Today I ran the Coho Run 14K, starting out at Kitsilano Beach at 9 AM. Drew Nicholson and Dave Polermo shot ahead of everyone else right from the get go, and Stacey Berisavac was in front of me but I managed to pass her and stay ahead. She used to always beat me in past races so I took this as a good sign. We did a loop around the pool and then headed back alongside the beach, past the Maritime Museum, and then ran along the seawall before veering right for a few hundred yards. Then we went up some steps and hit the Burrard Street Bridge. This slowed us down quite a bit on the 650 meter uphill, but we made up a little time on the 300 meter downhill before reaching the end of the bridge and running down to the seawall on the other side of False Creek inlet.
At about the 5K mark I was running by myself about 20 meters behind a small pack of 6 racers, when a fellow who looked to be in my age group came up alongside me. We ran side by side for about a minute before he passed me, but I stayed right behind him. We came up on a couple of runners who'd dropped off the pack ahead and passed them, and then I sped up and passed him too! For about a kilometer more I kept up a (for me) torrid pace, and thought I'd lost my pursuer, but suddenly he appeared again, just past the halfway point of the race. He said "You're keeping up a great pace, I couldn't keep up to you for awhile." and I replied that he'd managed to catch up to me now, so good on him!
We came up to where we turned into the woods while I was saying this, and I almost kept going straight but luckily the volunteers yelled at me to turn. He got a little lead on me because of my mistake, but no matter, as we now headed up the dreaded Merilees Trail Hill, and he went up it relatively fast while I struggled. A young man and a woman came up beside me and the guy asked "How long is this hill?", and I said "Too long.", and he nodded and went past me. We all stayed in a little pack for the duration of our climb, which was a few hundred meters, and then came out onto flatter ground where we managed to get our legs back and speed up a bit.
I could still see the guy who'd passed me before, ahead on the trail, but then we hit another smaller hill. It was steep enough to knock my legs for a loop again, and when I crested it and turned a corner he was nowhere to be seen. We came out of the woods and hit the Lion's Gate Bridge, which is about a mile long. The young couple had a pretty good lead on me by this time, and I plowed up the 800 meters to the bridge crest as quick as I could go. I sped up on the 800 meter downslope and didn't gain anything on them, but thought that I had a good lead on anyone chasing me, with only about 2 Ks to go now.
We ran over another short bridge and then through some parkway, and hit the last seawall leading into Ambleside Park and the finish line! With about 500 meters to go as I heard cheering ahead and knew the end was near, another guy pulled up beside me and tried to pass. I matched him stride for stride, and glancing at him he looked like he might be in my age group, so I was taking no chances. I went ahead of him and put the pedal to the metal as we hit the home stretch. The finisher's arch came into view and we heard the announcer calling out the racers' names as they finished, plus loud cheering. I heard him desperately trying to catch me but I broke into a sprint. We got a really good ovation as we raced in, and I held him off, finally crossing the mat!
We shook hands and thanked each other for pushing ourselves to go as fast as we could go, and then a volunteer handed us each a bottle of water and we went off to find the food. They had water and coffee to drink, plus cut up bananas, apples, and oranges, and like always, a pancake breakfast!
We were among the first there, so no lineup, and I got a couple of pancakes right off the grill, went and poured some syrup on them, grabbed a seat on the curb, and ate them plus a couple of banana pieces. Feeling refueled I went to the finish chute and cheered in the finishers for awhile. Soon race results were posted and it showed me 2nd in my age group, but a fellow standing in front of me told his wife that they'd got his age group wrong. He was in our 50's group instead of the 40's one that they had him listed in, so I knew I was probably getting bumped to 3rd, as he'd finished 6th overall. Drew won the race, so he was pretty pumped, and Dave Polermo, in spite of coming off an injury, managed to push Drew and finish 2nd overall. Bill Chang was listed as 3rd in our AG, but to our disappointment the fellow was right and Bill was bumped to 4th and off the podium. I told Bill he'd had a good year anyway, finishing 3rd in our AG in the road race series, and maybe we'd both be up there on stage together at this race next year!
They got the awards going and the girl who won the under 19 female age group, Breanna Bentley, appeared to be about 9 years old, and ran the race in 1:09:25! Drew and Dave went up on stage and got their gold and silver medals, I went up and got my bronze, and they had the entire age groups pose together for pictures as we went onstage. When all the awards, draw prizes, and thank you's were done, it was time to close out the event, and we headed off to catch the shuttle bus back to Kits Beach.
Results are up already http://racedaytiming.ca/raceday-results?display=cohorun2012 and I was 27th overall out of 468, 3 of 33 in my age group, with a personal best time for this race (my 3rd go at it) of 1:01:18. Drew's winning time was 47:48, with Dave close behind at 47:59. Bill was 35th overall with a time of 1:02:24, with Stacey not far back, at 37th and 1:02:33.
My next race, on September 15th at 10 AM, is the Pinetree Classic 8K in Coquitlam, the opening event of the 8 race Lower Mainland Cross Country Series.