MEC # 2 Birds Hill Park Race

MEC # 2 Birds Hill Park Race
MEC #2 Birds Hill Park 2017 3rd Overall After A Sprint Finish!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

5 Peaks Golden Ears Trail Race

On Saturday, April 21 I ran the Golden Ears Sport (8.8K) race, the first of 5 races this year in the 5 Peaks British Columbia Trail Running Series. The event took place in Golden Ears Provincial Park, starting in the parking lot at a beach on Alouette Lake. There was also an Enduro (14K) race run concurrently, with the Kids (1K) and Toddler (100 meters) races run just before ours.

I arrived there after first getting lost when I turned onto Old Dewdney Trunk Road instead of Dewney Trunk Road like I was supposed to, and then made a wrong turn onto a Harris Road. I was saved when I came upon the just setup starting point of another race that was also starting at 9 AM, and the people running it gave me directions to Golden Ears Park.

Not long before we started, Marcel from work came up to me, as he was running his first ever race today. We were going off in small waves of 25 or 30 racers, a minute apart and all chip timed, to avoid congestion, and since I was 31st overall last year I went off in the first wave. Marcel said he'd go in a later one so we wished each other luck and my group was off!

We ran down to the beach, turned onto a concrete path, and then a couple of hundred meters later hit the woods. Right away there was a creek crossing. They were all very short but this one was especially steep and rocky so caution was needed and this slowed us all up momentarily. Once across we were were again speeding up and jockeying for position along fairly narrow trails. For about a kilometer we were able to run fast as the ground was muddy yet level, and then we hit a couple more creeks in quick succession, followed by a few uphills and downhills. The ground was getting more rocky and my shoes were still wet from the water so it was slower here, but then we again hit level ground and got a little speed up.

We hit the halfway point, and while the Enduro racers were directed to go straight, us Sport racers were sent to the right up a narrrow and steep path. This was the start of seemingly never ending climbs up difficult and steep terrain. Just when I thought I'd climbed one hill, there were only a few feet before there was another one, and I slowed considerably, at one point briefly walking as it was just as fast as running because the grade was so steep. Finally after a couple of kilometers of this it leveled off briefly, and there were 2 more short and rocky creek crossings, followed by a very steep dowhill for a few hundred meters.

The downhill "path" looked like something scraped up by a receding glacier, and probably was, as it was a trough full of rocks, and I didn't even attempt to go fast here, as a fall would have meant certain injury of some sort, there would be no soft landing. I heard someone come up behind me, and he yelled "On your left!", so I went off to the far right, and a young fellow flew past me, saying "Thanks!" as he did so. I said "No problem!", and it truly wasn't. I was going slow anyway, as there was no way I was going to risk wiping out in that nightmare. A few people after the race were in the first aid tent getting some minor patching but there was nothing too serious, so fortunately no bad wipeouts happened.

After getting out of the trough I was again running along single track trails, twisting and turning with more mud than rocks, but at least fairly level so you could actually run and get some speed going again. There were a couple of more minor uphills, and then one more creek crossing where we'd crossed it at the beginning of the race, and I came out into the open on the concrete path at the beach. You could hear the announcer calling out people's names as they came in, and there were plenty of spectators cheering me as I ran towards the final turn. I rounded it and headed up to the parking lot and over the finish line, glad that it was over!
There weren't a lot of people who'd finished ahead of me yet, but I hadn't thought I'd ran it that fast, even though it looked like I'd finished below 45 minutes, much faster than the 47:34 I ran the year before. Still, it was chip timed, so I thought that a lot of people from other waves would probably finish with faster times than myself. No matter, I'd done as well as I could, and was feeling great to have finished! I exchanged congratulations with a few of the other finishers and then went and got some water. They also had Gatorade but I passed on it as usual, as it has too much sugar that gives me a stomach ache.

I headed to the food tables and grabbed part of a cut up banana but passed on the oranges. They had cut up bagels with jam, nutella and peanut butter to spread on them, plus Oreo, chocolate chip, oatmeal, and chocolate coated cookies. I had a couple of bagels with nutella & PB, and some cookies, and then a Clif bar. I grabbed a Clif bar for Marcel as I wasn't sure what wave he'd gone out in, and I knew they'd soon be gone, but he came in soon after, having been not far behind me in the third wave.

It turned out to be a beautiful sunny day, but pleasant while running along the course with the thick tree canopy to keep you cool. Marcel went to talk to a guy he'd spotted from his gym, and I went down to where the runners were coming up from the beach and cheered them as they ran in to the finish for awhile. Then I went back into the parking lot and found Marcel, and I noticed that they'd posted some results already. I went and looked and I couldn't believe it, I'd finished 17th overall, and won my age group! I'd thought I'd been running slow, but then I realized I'd started out with all the fastest runners, and was just slower than some of them, not most of the rest of the field. Marcel finished 66th overall, very good for his first outing!

At 11 AM they started the awards for our Sport race, going through them fairly efficiently, and as they came up to my age group I gave my camera to Marcel and asked him if he'd take a picture of me when I got my medal, and he said "Of course!" He got a good shot of us up there, and then one of us as we stepped down and were congratulating each other, for just that brief moment in time, in our minds we were the three fastest guys alive!
He also got a good crowd shot, albeit with me in it, and I took one of the female overall winners, and one of my medal at home later on.
They finished the Sport awards and then had a contest to race down to the beach and swim out and get a rubber ducky floating in the lake to win a pair of shoes. 8 guys stripped down and did the men's one, and then a couple of women did theirs, and they were both pretty funny, after which they prepared to do the Enduro awards.

I told Marcel I had to work later that night, and he was tired himself, so we decided to finally head home, as we both had a bit of a drive ahead of us.

Results are up, and I was 17th of 243 overall, with a time of 44:45, and 1st of 13 in my age group, and Marcel was 66th overall, 19th of 30 in his AG, with a time of 51:47.
My next race is the Game of Life 5K, on Sunday, April 29, 8:10 AM, in Stanley Park.

This has been the 3rd edition of Gord's Running News for April, 2012.

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