That's the name of my team for the Niagara Falls International Marathon 1812 Peace And Friendship Two-Person Marathon Relay. (Wow, that's a mouthful! Dare ya to say it three times fast!) This marathon, which is on October 24 this year, is the only marathon in the world that starts in one country and ends in another. Runners begin in Buffalo, NY and actually run across the international border... without having to wait in line for two hours at Customs and answer ridiculous questions like "What brings you to Canada?" (ummm, *pant pant pant* my running shoes?) and "Do you have anything to declare?" (ummm, well, I did just get this fancy race bib and timing chip...). The race, a point-to-point route, finishes at beautiful Niagara Falls in Ontario.
Team "Ooo, A Shiny Medal!" is comprised of me (duh) and my BFF, Shelley, who is Canadian. Now, I know what you're all thinking: "I bet she has a funny accent, eh!" She does, but that is really beside the point. Actually, I think her accent is cute, rather than funny... but again, it's beside the point. The point is that we are running as a team and it will be very symbolic because I, the American, will run the first leg, starting in the US and crossing over into Canada and then Shelley, the Canadian, will run the second leg entirely in Canada. It is symbolic of the friendly, peaceful, non-competitive relationship between the US and Canada. Although, I think each of us is secretly hoping to run faster than the other so we can claim bragging rights for our country.
Although, if you look at the elevation plot below, you'll see why I will have a pretty tough time running a faster half.
I get to run over that elevation spike known as the Peace Bridge, which is essentially a really big man-made hill. Although it is not nearly as steep as that graph would make it appear, it's still a fairly long climb. Here's the Peace Bridge in daylight, which is how it will look when I run across it:
What many people don't realize is that by day, it's The Peace Bridge, but by night, it's...
...Disco Bridge! (Yes, this is really what the bridge looks like at night - it's lit by colorful LEDs.) I really think they should have a race across it at night - how fun would that be?
Shelley, however, gets to run almost entirely downhill for her leg of the race and cross the finish line at Niagara Falls. I could insert some comment here about how Canadians have it so easy with their uber-polite citizens, plentiful moose meat, low crime rates and flat race routes, but in the spirit of peaceful international relations, I'll refrain. Besides, they also have Celine Dion, so it's not like everything in Canada is milk and honey.
The truth is, I really get the best part of the race, because there is a duty-free shop at the base of the Peace Bridge and you can bet I am going to stop in and get myself some tax-free wine, liquor and perfume. I rarely wear perfume or consume liquor, but I sure can't pass up a good deal when I'm running right past it! I'll have to make sure to wear running gear with lots of big pockets, because I sure can't run with armfuls of glass bottles - that would be completely impractical. But if I can stuff them into, say, the kangaroo pocket of a hoodie, and those nifty iPod pockets some running shorts and tops have, then I should be good to go. Yes, there will be a bit of banging and clanging as the glass bottles bounce around in my pockets while I run... but I'll be listening to my iPod, so the noise won't bother me. Besides, I'm sure lots of other runners will have the same idea and it will be one big parade of runners with shorts full of duty-free goods. And yes, I realize what I just wrote. I did it on purpose. You may proceed with your "haha, you said duty!" and "*snort* shorts full of duty!" comments - we are never too old for toilet humor. Or, as they say in Canada, humour de toilette.
When I finally pass the proverbial baton to Shelley at Mile 13.1, I imagine I will be transported to the finish line so I can actually see her finish. She wants to run a PR, and I am acting as her running coach to help her get that PR. I have no doubt she can do it, especially if she follows my custom training plan which involves being chased uphill by a faster runner carrying a boom box blasting Shania Twain music. (Hey, I didn't say I was a nice coach!)
Once Shelley and I finally get our shiny medals (oooo!), we will pop open a bottle of duty-free wine from my shorts (there I go with the humour de toilette again!) and celebrate our international victory.
Peace. Love. Train.