Desti­na­tion Race

The Sco­tia­bank Blue Nose Marathon, Halifax

Canadian Running - - FEATURES -

Let’s just get this out of the way first: Halifax is a hilly city. And in­stead of hav­ing a marathon course that me­an­ders around in avoid­ance of these climbs and de­scents, the Blue Nose Marathon takes them on – seem­ingly all of them. But what this race lacks in terms of f lat, speedy sec­tions, it makes up for in its pic­turesque land­scapes, su­per-friendly lo­cal run­ning com­mu­nity and the over­all in­deli­ble East Coast charm.

Over the last decade, the Blue Nose Marathon has grown to be­come the big­gest race in the Mar­itimes, with ev­ery ma­jor road dis­tance of­fered over the course of the week­end. On Sun­day, the marathon­ers and halfers start out just a few hun­dred me­tres from where they will even­tu­ally fin­ish, at the base of the iconic Ci­tadel Hill. The for­ti­fi­ca­tion, built in 1749 as Halifax was evolv­ing into one of Canada’s first ma­jor ports, looms over the en­tirety of the har­bour-front city. To­day it’s a well-main­tained na­tional his­toric site, and is well worth a visit.

In 2016, the marathon re­traced the first half of the course twice be­cause the “Big Lift,” an ex­tra­or­di­nary pro­ject to el­e­vate one of Halifax’s two bridges that con­nect it to its sib­ling com­mu­nity of Dart­mouth across the har­bour. In pre­vi­ous years, marathon­ers would traverse the Mac­don­ald Bridge and tour around Dart­mouth (where there are more sig­nif­i­cant hills, of course). In­stead, in 2016, the race ven­tured through Halifax’s pleas­ant and crowd-filled South End twice, me­an­der­ing through pic­turesque Point Pleas­ant Park, which, you guessed it, also fea­tures a gritty climb.

Although the Blue Nose Marathon may not be a roast­ing hot PB course, it’s one of the great marathon­ing ex­pe­ri­ences this coun­try has to of­fer. The half-marathon course alone checks off most of the scenic boxes on a tour of this spe­cial city. When the marathon is able to once again cross the bridge, it will pro­vide a breath­tak­ing view of the bustling Navy yard, busy port and, of course, sprawl­ing Ci­tadel Hill nes­tled atop the cityscape.

The Blue Nose Marathon is a pretty, yet chal­leng­ing race, which trans­lates into a re­ward­ing spring ad­ven­ture in the Mar­itimes.

Get­ting There

Air Canada, WestJet and Porter all have ei­ther di­rect or one-stop daily f light op­tions from just about ev­ery cor­ner of the coun­try.

What To Do

Halifax is well known for its good times and great seafood. ALEXAN­DER KEITH’S is the best known brew­ery in Halifax, and it of­fers a fun tast­ing tour. Our rec­om­men­da­tion would be to also ex­plore Halifax’s bur­geon­ing craft beer scene, in­clud­ing GAR­RI­SON, PROPELLOR and the NORTH BREW­ING COM­PANY, which has a tight re­la­tion­ship with the run­ning clubs in the city. Af­ter race day, take a tour of the city on the HAR­BOUR HOP­PER, an am­phibi­ous craft that pro­vides a his­tor­i­cal tour of the har­bour, in­clud­ing a boat ride. Be sure to take a stroll through POINT PLEAS­ANT PARK, ei­ther be­fore the race in or­der to scope out the big hill, or af­ter the fact so that you may ac­tu­ally en­joy the beau­ti­ful views out onto the At­lantic Ocean. If you’re game to ex­plore the prov­ince, the fish­ing town of LUNENBURG on the South Shore (home of the Bluenose II) is an hour drive. The BAY OF FUNDY, with the fastest tides in the world, is also about an hour out­side of the city and well worth an af­ter­noon ad­ven­ture. For more on where to eat, hang out and run in Halifax, check out our ‘On the Run In...Halifax’ story on our web­site: run­ning­magazine.ca/on-therun-in-halifax and the Novem­ber/De­cem­ber 2016 is­sue.— MD

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