On Sunday, April 1st I ran the April Fool's Run, a point to point half marathon, from Gibsons to Davis Bay Park near Sechelt, on the beautiful Sunshine Coast. Going over on the ferry I ran into renowned runner, race director, emcee, author and book editor Dan Cumming, who is also in my running club, and his wife Judi, who among other things is also an editor. They were going over to volunteer and help make the race a success.
We started out a little ways up the road from the Gibsons Community & Recreation Centre, precisely at 9 AM. We went up the street for a block, then we zigged and zagged around a few more blocks before ending up on the lower highway, which twisted and turned, but we now stayed on the same road for about 15 kilometers. When we hit the 5K marker I said "Whoo, hoo! Almost a quarter of the way there!", and the guy in front of me said "That's a good way of looking at it!" I asked him if he'd run it before and he said that he'd run it once before 3 years ago, and I told him that it was my first time. We agreed that we were cruising along pretty well and we'd just try and keep it up, and then we proceeded to just run with no more talking. It was a race after all, and we still had a long way to go. I was a bit worried because I'd gone out way too fast for the first few kilometers, at my 5K pace, way faster than my half marathon one. I slowed up but it was difficult because I was running so well and felt so good that I still was going at a faster pace than I'd planned There was one fairly steep hill at about the 6K mark, and that served to slow me down pretty well, and after I crested it I took a little time to get my legs back and start going at a decent pace again.
All along the course at various points there were spectators, mostly families that lived along the road, some dressed up in costumes, waving signs, clanging cowbells, blowing whistles, and just cheering us on in general. This really lifted our spirits as we clicked off the Ks, and at about 14 Ks we came to a junction with lots of spectators at it, and were directed to the left, did a little more zigging, and then we were on a direct road again. Soon after this was the last major hill, quite steep but thankfully short, and I had real trouble running after we crested it. My legs felt like lead, and I wondered if I'd made a really bad mistake going out so fast. The other runners around me were having the same problem though, and after about a kilometer of struggling I got my energy back and proceeded to speed up. We were on a slight downhill which helped a lot, and soon there was only one kilometer to go! I sped up quite a bit now, and I could hear someone behind me doing the same. Then a sign "400 METERS TO GO!", and we both accelerated. I came to a small bridge and blew by a guy who'd passed me about a kilometer back. Suddenly there was the finisher's chute, with the announcer calling my name, and I ran in as fast as I could. The announcer called out the name of my pursuer, Kristine Chew from Vancouver, who I managed to beat by a second. The volunteers put our finisher's medals around our necks, and I congratulated her on a great race and thanked her for pushing me.
I ran into Drew Nicholson, who told me his clubmate Dave Palermo had won the race, smoking everyone. Drew himself was 5th overall and 2nd in his age group, and Mark Bennett, who is the same age as me, came in 4th overall, even though he wasn't at the front at the starting line and had to fight his way up there. Mark's a world class runner, and I find it inspiring that someone my age can perform at that level. It shows I can get a lot better at this myself, and I'll certainly give it a whirl! Dan Cumming took my picture, and then I went to the food tables, where Judi was spreading cream cheese and jam on bagels, which turned out to be a delicious combination! They also had bananas, chocolate chip cookies, soy puddings, coffee, and tomato soup. Then they brought out the best of all, freshly made burritos, beef and cheese, curry, and jalapeno, with plenty of salsa to spoon onto them! Soon I was full, and I ran into Dan again and asked him where the buses were to take us back to the start. I'd seen the preliminary results already and I was nowhere near a medal, 10th in my age group in the fast field. The sun had come out and it was beautiful there in the park by the ocean, and it was a great time cheering all the other runners in and mingling with the rest. I did however have to work that night, so I went down to the beach where Dan had directed me to go, and caught the next bus back towards home.
Results are up, I finished 77th overall out of 475, 10 of 28 in my age group, with a time of 1:36:19, a PB by one second! http://www.raceheadquarters.com/results/2012/run/FoolsRun2012OA.html Our Semiahmoo Sunrunners team finished 4th out of 6. http://www.raceheadquarters.com/results/2012/run/FoolsRun2012Teams.html . 3 of our teammates hit the podium though, with Marc Fontaine finishing 3rd in his age group, and Frances O'Grady and Rob Daniel winning theirs, while Charles Steemers finishing 7th in his and Marc's. http://www.raceheadquarters.com/results/2012/run/FoolsRun2012AgeGroups.html It's not that we didn't have a good team, it's just an older team, that's all. We got a cool finisher's medal, and I'm attaching a picture of it, plus one of my Fool In Training shirt. The first time I wore it was to a club run, and I promptly locked my keys in my car. I'm a real fool, not just a pretend one, and I take it very seriously.
My next race is the Vancouver Sun Run at 9 AM on April 15th.
This has been the April Fool's edition of Gord's Running News.