Chilly Half Marathon set to kick off Ontario's road racing season
More than 4,000 runners are expected on March 1
The Chilly Half Marathon, Frigid 10K and Frosty 5K weekend is one of the most popular events on the Canadian running calendar. It’s organized, it’s scenic, it’s got a competitive field, and it’s at a time of year when many are bursting at the seams to get out and race.
On March 1, approximately 4,000 runners, and New Balance pace bunnies from across Ontario and south of the border will compete in the Chilly Half and other races that date back to 1994 — a 5K with 160 runners.
Held by the crack team at VR Pro Racing, the Chilly has grown to become a vital part of the Southern Ontario running scene for almost a quarter-century and is one of the first major events to kick off the road racing season.
It’s also about six weeks before the Boston Marathon, so attracts some pretty big names looking for a race workout.
This year, some of the top distance runners in the country will be on hand including Reid Coolsaet, Krista DuChene, and Leslie Sexton.
DuChene, for one, has written about her appreciation of the Chilly Half and how it checks off many of her boxes ahead of big marathons such as distance, course layout, potential financial winnings and calendar timing.
“The Chilly Half Marathon has always been a perfect choice to include in my marathon builds,” she wrote.
In 2019, runner Meagan Jukes chose the Chilly as her first-ever half-marathon after graduating from the Frosty 5K the previous year and she liked it so much she’s back for more this year and she’s an ambassador.
When asked what she likes most about the event, she says hands down it’s the atmosphere. And that’s been the general consensus for years. This is one hospitable half.
“Even people you most likely don't know will be there offering you words of encouragement, wishing you "good luck", giving a high-five or just a simple smile,” she says. “The residents of Burlington will do the same thing. What brought me through to fight the wall I was about to hit was seeing residents sitting outside their homes with their lawn chairs, signs, possibly their young kids, cheering on runners for hours.”
There are three options for this Burlington race: a 5K, 10K and half-marathon. Count on a fantastic race atmosphere and as always some delicious Stagg chilli and beer available at many post-race locations. This year, the race, which is held on March 1, 2020, will also offer a virtual race option for the first time. An option which includes a free T-shirt with registration and more.
Joey Stel has competed on race weekend for four straight years.
"Over the years we've seen positive course changes and the addition of an awesome new event: The Frigid 10km," he says. "I enjoy using this race as a way to mark the conclusion of my winter training block, and end it with a bang! There's nothing I enjoy more than running beside a lake. As an added plus, the course is quite flat, which is helpful for running a fast time."
This year’s fundraising will benefit Burlington’s Joseph Brant Hospital in the name of Scott Matheson, who suffered a heart attack at last year’s race but is back again this year after treatment at the facility and a whirlwind recovery.
Registration includes a fantastic New Balance long sleeve technical shirt.
“ Between the race swag, medals, course, free STAGG chilli and Steam Whistle Beer, you can't get any better than that,” says Jukes, who adds that if folks need additional encouragement, Running Room stores base their clinics around the Frosty 5k, Frigid 10k and Chilly Half leading up to the event.
Our Get Our There race reporters also love the event, and have competed and even run as pace bunnies in the past. Check out one of our videos below.
We’ve checked in with VRPro and this year’s race is almost full, so don’t hesitate to register and participate in this legendary event.
We will see you out there.