on pace while running into the wind during parts of the first half and hitting 11k in just over 44 minutes.
As I approached the turn I saw the leaders coming toward me and was pumped when I counted three ahead of me. It helped me focus on my pace, which I was starting to push. My plan called for a faster second, but I had some rolling hills on Eighth Street Louth to contend with and, probably the hardest part of the course, a couple of tough hills to climb over the last two km. I was able to run the last 10k in just over 39 minutes and was proud to be the first local to finish, fourth overall and third overall male, in front of family and friends. I even made the St. Catharines Standard.
Also so proud of my brother-in-law Phil Moreau and sister-in-law Sarah Moreau for setting personal bests themselves. Way to go guys. Check out their times here.
Overall, it was a great run on a great day. Temperatures were perfect, volunteers were enthusiastic at all the water stations. The course was well-marked and Niagara Regional Police did a great job at controlling traffic. I’d recommend this race and look forward to hitting another personal best there next year.
Next up for me is the Niagara Falls International Marathon in October.