10/19/2014 10:20 EDT | Updated 12/19/2014 05:59 EST

What hurricane? Rain, wind whip Cape to Cabot runners as 'Gonzalo' grazes Avalon

A foot race that organizers dub as one of the most gruelling in eastern North America lived up to its name Sunday, with runners hitting the pavement as hurricane Gonzalo grazed Newfoundland's Avalon peninsula.

Caroline McIlroy and Peter Bazeley each took first place in their respective divisions of the 2014 Cape to Cabot race –an 18.2 kilometre race beginning at North America's most easterly point, Cape Spear, and finishing at Cabot Tower in St. John's.

'Rivers coming up over' race route

"In spots there were almost rivers coming up over the road so we just ran right through it," Bazeley told CBC News, "I am completely soaked."

"The wind felt like it was whipping in all directions, it was very gusty," Bazeley said.

"If you plan to do anything outside in Newfoundland and you plan to only do it in fine weather, you're not going to be out-of-doors very much," said race organizer Steve Delaney.

"Have to give a lot of kudos to the volunteers who were out setting up the course this morning, they were out in the worst of the downpours," he added.

"Water Street west had a lot of flooding so we [re-routed] runners to the other side of the road, so it wasn't that big of a change," Delaney said and he also noted that organizers allowed the race to go ahead while keeping an eye on Gonzalo's track.

Bad conditions, but not unsafe

"We run in bad weather, but we don't run in unsafe conditions," Delaney said.

Eleven bus loads of runners took part in the race, as the tail end of hurricane Gonzalo whipped runners all the way to the finish line, making for a running tale that they will likely never forget.

"I don't even know what my time was, but I'll probably be pleased, I'm happy to just get through it today," Bazeley said.

Though they started in windy and wet conditions, the sun was shining by late Sunday morning as the last of the runners crossed the Cabot Tower finish line on Signal Hill.

Environment Canada clocked maximum wind gusts in St. John's at 74 km/hr with 50 mm of rain having fell in about 3.5 hours.

Offshore it was a different story, as Gonzalo pumped out wind gusts clocked at 157 km/hr at the Hibernia oil platform.