On Friday, June 15, I ran the North Shore Credit Union Longest Day 5K, starting and finishing at UBC Thunderbird Stadium. There was also a 10K and Kids Mile, but the 5K race was the one that is part of the Lower Mainland Road Race Series plus the Timex BC Road Running Series. The entire event was in support of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
We started off at 6:45 PM on the road a block down from the stadium, and rounded a couple of corners until we were on the next street over running in the opposite direction. This was a few hundred meters of downhill running, and everybody sped up and made good time on this stretch. We turned the corner and ran on a flat part for a bit before hitting a hill that wasn't super steep but went on for about 300 meters. I powered up it as fast as I could, trying not to slow up too much. My legs weren't feeling too bad after we hit the crest, and soon I sped up again.
I was running in a pack of about 8 runners now, and we ran together, zigzagging through the UBC streets until about the 3K mark, when myself and another fellow both decided to break out of the pack. There were 4 guys running side by side in front of us, however, so we had to go onto the other side of the road to get around them, but made it! He didn't look like a typical runner, about 5' 6" and stout, but he sure could run! I'd thought he was about 30 years old, and it wasn't until the race was over and we shook hands that I realized he looked to be only a little younger than myself.
There was another hill about the same as the first one, but we made it to the top, and hit a straightaway going slightly downhill, and I sped up and passed my erstwhile running mate. Now the straightaway leveled out and you could see the start banner ahead, and I just tried to keep going at a fast pace. I actually passed a number of people and then we turned a corner before the banner, heading a block down to the stadium, where we turned the corner and headed for the finishers' chute. There was a last uphill here and a young guy zoomed by me, and then I heard a guy yell "Go Gord!" from the sidelines and I legged it in and crossed the finish line.
I shook hands with the fellow who I'd been running with, plus a few other runners who I'd seen out on the course, and then went looking for my clubmates. I found Greg first, who had come in ahead of me and was with his wife Cindy, who'd come out in support. Next Louie and his friend Steve came in, and suggested we go get something to eat. We met Dean, who had his arm in a sling and came out to support us and take some pictures. He was the guy yelling encouragement to me as I ran in. Dean got some great pics and here's one of Louie after his first round through the food line, and another of myself, Louie and Steve chowing down.
They had the same massive amount of food as the year before, and before I got to the end of the line I had a big burger with fried onions and cheese, several slices of various melon type foods: cantelope, watermelon, honeydew, and cucumbers; a giant chocolate cookie, a small fruit yogurt, a Clif bar, and a coconut drink.
We found a place on the grass among the masses of other runners, and dug into our food. Dan Cumming came up and congratulated us on our race, and I finished my meal and then went over to where it looked like some results or draw prizes were posted. It was draw prizes, but they didn't have the winning bib numbers up yet. I turned around and Bill Chang was standing there with another fellow, and Bill said "He did it to us again." It turned out that the guy with him was Richard Armstrong, who'd finished ahead of Bill and myself at the Sandcastle race last Sunday. We introduced ourselves and we both agreed it was nice to finally meet, and then Richard said he had to leave but he'd see us at the next race.
I talked to Bill for a bit more and then I saw Greg heading towards the food zone again, so I said goodbye to Bill and followed him. I caught up to him and asked if he was going for seconds, and he said he was, so we showed our bib numbers to the same 2 volunteers that were there the first time, and they said to come on in. I went down the opposite side from the one I was on the first time, but Greg had gone down this one before and the woman serving the hamburgers and hotdogs recognized him. He said he was embarrassed about this, but she just laughed and gave him his burger, and got a brautwurst for me. I put some fried onions on my braut, and then grabbed some corn chips and salsa, another cookie, and another fruit yogurt, plus a Good 4 You recovery drink, and went back to sit on the grass for round number 2.
After I was done with seconds, I went back to the draw prize area where a couple of women were now writing the winning bib numbers on the board. Arnold, who'd run a few Friday night miles with me last year, came up with a friend, and we talked while we watched them put the numbers up. He hasn't been out there this year yet, but said he's planning to, and it turned out he's running quite a few races himself now. He was at the Sandcastle last week, and he's going to run the Scotiabank Half next Sunday. They finished putting the numbers up but none of us won anything. Arnold and his buddy had to leave and we said we'd see each other at the Scotia, and I headed off to look for my mates. I ran into Louie, Steve and Dean, who said that Greg and Cindy (pictured below) had just left. It was now about 8:30, and though there were still throngs of people there and 10Kers still finishing their race, we decided to call it a day too.
As we were walking out we met Rick (below with Greg) standing on the corner cheering the runners in, and we congratulated him on his race. Rick was slightly injured and was disappointed in his time. He's 10 years older than me and only beat me by 50 seconds this time, so this was a bad race for him! He also finished 2nd in his broad 60+ age group. I guess if he'd had to hop the race on one leg he might have ended up in 3rd! We cheered a few more runners in with Rick and then headed to our cars.
We all agreed it was a great time, and we'd have to pitch it with more vigor to our other club members for next year. They don't know what they're missing!
Results are up, and I finished 95th overall out of 657, and 32 of 102 in my broad 40-59 age group, with a time of 20:32. Greg was 55th overall and 21st in our AG with a time of 18:56, Rick was 71st overall and 2 of 8 in his AG with a time of 19:42, and Louie, who's still on a long injury recovery but wanted to test himself and have a good feed, was 145th overall and 43rd in our AG, with a time of 23:08. http://www.winningtime.ca/12/12ld10k/5k.txt
My next race is the 5K Paavo Nurmi race at Burnaby Lake Park, June 23rd, at 9 AM.