Today's race was the Vancouver Sun Run 10K, with close to 50,000 participating. I walked the 3 Ks downtown to the start, running into Drew Nicholson when I got there, and he was stoked to run the race. As I was talking to him I saw my clubmates Chris, Antonio and Hanif walking up, and I yelled "Here comes a bunch of rounders!", and they waved as they walked by and said they'd see me later.
We had to be in our yellow corral, just behind the elite blue one, by 8:30 AM so I headed over there with about 7 minutes to spare, and saw Antonio running around in little circles trying to warm up. I tried to join him but soon there was no room to run. Antonio said he was just going to stay farther back in the crowd for the start, as this is mainly a training run for him leading up to the Vancouver Marathon, which he is running in 3 week's time. He said Chris was farther up front so we bid each other adieu until later and I worked my way up through the crowd until I found him. We were way farther up than last year, about 15 rows from the front, so there would still be many people to try and get around once we got going.
The wheelchair athletes started the race at 8:40, and as we chatted the time went by quickly and soon it was 9 AM and we were off! It was a fast first kilometer down Georgia Street to Denman, and then we turned right, went one block, and turned right again off Denman and headed toward Stanley Park. It got crowded here and I ran up onto the sidewalks at some points to get around slower packs of runners. We turned before actually reaching Stanley Park, and headed back in the direction from which we'd come, finally reaching Pacific Boulevard and running on the street beside the beach. I was kind of in a pack here but this is a massive race so people moved in and out as they sped up and slowed. Again myself and others found ourselves running up on the sidewalks to avoid congestion when passing people.
There were many spectators all along the route, and even more here than usual, but they left the runners lots of room. With them cheering, waving signs, clanging cowbells, honking horns, and banging on drums and other things, and the many musical acts along the route performing for us, our energy was kept at a high level. We ran into a few headwinds along the way, but nothing too bad, and we had good running weather, cloudy but dry and cool.
We sailed past the 5K point and up a steep hill, where I found myself slwing down considerably. Soon we crested it and were on level ground again, but not for long! We hit the Burrard Street Bridge for another uphill, about 400 meters, and then a downhill twice as long. As we got off the bridge things leveled out, and then we ran a few blocks before ending up on 6th Avenue, going towards the finish at B.C. Place stadium. We had another not too steep uphill run near the 7K mark and then it was smooth sailing until incline onto the Cambie Street Bridge.
A few hundred meters later we hit the crest of the incline with only one kilometer to go. I sped up as much as I could now, and we rounded the corner and saw the finishing arch a few hundred meters ahead, with former Olympian Lynne Williams crouching on the sidewalk yelling at us about how awesome we were doing. Everyone just gave it everything they had going in now. I'd wanted to finish below 42 minutes if possible, and by looking at my watch after I crossed the finish line I thought I'd just fallen short by a few seconds. Chris thought he was just above 39 minutes himself.
After crossing the finish line we headed into B.C. Place Stadium. On the floor they had many tables set up, with jiuces, water, bagels, bananas, oranges, and energy bars. I ate a half banana and a few bagels and some water, and that was it. The raisin bagels were the best. The first person I ran into was Scott Stewart, who'd finished just above 38 minutes, and thought he might have won his age group, but said you never knew who might show up, so it wasn't a lock by any means.
Then I saw Antonio, who finished in 47 and change, faster than last year, and next Chris, who figured he ran it in just over 39 minutes, and lastly Hanif joined us. We hung around for quite awhile talking to people, but gradually it was getting quite crowded, and we had trouble moving around. We couldn't find Greg from our club, who was running with his family, and I decided to leave. When I finally got out on the street after walking around the stadium outside, I saw Antonio, Chris and Hanif on the other side. They'd decided to head out too, and yelled that they'd see me on Tuesday on our club run.
I walked home and went to the Sun Run website, and results were already up. I found mine first, and lo and behold, found I'd been mistaken, I finished with a time of 41:58! I ran a sub 42 race after all. Whoo hoo! I was 624th overall, a large improvement over my 683rd finish last year, and I was 31 out of 1467 in my age group. Chris had also done better than he thought he did, 260th overall, 15 of 1762 in his AG, with a time of 38:52! Scott was 213th overall with a time of 38:14, and ended up 2nd of 691 in his AG, still quite awesome! I saw that Drew was 36th overall, but right after that I ran into problems as things froze up on the site, with so many people on it right then checking for results. I'll check the site http://www.vancouversun.com/2012sunrun/index.html again later, probably much later, like tomorrow.
So the Sun Run is over for another year, another huge race getting a lot of people out on the streets for some fitness and fun, and hopefully many of them will continue with what they've started!
My next race is the 8.8K Sport race in the Golden Ears trail running event in Maple Ridge, at 9 AM on Saturday, April 21st.
This has been edition 2 of Gord's Running News for April, 2012.