My last road trip for July involved a lot of standing, a lot of walking, and a little bit of running; and of course, plenty of wine along the way. What better way to finish a 5k race that with a free glass of wine? I have made it down to the Niagara peninsula many times over the course of my 35+ years of running, as family lives nearby and I spent my best running days living and attending school in Western New York. The gang at the Subaru of Hamilton Niagara Running Series organize a good set of races and the mid-summer offering is the Beamsville Bench 5k Run.
But, I am not sure why they call this area the Beamsville Bench as there was not a flat spot in this rather challenging two loop 5km course. In addition, it was mighty hot and humid on race day. Uphill start and uphill finish, just the way us runners like it! It felt like we were running up the Niagara escarpment for the entire race, but I guess there were some downhill portions in there as well, I just don’t remember them. I got to enjoy the race with my brother-in-law Big Al who still cranks out the runs and well let’s just say he is a little older than me, a good inspiration for the young runners out there. Our first race together was at the old Springbank Road Races in London ON back in 1982.
That brings up the other beauty of the Niagara escarpment, the wine. Well, I guess Niagara Falls is pretty impressive too. Canada has two good grape growing regions, the Okanagan valley out in BC and the Niagara peninsula. Unusual topography provides these micro-climates with unique characteristics that allow for grapes that produce pretty good wines. This race was held at the Mike Weir Winery and thanks for the free glass as well.
The other part of this trip involved golf, but unfortunately, no Mike Weir as he announced his break from the game for a bit. The RBC Canadian Open was at nearby Glen Abbey and I find PGA golf to be an enjoyable sporting event to watch. Best of all is the proximity to the athlete one can experience, especially on the tee box. Plus, you can move around, stand a bit, move to another hole location, and stay on the grounds for close to 12 hours or so. I got to see all of my favorite golfers close up, and got to spend 10 hours in the sun. Just to add to the adventure of driving to and from Guelph were a few side steps; first, we managed to get lost in a Jewish Cemetery thanks to Big Al’s navigation expertise, but he made up for it when we found excellent free parking at a strip mall in Oakville. At the end of the day we cruised in the HOV lane on the way back, what a concept, an HOV lane!
We also played golf twice in the days leading up to the race, which serves as a good excuse as to why we ran so slowly. When it comes to actually playing golf, well, I am a real “back of the packer” there and I slowed down our foursome a bit. I usually win the “Most Honest Golfer” of the day award and spend much of my time looking for my ball in the woods. Big Al leads the pack there and played tough over 18 holes along with my nephew Adam and his buddy Sturges in our Friday round. At the other tournament, congrats go to Jason Day on winning the RBC Canadian Open.
August is upon us, cooler weather is coming, and the best season of all for running approaches, see you at the races.