Today's race was the Pinetree Classic 8K, the first race in this year's Lower Mainland Cross Country Series. It took place in Mundy Park in Coquitlam, and I almost didn't get there in time. I was already out in Coquitlam when I pulled over and parked my car to check my map to make sure I was going the right way, and then my car wouldn't start when I went to get going again. Luckily BCAA came right away, and it turned out that my car's el crappo Motomaster battery, that the guy said was put in just 2 years ago, was shot. He gave me a boost and got me going, so I didn't have to miss the race, and I'd take care of the battery later. I told him that being from Winnipeg I always had jumper cables with me, so if I needed a boost after the race it would be no problem.
I got there with about 20 minutes still to spare, and by the time I parked on a sidestreet because the lot was now full, got my number, warmed up and chatted a bit with some of the other runners it was time to line up for our race, which consisted of the males 20 years and older. The race director gave us quick instructions, and then we were off in a flash, surprising a few of the guys. We did one lap around the field on the grass, and then it was off into the woods. The path was dirt with some tree roots, turning to gravel in some parts, but fairly wide so it was easy for people to pass. The speedsters ran ahead and I stayed behind Mike Mooney, who I knew was way faster than me, but I'd heard him discussing what he was going to do with a friend when we were lining up. His strategy was to go out slower than usual and then speed up later in the race, so I thought it would be a good idea to pace off him until he did so. After about a kilometer he pulled away, and then we hit a steep hill. I managed to keep going up it without slowing down too much, and then sped up after the crest. I was running behind a fellow I'd seen in some other races now, and in front of him was a pack of about 6 other racers.
After a few minutes I gained a second wind and passed my pacer, and then picked off a fellow who had dropped off the pack. I came up on a young guy who I'd passed early in the Campbell Valley race a couple of weeks ago. He was walking and holding his side, but started running again just before I reached him. After a few minutes he stopped and was holding his side again, and I went past him. The pack was nowhere in sight in front of me now, and I couldn't hear anyone behind me as I ran along the trail, heavily shaded by the forest. With about a kilometer to go I passed a volunteer at a junction who clapped and cheered me on, and then I heard him doing the same thing again, so I knew there was now someone on my tail. I sped up and managed to keep a good pace going, and soon I came out where the field and finish line were. Many people were there cheering as it was a big meet, and I was directed around a corner and into the field. Brenda from my club was waiting for me and directed me to run around the cones and one more lap around to the finish. I sped up as I knew the finish line was near, and crossed with nobody right on my tail.
My erstwhile pacer came in next, and told me he tried to keep up to me but just couldn't do it. We introduced ourselves, his name is Andrew and he remembered me from a lot of races, as we're usually close together, at least at some point in most of them. I saw the young fellow come in and went to congratulate him. He said he wasn't happy, as he'd gotten a cramp in his side twice, and I told him I knew because I'd been behind him. I said that these things just happen sometimes and that's the way it goes, and told him it was great that he finished strongly in spite of his misfortune.
Arnold came in and he said he was happy with his race, and he's getting faster all the time. He said he's going to join our running club too, and I told him that sounds great, and we'd be very happy to have him. Arnold wondered how Drew did, so we went to ask him, and found out he finished second overall. Then we went to the food table, where they had 3 types of yummy cookies, and delicious muffins, plus bananas and oranges, and myself and Arnold had a few cookies and a couple of muffins to refuel ourselves. They got the awards going very quickly, right after sending the plus 20 women off on their 5K race. They presented 5 year age group ribbons, none for overalls, and in lieu of a podium they had 3 small signs with numbers on them for 1st, 2nd & 3rd. Winners went up and stood behind their number for the presentation and photo op, which the presenter, a very humourous fellow, insisted they do. Drew won his age group, and then they came to mine, and to my surprise I finished 3rd! Paul Wood and Rob Daniel also won 3rd place ribbons, and in the women's race Dee Makepeace from my club got 2nd, plus Brenda finished 3rd in their age group! Next the 8 to 10 year old boys ran 2.5K with ribbons to 6th place, and young Fraser from the Friday Night Mile got his 4th place ribbon, and left to go to his soccer game and show it off to his teammates. With that it was time to head out, in my case in search of a new car battery. No results on the net yet but I'll post them when they're up.
My next race is the Derby Reach Regional Park Trail Run 10K, at 6 PM on Tuesday, September 18.