The Around the Bay Road Race isn’t just an athletic competition — it’s a festival of fitness.
And like any festival worth its rehydration salt, this Sunday’s edition of the annual run boasted bright colours, blasting music, cheering revellers and of course, lots to drink (in this case, mostly water).
- Recap: Around the Bay Road Race 2014 live blog
- Around the Bay: 5 special moments along the 30-km course
Thousands of runners, from Olympic alumni to raw novices, descended on downtown Hamilton on Sunday morning for the race, the oldest of its kind in North America, which features 30-kilometre and five-kilometre courses as well as two relay races.
More than a few participants wore running gear showing flashes of neon — boisterous pinks, yellows, oranges, greens and blues — while others came dressed up in costumes.
The party also drew politicians looking to appeal to the public.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne took to the mic to wish contestants good luck before motoring through the five-kilometre event herself, posting a time of 27 minutes and one second.
But the excitement peaked when winners of the 30 kilometre course strode past the finish line, located inside FirstOntario Place.
Cheers and fireworks erupted as the first-place finisher arrived.
Toronto-based, Kenyan-born marathoner Paul Kimugul, 34, took the top spot with a time of 1:35:34.
More bursts of light went off when Brantford’s Krista DuChene took the top women’s prize, clocking a time of 1:47:13.
Later, she said the result was a few minutes slower than her goal time.
“The wind was just a bit too much… so I just focused on finishing strong for the second half," she said. "And I’m happy with that.”
However, after southern Ontario’s unusually cold and stormy winter, the weather on Sunday — sunny and around 5 C in the late morning — was still cause for celebration.
“Boy, compared to the way the winter was, it was nothing,” DuChene said.
Here's a collection of some of the best photos from the big race.