Hamilton

'We're disappointed:' Valley Inn Road hill dropped from 2020 Around the Bay race

The city closed off the pedestrian bridge in December because of safety concerns and will begin repairs after the winter season.

Runners will have to stay on Plains Road instead of running on Spring Gardens Road and then the infamous hill

Valley Inn Road won't be in the 2020 Around the Bay race set to take place on Mar. 29, 2020. (Andres Billiald/CBC)

This year's Around the Bay race won't include its signature trek up the Valley Inn Road hill and organizers say they're not sure if it will be a part of future runs.

The city closed off the pedestrian bridge in December because of safety concerns and will begin repairs after the winter season.

"We're disappointed. It's been a signature element of our race for many years since the early beginnings," Anna Lewis, race director tells CBC News.

"It's a love hate relationship with that hill because although lots of people have a hard time getting through It, once they do they feel a sense of accomplishment."

Valley Inn Road wasn't included in the Around the Bay Road Race in 2015 and 2016 due to construction. (Andres Billiald/CBC)

The steep incline and rickety bridge punctuate the 30 km journey, putting runners through the paces at the last stretch of the path.

This year, runners will have to stay on Plains Road instead of running on Spring Gardens Road and then the infamous hill. Lewis says the race is still 30 km.

"This is the best case scenario."

Runners of the 30 km race will still finish inside the FirstOntario centre. (Laura Howells/CBC)

The hill wasn't included in the 2015 and 2016 races due to construction, which means there is a glimmer of hope the hill may return in the future — but it depends on how many repairs the bridge needs.

The 30 km run will take place on Mar. 29, 2020 and will still start at York Boulevard at Caroline Street North and end inside the FirstOntario Centre. At the finish line runners will be greeted with a fresh sample of Bay Beer and live music.

While the competition is fierce, it isn't tough enough to ban the controversial Nike Vapoufly sneaker, which has been banned in some international races for giving athletes an edge.

"Our race is not used for qualifying for marathons and half marathons. We don't have testing for drugs, so we don't ban them," Lewis says.

"If they choose to wear them, we're not going to stop them."

Revenue will support emergency mental health services

Revenue from the run will go to the St. Joseph's Healthcare Foundation for its emergency mental health services. Their fundraising goal is $475,000 this year.

"The space we have may not be able to keep pace with the amount of influx and demand," Carrie Trembinski, the hospital foundation's director of communications, tells CBC News.

"The demand for this kind of care grows by about 10 per cent every single year."

She says the number of patients accessing the hospital's psychiatric emergency service is at an "all-time high."

The hospital plans on redeveloping the space and making it larger.

About the Author

Bobby Hristova

Reporter/Editor

Bobby Hristova is a reporter/editor with CBC Hamilton. Email: bobby.hristova@cbc.ca

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