The course is laid out as a bit of an out-and-back but still a bit of a loop. Confused? The start and finish are not at the same location but they are very close to each other. The run takes place along the river path. Racers head out on a paved bike / walking path for just over 4.5 k before turning around and heading back. However, rather than returning the entire distance, the runners are redirected across a bridge about 1k after the turn-around. The return route primarily takes place on the opposite side of the river. Once across the bridge, the path changes to packed gravel. The last half kilometre takes place through the park along a paved walking path. The course is pancake flat and scenic (if you have time to look) but the packed gravel will slow the pace a bit. The one small thing you need to be aware of is that the bike path for the first half of the race is somewhat narrow. This is especially evident when you have 200+ runners taking off at the same time. If you are looking for a PR, then make sure you seed yourself near the front.
Typical of all IRA events, the Oliver 10k is well organized. There was plenty of volunteer staff on hand, the course was well marked (although there is very little need as it is a very simple course to follow), and there were multiple aid stations along the course. The race headquarters was at a local rec centre so bathroom facilities were not a problem. There were plenty of sponsors for the day and the organizers provided food and awards for the winners.
WHO IS THIS RACE GOOD FOR?
IRA races for the most part are good for everyone. If you are looking to complete your first 10k race then Oliver is a great choice. The course is flat and friendly. Moreover, it offers a nice relief on the knees and ankles by switching from pavement to packed trail for about 40% of the race. Besides...where else can you take in a 10k race in the morning and go wine tasting in the afternoon?
Check out our photo gallery of the event and our video mash-up below.