OK, OK. So it wasn’t the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. But after three failed attempts for entry, my name was drawn for the Nike Women’s 15K in Toronto.
And it was awesome.
Let me preface this by saying that I’m not a Nike fanatic – I don’t run in Nike’s, I’m not particularly partial to Nike clothing, and I don’t have a strong opinion on the company’s political or cultural practices … But damn, Nike knows how to put on a race.
From beginning to the end, they made the entire race an experience. The Nike Training Club workouts were held on a floating barge on Lake Ontario. The Nike Run Club shakeout runs coordinated with local running specialty stores and took us through the city streets. And the race itself was held on Toronto Island, which essentially became “Nike Women Island” for a full day.
“Nike Women Island” featured food trucks, music, DJs, massage therapists, organized stretching sessions, and even an entire tent packed with yoga mats, foam rollers, and tennis balls to really work everything out before the race. #bliss
Once we got started, the race wound through every type of terrain imaginable – on a road, on a trail alongside a lightnouse, on the tarmac at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, even along a boardwalk nestled between crashing waves and trees. Check out the video for a peek at the full course.
And Nike made sure to keep the 10,000 runners motivated by placing drum lines, gospel choirs, kickass signage, and plenty of spectators along the route.
Maybe it was all the excitement or my new playlist (typically I listen to podcasts, but Ellie Goulding was guiding me through this 15K), but I performed well, finishing 378th out of the 1677 in my age category.
And lest I forget, the “finisher’s medal” is a sterling silver Tiffany necklace, with a pendant emblazoned with the Nike Women’s 15K logo.
It was, quite simply, the best race I’ve ever completed.
Sometimes you just need to escape snowy New England and head to Oregon for a few days of hiking through Columbia River Gorge, yoga classes, long runs along the Willamette, hiking in Smith Rock State Park, delicious “artisan” donuts and even more delicious “artisan” ice cream.