Yesterday's event was the Four Lakes 10K, which started and ended at Katherine Lake Park on the beautiful Sunshine Coast of B.C. There are 4 lakes that we run alongside: Katherine, Garden Bay, Hotel, and Mixal, hence the name of the race. There was also a 3K run starting 5 minutes after ours.
We began the race at 9 AM from a campground beside Katherine Lake, and I took off fast and was in the lead from the start. I was making good time running on the gravel road heading out of the campground, but then I hit a hill that took the spring out of my steps. I heard someone behind me so I went up it as fast as I was able, and after I was once more on flat ground my legs recovered and I got into a good pace again. Soon we were out of the campground and onto the road. Not long after the 1K marker we were directed left up another road, running alongside a different lake.
We hit another nice hill that I topped as quick as I could, as my pursuer was right on my tail now. There was a turnaround and as we headed back the other way I saw the young fellow who was dogging me. We went another half kilometer before turning right and running beside a 3rd lake, and he came up beside me.
We weren't running together for too long when another guy who looked to be a few years older than myself joined us, going at a nice steady pace. I remarked that we looked like the lead pack in the Olympic Marathon that had been run earlier in the morning, and the young guy said I was being too generous to us. I replied that they'd showed it in slow motion, so it looked like they were travelling at our pace.
The older fellow said he lived right nearby and ran this route often, but had skipped the race last year because he was training for the Victoria Marathon and it didn't fit into his plans. I told them I'd run it last year, and the young guy said it was his first time. We stopped yapping and resumed racing, and I felt a burst of energy and surged ahead, but they were never far behind.
We hit one hill and I managed to go up it fairly fast, but the next one took the starch out of my shorts, and after we crested it they both passed me. We were now beyond the 6K mark and they sent us down another road.
Someone new was on my tail now, and eventually she came up beside me. I guessed that this was Meghan, heavily favoured to be the top female finisher, who I'd heard about as we milled around before the race started. We ran side by side for awhile and then I took the lead again. We hit another turnaround and she was hot on my tail, with the 2 leaders about 20 meters ahead of us. We got back to where we'd turned in and headed back towards Katherine Lake. Meghan's identity was soon confirmed by people running towards us on the other side of the road calling out her name and yelling encouragement.
She passed me with 2 kilometers to go, and race director Teresa Nightingale was waiting on the side of the road taking pictures of us. Not long after this she drove by me in her van and said "Good job, stay with her!" as she passed, heading back to the finish line.
Looking ahead I could see that the older fellow had found another gear and had opened up a 40 meter lead on the other guy, who now had about 50 yards on us. The sun had been beating down on us but we hit some nice shade as there were trees on both sides of the road now for a bit. Unfortunately, we also hit a hill, which slowed us up, but we picked up speed again on the ensuing downhill.
The race leader was out of sight as we hit the 9K marker, but we were reeling the young guy in. Soon we turned into the campground, heading down the gravel road toward the finish line, with about 500 meters to go. I was about 10 meters behind Meghan, but gained some ground on her as we hit a hill and then a downhill. Either she heard me coming up on her own, or the lead cyclist who was with her told her I was closing on her, because she picked up the pace and was now matching mine. The young guy was just ahead of Meghan now, but he too found some reserve energy and went into a sprint, and we sped into the finish chute and crossed the line with our positions unchanged.
Teresa took my picture and told me that food and drink was up above the finish area, so I thanked her and went to get some. To drink they had good old fashioned H20, and to eat sliced watermelon and bananas, plus delicious home baked peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and banana bread.
I shook hands with the race winner Ian, who said he was happy myself and Paul, who finished second, were in the race, as we'd pushed him to go fast for much of it. We turned out to be in the same age group, and so was Chuck Steemers, who I'd met here last year and was on our team for this year's Fool's Run. Chuck didn't think he'd medaled this year, but I told him that I thought he may have grabbed the third podium spot, and I hoped he had, but we'd have to wait for the results.
I chatted some more with the other runners, and we cheered in the remaining finishers. The last one to come in was a young woman who'd run the whole 10K pushing 2 infants in a huge stroller, and she received quite an ovation for her accomplishment!
Soon after this they began giving out the awards. The top 3 overall male and female finishers were acknowledged, but there were only medals presented to the top 3 in each age group. When Teresa got to our age group, she announced third place first, and Chuck was the winner! He joined Ian and myself on the podium, where we received the same really cool wooden medals as last year.
They finished things off with a bunch of draw prizes, and then we were done for another year. Some stayed to spend some time at the beach, and the rest of us headed out, with myself, Ian and Chuck wishing each other good fortune until we saw each other again.
Results are up, and I finished 4th overall out of 43, and 2 of 8 in my age group, with a time of 43:02. http://www.foolsrun.com/4lakes/results12.htm#overall
My next race is the Richmond Oval 10K, August 19 at 8:30 AM.