On Saturday, October 13, I competed with my clubmates in the Frank Reynolds Memorial Cross Country Meet in Cates Park in North Vancouver. The first event of the day was the 8 year old boys 1.5K race at 10 AM, and it progressed from there, with our 6.3K race being the last event of the day. The men were sent off at 2:30 PM, and they started the women behind us a few minutes later.
We started off on our first of 3 laps, running on the grass for only about 50 meters before turning left, running around a group of trees, and then heading back the other way, around the fieldhouse, and then down the grass toward the water. We ran up around the field and a couple of hundred meters later we were sent down a wide trail into the woods. After a couple of hundred meters more we turned left, ran over a small wooden bridge, and hit a double track trail with some nice puddles and tree roots to navigate.
Gihan Wickremasuriya passed me after we crossed the bridge, and I thought that there's no reason I should let him beat me. Even if he is 13 years younger than myself, I almost always finish ahead of him in a race, but in the odd one he beats me, and I no longer see any reason why he should. Consequently, as we leave the woods and run around the edge of a field I speed up and pass him. Then we hit a patch of grass that slopes upward for a couple of hundred yards, and I manage to go up it without slowing up too much. At the top of the hill we hit the woods again, going downhill before crossing another small bridge and hitting a single track trail.
The trail gets a little wider as we zig and zag along it, hitting some small uphills and downhills, and finally we're out in the open again, running past the fieldhouse on the opposite side and then past the starting line again to begin the second lap. On this lap we're more spread out now, and I just concentrate on keeping my speed up and not wiping out. We hit the open space where I passed Gihan before, and I find myself speeding up again, but then I hit the grass upslope once more, and went up it a little slower than the first time. Enterng the woods I got my legs back and darted along the path, coming out into the open again and speeding up as I hear all the people cheering in the starting area.
Last lap to go, and as we pass the fieldhouse and head down the grass I go to pass a guy, and he says "It's yours!", meaning the upcoming hairpin turn at the bottom. I say thanks to him, and realize I just passed Bob Wade, who I've never come close to beating in a race before. In the woods I pass a few guys who've slowed up, and then we hit the field and I hear someone behind me. I'm guessing it's Bob Wade, so I surge again, but then when I hit the grass hill it slows me up pretty well this time. A couple of women from my club are walking up it, and as I go by them I say "Yo Sunrunners!" and they yell "Go Gord!", so that gives me a little boost to get me up the hill a bit quicker.
In the woods I speed up as my legs recover, and I know the end will soon come, so I motor as fast as I can, finally coming out of the trees and turning towards the finish chute that is now set up. As I sprint in a couple of the young guys who've already finished yell at me to keep going fast until I cross the line, and I do!
After crossing the finish line a volunteer holding a box of small Clif bars tells me to grab a handful, and to grab a pair of running socks that they have hanging there, much more useful than a finisher's medal! That's all they have to eat except some protein Clif Builder bars but that's okay, they aren't stingy with them, and it was only a ten buck entrance fee.
We cheer the rest of the runners in, and I notice they're packing things up. It's not really nasty weather, not raining anyway, but the wind's blowing in pretty well off the water. The organizers have been there since early in the morning, so I can see why they want to get going and go home. Usually at this race they have an awards ceremony where they give the winners socks, but this year everyone got socks and they skipped the ceremony and we'd find out the results later online. After talking to many of the other runners, who all professed to have enjoyed the race, I get ready to head out as most of the other competitors start to leave.
Rob Daniel told me he might run the Strachan Hartley race with me tomorrow morning, not that far away from where we are now, and I took a picture of him and Mary Hinze from my club, easily the cutest couple there! I'm running the Energizer Night Race 5K in Stanley Park at 7 PM, and it's 3:45 right now, so I headed home to get ready for that race!
Results are up, and I ended up 3 of 9 in my age group, with a time of 26:31. I finished 17 seconds ahead of Bob and only 11 seconds behind Marc Fontaine from my club, the closest by far I've ever finished behind him in a race, so very happy with my effort today.
The Kajaks are now 105 points ahead of us, with 4 races to go in the 8 race series, so we have some work to do if we want to keep our championship trophy from last year.