My race today, March 11, 2012, was the 10K in the Golden Ears Half & 10K, based at the new South Bonson Community Centre in Pitt Meadows. I saw Tina Louise Harris when I got there, she was running the 10K too and was happy that the half marathoners were starting their race at 8:30 AM, half an hour before we took off at 9. "Good riddance!" was how she put it, with a smile on her face. I went into the community centre to get my racing bib and discovered they'd given it to someone else, so they just switched our numbers and notified the timers, as the bibs also had our timing chips embedded in them, and everything worked out fine.
The start line was almost a kilometer away from the community centre, down a country road, and when we blasted off at 9, with the half marathoners already gone and the road all to ourselves there was no congestion at all for us near the front. There were only a few people in front of me for the first little while as I just kept pace with Tina. Then a couple of guys who looked to be in my age group passed me, and a couple of other younger guys. I passed a younger guy who'd gone out fast and was slowing down, and that was it as far as my positioning went for the rest of the race.
We hit the Golden Ears Bridge and began the long ascent that Tina had told me about. The bridge was about 3 kilometers long, and the uphill portion here was about 2 ks, with two thirds of that fairly steep before leveling out gradually, before finishing off the crossing with a 1 kilometer downhill. I managed to stay within 10 meters of Tina and one of my age group compadres for awhile, but they gradually pulled away. Then I hit the end of the bridge and there was a spiral concrete path down to the bottom, you went around about 4 times, and then headed under the bridge across to the spiral going up to the other side. Here there were some spectators with cowbells and signs urging us on.
I'd seen Tina and the other guy heading down the spiral when I came to it, but by the time I got under the bridge they were out of sight. Then I realized that I was the only one these people were cheering for at the moment, as I saw there was nobody at all visible behind me either. I went up the spiral going back to the top of the bridge again, and was happy that we had a few hundred yards of fairly flat running before we hit the uphill climb again. Going this way it was "only" a kilometer or so, and I found it a lot easier than the first climb. There was a headwind but it wasn't too bad, and soon I hit the crest and was on the way down. I sped up and could see Tina up ahead, but then she sped up too.
Finally I hit the bottom of the bridge and there were 2 ks to go. The rest of the race was fairly flat with long straightaways and people cheering you on, and at last there was the turn towards the finishers chute, and I could see the finish line with spectators lined up more densely along the sides the closer you got. I sprinted down the chute by myself and then got my finisher's medal. I thanked the volunteer who put it around my neck and a few well wishers and headed towards the community centre which was very closeby.
In the centre they had water, sports drink, coffee, and bagels with cream cheese, peanut butter and various jams to spread on them. There were also bananas, oranges, and oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies. I had a couple of bagels with peanut butter, and then grabbed a banana half and some cookies and went outside to eat and cool off.
I cooled off quickly and went to my car to put on my jacket and warmups, and headed back to the finish line to talk with some runners and cheer people in. Murray from my club was there but not running today, and he introduced me to some of the other runners he knew, and then we saw Rob Daniel cross the finish line. We were puzzled as we hadn't seen Rob before the race and didn't know he was running. Rob soon cleared this up for us, as he'd forgotten it was the start of daylight savings time today and had missed the start of the 10K, never mind the half marathon he was supposed to run. So he ended up running the 10K instead, being well over an hour late for the earlier race.
The awards started in the centre at 10:30, and they posted the results and I was surprised as I was 4th in my age group, yet 11th overall in the whole race. The guy who finished 2nd overall and won my age group was about 6 minutes ahead of me, no wonder I hadn't seen him! They only gave awards to the winners of the age groups, no bronze or silvers, so no matter. My time was 44:22, not as fast as usual but fine considering the amount of uphill running we did. They did the 10K awards first and then the half marathon ones not long afterward. They announced Rob Daniel as the winner of the male 70+ category in the half marathon, but he yelled to them that he'd run the 10K instead, and they thanked him for his honesty. Tina smoked everyone in her age group and may have been frist female overall, I'm not quite sure as I missed the awards start and didn't look closely enough on the results postings, with all the people pressing in to have a look. It was now time for me to go back to Vancouver so I said my goodbyes and headed out. It was certainly a different kind of race and a lot of fun and I look forward to doing it again!
We got a nice finisher's medal, and I've attached a picture of it.
Results are posted on the net. I finished 11th overall out of 136, and 4 of 10 in my age group, with a time of 44:22.
Here's the half marathon results too:
My next outing is the 5K at the Green Sock Half & Shamrock'n Race on St. Patrick's Day, Saturday, March 17th, 9 AM, at Burnaby Lake Park. Then the next day I'm running The River's Spring Runoff 10K, in Kamloops at 10 AM.