Guelph Runners
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Falling Leaves 5 km


Online Registration  

Saturday September 19th 2015, 10:30am

 Race video

Run on the National XC course 

If you are tired of running on roads, we have a race for you.  The Falling Leaves races are all run on soft surfaces, grass, bark chip or dirt.  The course is wide, so it easy to pass or be passed.  That combined with the complete absence of cars and beautiful scenery, make it easy to run relaxed.  The course rolls, and the surface does not lend itself to fast times, but this is pure running.  The course climbs a hill to the finish line.  It is a loop course so it is great for spectators.  Be sure to bring your own cheering squad.

The 5 km race makes a great introduction to cross country running.  

The Falling Leaves race has been one of my favourites in our series.  It is run all on soft surfaces, grass, bark chip or dirt in the North Arboretum at the University of Guelph.  More like a farm laneway than a trail, the course is at least 2 metres wide, in the open woodlands of the Arboretum. The start and finish are on top of a hill, with a great view of the City.


This year we have added to the events of the day.  The 5k  race will start at 10:30am and be followed by a free kids race, one kilometre in distance at 11am, then the Gryphon New Balance Open at 11:20am, one of the best of the University Cross Country races.  It will be a chance for all of us to see some of the impressive talent that studies and runs at the University of Guelph.

There will be the usual great selection of post race food, pizza from Domino's, bagels from Tim Hortons, and a selection of local fresh fruit. 

The price is the same usual bargain $25, $35 on race day.  In order to keep costs down we do not offer a free t shirt, but instead we have a series shirt, for $5, available in three sizes.  You can purchase this at race kit pickup, or at the race itself.

There is a Google map posted here   It shows the course and how to get there, as well as the location of the start, finish, parking and the location of the finishing hill.  If you right click on the map, you can get directions from anywhere.

There will be cash awards for the top male and female in all three races ($50).  1st in each age group will get a series shirt.

Race kit pickup will be available only on race day at registration at the top of the hill from 8am to 9am. 

View Falling Leaves 5 k and 7.5k 2009 in a larger map

There will be cash awards for the top three ($100, $75, $50) and first masters ($50),  

Race kit pickup will be available at the Running Works in Downtown Guelph, on Friday, October 4th from 4pm to 6pm, and on race day at registration from 8am to 9am. 

The course has one small hill and one big hill in every loop. The surfaces vary, but are all runnable in spikes or in shoes.  There are no hard surfaces, and when dry, traction is adequate in shoes.  When wet, spikes are advisable to get a good time.  The Nationals have been run in snow the last two years and spikes (long) were a definite advantage.

The course is marked every 500m by big yellow posts and every 400m by red stakes for those of you who need data.  

There is a course video online  Both the 5k and the 7.5 km race use the2.5k loop.  The Canadian Nationals will use the 2k loop for the Masters Championship. The two loops are mostly the same except for an 800m section. 

There is also a video of the Speed River group training on the course  on Flotrack.  You can also find all of the 2009 Championships on video at this link, including the Master's race.  A particular joy is watching Kendra Schaaf in the  2008 Junior Women's race.

Bracelet of Hope  

Bracelet of Hope is a Guelph grassroots organisation that engages Canadians in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Lesotho, Africa.  It was founded by local physician Dr. Anne-Marie Zajdlik in 2005 with the support of tens of thousands of citizens and businesses from Guelph and surrounding areas.  We are proud to have contributed to creating the first AIDS clinic in Lesotho which is now being managed by the Lesotho Ministry of Health.  Recognising the need to address the AIDS pandemic in a holistic way, today we are also working with frontline community groups to support those living with AIDS to make a living through the establishment of small businesses.  We continue to count on the support of individuals and groups in our own community in order to address this global issue.  

Soft Surface Racing

the perfect road for runners 

Course video and another  Course maps are further down on the page.

Tired of the hard road?  Put yourself out to pasture.  Run on soft surfaces in beautiful scenery.  Forget those kilometre splits.  Run by feel.  The 5km race is a double loop, the 7.5 km is a triple loop.  There is a spectator zone where they can see you twice in each loop so you will never be far from your cheering section.

Course map is below.  Zoom out to see the whole course or click on the link at the bottom to see a larger map  in a new window.

The course is the same as it will be for the Wintercross 5 km, and the Canadian National Cross Country Championships to be held on Noveber 28th.  See you there.

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