Participants line up to begin the iconic 30km road race on Sunday, Mar. 27, 2022. It was the first in-person running of the race since 2019. Photo credit: Twitter/BayRaceRun
Hamilton’s infamous Around the Bay Road Race returned to an in-person format for the first time since 2019 this past weekend. Postponed multiple times throughout the pandemic, and forced to hold virtual events instead, runners finally lined up side-by-side at 9:30 a.m. Sunday at York Boulevard and Bay Street.
Some runners likely wished that events were still virtual as below-freezing temperatures, strong winds, and occasional flurries plagued racers throughout. Despite the challenges, 3,362 people finished the race’s 30km main event.
Heartbreak Hill, a large climb in elevation near the end of the race officially returned after the City of Hamilton restored the Valley Inn pedestrian bridge which leads into the hill. A challenge for racers, conquering the hill is a rite of passage for those participating.
As for race results, Hamiltonian Victoria Coates was the female 30km winner with a time of 1:50:01, doing her hometown proud and providing a storybook ending to local media covering the event. Kevin Coffey of Kingston was the male winner with a time of 1:40:10.
The cancellations of the 2020 race and the 2021 race due to the pandemic were the first cancellations since the 1962 competition. The 1962 race was skipped due to road construction.
There was a slight modification to the race this year; the number of participants in the 30km route was reduced from the usual 10,000 runners to about 6,000.
The Around the Bay Race is North America’s oldest distance road race. It’s even older than the Boston Marathon. The Boston Marathon started in 1897, while the Around the Bay Race started in 1894.
To this day, many runners compete in Around the Bay as a trial race in the lead-up to the Boston Marathon. That race takes place on Monday, April 18, 2022.
Top three male 30K:
Kevin Coffey (Kingston) – 1:40.10
Reid Coolsaet (Hamilton) – 1:43.52
Lloyd MacKinnon (Hamilton) – 1:45.20
Top three female 30K:
Victoria Coates (Hamilton) – 1:50.01
Rachel Hannah (Guelph) – 1:53.17
Brittany Moran (Toronto) – 1:53.50
In terms of fund-raising, the race exceeded all expectations and generated $275,000 for St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation. All funds will be used to support the expansion and renewal of the hospital’s Emergency Mental Health Services.
Since 2005, over $4 million has been raised through the race to support patient care and research at St. Joe’s Hospital.
Based in Hamilton, Ontario, Kevin Geenen reaches hundreds of thousands of people monthly on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter. He is a regular contributor with The Hamilton Independent and has also been published in The Hamilton Spectator, Stoney Creek News, Niagara Independent, and Bay Observer. He has also been a segment host with Cable 14 Hamilton. He is known for Hamilton crime updates and social media news graphics. In 2017, he received the Chancellor Full Tuition Scholarship from the University of Ottawa (BA, 2022). He has also received the Governor General’s Academic Medal from Governor General David Johnston. He formerly worked in a non-partisan role on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.