On Sunday, August 26, I ran in the inaugural MEC Summer Classic 10K.
The race started out at 9 AM beside the Jericho Sailing Centre, and we headed out running on a choppy asphalt trail through a lightly wooded picnic area of the park. I often run through there when I'm training, and when we came to the end of the path after a couple of hundred meters, I couldn't resist jumping over the giant log crossing the path, rather than going around it.
A few runners had gone out fast into the lead, but I let them go and settled in behind a fellow who looked to be only a few years younger than myself, going at a pace more to my liking. It was sunny yet mild, but we soon warmed up, running on the gravel path alongside Locarno Beach and past a fieldhouse. Next was the same thing along the Spanish Banks Beach, before hitting a park space while still running beside the ocean.
I knew what was coming up next, because the race director had cautioned the 5Kers just before she sent us off not to make a mistake and run our race (they were starting at 9:15), as they would end up running up a hill that they didn't want to. Thus, shortly after we went past the 5K turnaround, we hit the Spanish Banks Hill, 1.7 kilometers of fairly steep ascent. We were directed out of the park and ran alongside a winding road heading up to UBC. I've run it countless times in training, but never uphill in a race, just downhill in the Scotiabank Half, and I knew we'd be slowing down considerably.
The fellow in front of me managed to keep a decent pace going, however, and I was able to stay right behind him. At the start of the hill I'd heard someone running behind me, but by the midway point all was quiet back there, any pursuers appearing to have dropped back. We kept slogging until we reached the top of the hill with the trails leading down to the clothing optional Wreck Beach on our right, but they directed us to go a bit further and turn onto a road on the university campus, instead of heading down to run amongst the nudies.
We headed up the road still going on a slight uphill, and it wasn't too long before a volunteer yelled "400 meters to the turnaround!" at us, just as the 3 race leaders passed us going back the other way. About 30 seconds later a man and woman went by, following them, and then nobody else, so when we reached the turnaround I knew I was in seventh place.
At the turnaround a volunteer opened bottles of water for us, and I took a gulp and handed it back to him as that was all I wanted. I thought "What a waste!", as I imagined they'd just be pouring out all the undrunk water, and since we'd stopped to drink I thought "Hey, we're in a race!", and took off back. The guy who I'd been following had still been drinking as I headed out, but soon he was right on my tail, our earlier roles now reversed.
People continually passed us still heading up to the turnaround, and some would say things like "Way to go Gordon!". At first I was wondering how these people knew my name, but the first time he answered one back I realized that my pursuer was named Gordon too!
We ran back to the nudie beach entrance location and began our descent back down the Hill, and Gordon continued to run right behind me. We chatted for a bit as we went down, but then got down to business, and I managed to speed up and put a little distance between us, but not much.
Near the bottom of the hill I heard someone closing fast on me, and thought it was Gordon, but a young fellow in his 20s ran by. He streaked past but then slowed up, and we were now running in a pack of 3. At the fieldhouse just before Locarno Beach the lead runner went a bit off course, but instead of backtracking I told him we should just jump the logs on our right and back onto the proper path, so that's what we all did!
We continued to run 1-2-3, and before too long we were approaching the park with the rickety asphalt path leading back to the finish line, and I didn't jump the log this time, as a volunteer was there and directed us to go around it. We all picked up our pace trying to catch one another, but when all was said and done we crossed the line in the same order we'd been in since the young guy had passed me.
We congratulated each other on a good race, and my friend Andy, who'd finished 2nd in the 5K race, was waiting for me. He wanted to talk about the National Cross Country Championships that would be in almost this same location in the fall, and possibly him joining our club and us putting a team together. We talked about this and other events we could possibly collaborate on, plus other races we'd run, etc. Ingo Jackish joined us for awhile, and then we went to refuel.
I got some water and then a coffee, and they had various types of tasty granola bars, plus bananas and oranges, so we had a little repast consisting mostly of the granola bars.
Andy didn't think they were going to have any medals or anything as it had been advertised as a "no frills" race, but they called us together for an awards ceremony. They had medals for the top 3 male & female overall finishers in each of the races, plus the top under-15 competitors of both genders in each as well. Andy was very pleased especially since he wasn't expecting it, and it was a very nice looking medal. He also received a nice water bottle and carrying pack, and the other winners scored additional prizes as well. I forgot my camera so no picture. Oh well, maybe next year!
We stayed awhile longer chatting with some of the other runners, but soon it was time to head out. Andy lives near me and had walked down to the race, so I gave him a ride home. I had been planning on walking there too, but when I woke up and my calf muscles were still screaming from the 5 Peaks race the day before, I decided it would be a good idea to drive there, instead of walking an extra 3.5K before and after a 10K race.
Results are up, and they now have Andy as being in 3rd out of the 51 finishers instead of 2nd, not sure what that's all about.
He finished in 20:05, which is a pretty good time considering the gravel trails it was run on, which always cost you timewise. The guy who finished 3 seconds behind Andy, John Tai, ran the whole race pushing a baby stroller, and his wife Allison finished next, 12 seconds behind him, to win the women's race! Andy said he had to outsprint John to beat him, and he couldn't believe it when he saw that he was pushing that stroller! Andy's 37 and the Tai's look to be in their early 20s, but very impressive nonetheless.
As for myself, I did indeed finish 7th overall out of 42, with a time of 44.33. Ingo is still on a long recovery from a bad injury, and is a few years my senior, but he still managed to finish 18th overall in the 5K with a time of 26:09. Well done!
My next race is on Sunday, September 2nd, the 18K race in the Walk in the Park Ultra event in Kenna Cartwright Park in Kamloops. The featured competitions are a 54K trail ultra marathon (3 course loops), a 36K jaunt (2 loops), as well as my race, which will be long enough for me! The ultra starts at 7 AM, the 36K at 9 AM, and the 18K at 11 AM, so there'll be no relief from the heat for those running the shorter races, and it'll be an experience! It'll also be an intimate gathering as it's limited to 100 racers in total for the entire event to preserve the environmental integrity of the park.