On Sunday, April 29, 2012 the first of our Love4Gambia Race Teams for this year toed the start line of the Chocolate Race in St. Catharines, Ontario. We couldn’t have asked for a better day – the sun was shining and the temperatures were perfect for running and for keeping the chocolate from melting.
To make sure all runners and walkers were properly warmed up, the announcer had us dancing at the start line while Willy Wonka of the Chocolate Factory showed us his best moves.
The 10 mile runners were sent off first, followed shortly thereafter by participants in the 10 kilometer and 5 kilometer events. From the centre of Port Dalhousie, we quickly weaved our way through town and onto the beautiful waterfront trail taking us along the shores of Lake Ontario. It didn’t take us long to reach the first aid station where we were offered water, Gatorade and chocolate-covered strawberries. That beats a strawberry flavoured gel any day! As tempting as it looked, I wasn’t sure that my stomach would be happy about eating chocolate, even though this event was just a training run at the end of a high mileage week. I decided to hold off on chocolate indulgence until I reached the finish line.
For much of the race I was running in no-man’s-land, as I had lost contact with the lead group, but had a good gap on the rest of the field. But this changed quickly after I reached the turn around point on the out-and-back course, since I soon caught the 10 km and 5 km runners. Now there were lots of people on the course, including walkers and people with strollers. I weaved my way through the crowd with shouts of “on your left – thank you!” and “looking good – way to go!” The pack was in a festive mood and it looked like a good time was had by all.
Before I knew it, I was back in town and heading towards the finish line where I was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd, as well as by a few members of Team Love4Gambia. Marc had stuck with the lead pack and finished the 10 miler in third place. Cheryl and Currie had finished the 10 km race and shortly after my arrival, Geneviève also completed the 10 km run. Terry was a few minutes behind me in the 10 miler and rounded out the Ottawa contingent of our team. The St. Catharines group also finished the races in style and we all collected our cool medals.
The Ottawa gang headed over to get some of the post race food, but instead of finding the usual bagels and bananas, we were treated to chocolate croissants and chocolate milk! We then walked up the short hill into the centre of Port Dalhousie to cash in the coupons that were attached to our medals. The first one was good for a bag of chocolate truffles, the second one got us a decadent brownie and the third one was good for a chocolate martini! While waiting in line to get our martinis, we were entertained by kids singing songs about chocolate and running bunnies. Very cute!
We celebrated our race and the funds raised by Team Love4Gambia with a round of chocolate martinis – a perfect way to round out a perfect morning. If you haven`t done the Chocolate Race yet, definitely put that one on your bucket list! I know I`ll be back!
Thanks to all the members of Team Love4Gambia for their dedication and for helping us keep kids alive and communities strong in West Africa! If you would like to join our team at the Blue Nose or Ottawa Race Weekends, please contact me at email@example.com.
This was just the first of my races for Team Love4Gambia. Up next will be the Blue Nose Marathon in Halifax on May 20, followed by the Ottawa Marathon the weekend after. If you would like to support me, please make a donation to Love4Gambia by clicking on our Donate Now button on this web site. Thanks so much for your support!