Tuesday night's race, the Campbell Valley 10K Trail Run, was a rare weekday one, part of the Regional Parks Trail Running Series, presented by Metro Vancouver and sponsored by Peninsula Runners. It's a new series with races on the 3rd Tuesday of the month in July, August and September.
As the name of the race and series indicates, the location was beautiful Campbell Valley Regional Park, in south Langley close to the U.S. border. We started off in a field a little ways from what looked like a farmstead, complete with a house, large barn, stable, and a few other buildings.
We took off at 6:30 PM, running on a bark mulch trail through the field for a few hundred meters before turning right and hitting a wide gravel trail. We ran along here for a couple of kilometers, through open fields and small wooded patches. Just before we hit some dense woods I passed a fellow who I'd been following since we got off the bark mulch, and he said "Good pace!" as I came up beside him, and I replied "I was gonna say the same to you!" I heard him behind me for a few hundred meters, but then all was quiet and he appeared to finally drop back.
At the 4K mark, just as promised by the race director before he sent us off, we hit THE HILL. He'd said it was about 700 meters long, but one of the other runners told me after the race it was closer to a kilometer all told. After about 400 meters of steep climbing I hit a flat point and thought "That wasn't as long he said it was going to be. Great!" My elation lasted for about 15 meters before I turned a corner and the hill continued! It was a little less steep, but still fairly grueling. It seemed like about 300 meters before I hit another flat patch, and I could see a guy who'd been far ahead of me about 10 meters in front of me. Then we hit the last incline of about 200 meters, and he pulled ahead of me some more. We hit the crest and we were now running along a field beside the woods.
I kept pace with him and after a short jaunt a volunteer directed us to take a sharp right into the woods again. Here we had some small ups and downs, snaking along a fairly wide trail, and just after I'd gained on him again, he sped up and disappeared around a bend, and by the time I rounded the corner he was out of sight. I hit a steep downhill just as I heard someone coming up quick behind me. I raced down the grade as fast as I could but he caught up to me at the bottom, and I saw it was a really fast guy in his 30s that I'd seen in other races. I was wondering where he was because I hadn't seen him in front of me at the start, but here he was now!
As also promised by the race director, we now hit a narrow snaking single track, with lots of roots, rocks, and logs to jump over. He was wearing a red shirt and I managed to keep him in sight as we dodged and weaved along the trail. After about another K we exited the single track, and hit a wide trail. He now found another gear, and when I reached a corner he'd gone around he had vanished. The other fellow who'd surged ahead of me soon came into sight. Red shirt had left him far behind too, and I tried to reel him in also, but he still had some gas in the tank.
Soon a volunteer directed us to turn sharply through a fence, and I ran down some wooden stairs and then onto a trail with a few low wooden bridges on it. I knew the end was near, and soon I could hear people cheering and I came out into the field again and saw the finish line. The fellow who I'd been chasing was just crossing it, and I sprinted towards it and in as fast as I could, with the volunteers, spectators, and runners who'd already finished cheering me on. I exchanged handshakes and mutual "Good race!" pronouncements with a few of them, and then got myself a glass of water.
The guy who I'd passed early in the race came in behind a few more runners, and we shook hands and he said "Good pace!" again. After cheering a few more runners in I went over to the Tim Horton's Community Cruiser and got a small bag of Timbits. The organizers had granola and fruit bars, bags of various flavors of Old Dutch potato chips, plus fruit juices to consume, and I grabbed a granola bar and bag of chips. And Tim Hortons also had coffee and hot chocolate, so all told quite a bargain for a $5 race fee!
I went back to the finish line and cheered the rest of the runners in, chatting with my clubmate Murray who'd also run the race, plus other racers and spectators, a very friendly crowd! Finally the last runners came in, 3 young women who beamed as we loudly applauded them, and they started the awards.
It was now getting dark, but they only gave awards consisting of a $50 Peninsula Runners gift certificate to the top male and female runners, so it didn't take very long. They finished things off with about 10 draw prizes, including a package of 4 tickets to Thursday's Vancouver Canadians game, and the racers, volunteers, sponsors and organizers were thanked, and it was time to head home.
It was a well run and very affordable event, with a really nice atmosphere about it, and I'm definitely planning on participating in next month's race at Derby Reach. No results yet but I'll post them when they're up.
My next race is the 5 Peaks Whistler Blackcomb Sport 6.5K trail race, this Saturday, August 25 at 11 AM.