Posted by: Kennedy | April 6, 2011

Race recap: Harry’s Spring Run Off

Better late than never… it’s my Harry’s Spring Run Off 8k race recap!!

Saturday was a beautiful day for a race. Cool, clear skies and sunshine – weather that definitely puts me in the mood to run.

After eating breakfast and packing up my gear, I was out the door. I arrived at High Park with plenty of time to spare to meet Lynne and her friend Elaine. Lynne and I accidentally dressed like twins – ladies in pink!

As we walked to our corral, it crossed my mind that this would be the first race I’d ever run without Joanna at my side at the start line. Tear! Thankfully, I had two other lovely running buddies to help calm my pre-race jitters.

While we stood waiting for the countdown, the announcer called for a moment of silence for Mark Dailey, who recently succumbed to prostate cancer. I got all tingly – despite the announcer goofing up and referring to him once as John Daly – and took that moment to remind myself of why I was running that morning.

And before we knew it, we were off!

Here’s the thing about High Park – it’s full of hills. Luckily, they all have a downward slope… even if it doesn’t feel like it in the moment! The first big hill was around the halfway point – which is where Lynne and I split up. It was tough, but I powered through, knowing I would need the confidence to conquer the massive hill at the very end.

It’s a very scenic route – trees, grass, water – and no concrete! It’s also a little crowded. With a max capacity of 2,400 runners, you’re rubbing elbows with people almost the entire time. It makes for an interactive race if you’re into that kind of thing – and who wouldn’t be, when you’re running next to this guy??

The course was not marked well – I had to rely on my iPhone to tell me my distance, which I hate because it’s always off. I remember a volunteer yelling out that we had one kilometre to go, so I began to mentally prepare for the big hill.

But the hill didn’t come.

It was the longest kilometre of life. Seriously.

Apparently I underestimated the actual distance of that last hill. It mustn’t have begun until the last 300 metres that we headed up the incline. I had nothing left.

I started walking, like at least half the people around me. I wanted to push through but I didn’t for fear of a public vomit. Of course the spectators began to appear halfway up the hill…

And then I got a text. My first thought was: “Who the hell is texting me now? Don’t they know I’m busy dying in front of a crowd of spectators?!”

Then I checked it (I was walking, after all) and saw it was my friend Najette, who was watching at the finish line! It was just the boost I needed to get me going again.

Once I made it up the hill, I immediately started sprinting to the finish – for a whole 10 seconds. I told you, the hill is literally the very end of the race. Just cruel.

My official time: 48:36. Boo-yah.

Also, my first ever 8k distance. Automatic PR! Love those.

The finishers: upright and smiling!


A few post-race embraces, a quick stretch, a trip to the food tent and a long wait for a ridiculously short (but free) massage later, we were ready to devour some brunch. All I wanted was eggs.

Unfortunately the restaurant we chose was packed with fellow racers and sun-worshippers, and after waiting over 30 minutes to even order our food, we called it quits… but not before drinking a refreshing pint…

And headed across the street to McDonald’s.

Friends, I hadn’t eaten at McDonald’s since last October, and I couldn’t even tell you about the time before that. It certainly is not a holistic choice.

But in the name of accountability, I feel I must share with you that on Saturday afternoon, I polished off a Big Mac (my first ever!). I blame the hunger pangs.

I admit it was tasty, but I felt so terrible afterwards. Clearly not the best way to replenish your body after a big race!

Overall, the day was wonderful. The race was very well-organized and they gave away the best swag I’ve seen so far – we got really nice, dry-fit tees AND hats AND awesome medals that look like ties (for the Harry Rosen – the idea is that men run the race in suits).

And of course, the best part: Harry’s raised a total $350,000 for prostate cancer research at Princess Margaret Hospital. Woot woot!




  1. Sounds like a great day……except the moment you thought you were going to do the public vomit thing!!

  2. Awesome Kennedy.

  3. Hey! good job on ur race.
    wasnt that hill the worst? who puts the finishing line on an uphill! totally crazy. and ya i didnt really think about it but the course was not marked at all. hmmmm

    congrats again on the automatic PR!

  4. That hill is killer. I ran into a random woman on the subway platform at Bloor while waiting for the train, and after she asked if I was heading to the race and could she just follow the crowd to get there, she said “I heard there’s a hill”. I said that yes, indeed, there were a lot of hills, but especially a big one at the end. She found me after the race just to let me know how right I had been about that last hill. I think it’s hit legendary status.

    • That’s amazing that she came to find you afterwards! Runners are so awesome. That hill is truly legendary.

  5. I wish I could have been running along side of you (ok more so behind you as per my usual pace!)! Sounds like a great run. And yes love the swag!

    We’ll definitely be running together this spring in NYC!

    Miss you!

    • I can’t wait!!! Miss you too my dear.

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