Today's race was the Rubber Ducky 7 Miler in Burnaby Lake Park. It wasn't raining when I got there but it was cool, only a few degrees above zero. I ran into Tina Louise Harris, who said she had injured both calves running with her baby stroller, and then reinjured them again in her first race back. She had been registered to run the half marathon here but as time passed finally switched to the 5K to see how it went as she's still recovering. I told her if all went well she could very well win the 5K, and wished her luck.
All three races started out at 9 AM, and Craig Premack darted out ahead of me with a dozen or so other runners, and by the time we ran the 200 meters down the straightaway and made the turn left towards the woods, he was already 20 meters in front of me and continuing to pull away. We looped around, making another left and headed down a path in the woods for another couple of hundred meters, and Tina Louise pulled up and passed me about halfway to the corner. I managed to stay behind her as we ran down another straight gravel path, fairly level with some minor ups and downs.
We came to the 1K marker and turned right, going over a short wooden bridge, and into the woods, where the path began to zigzag constantly now. Before long I saw the 5K turnaround sign about 10 meters ahead, and Tina rounded it in first place, and I yelled "Go Tina!" as she raced by me heading back to the finish line.
I continued on, twisting and turning on the gravel trail, until about the 5K point where we came out into an open area and a volunteer directed us up some metal stairs and onto the walkway over a dam. As I bounded down the stairs on the other side, I could hear someone close behind me. I sped up and the steps faded, but after about the 6K mark I saw a fellow who'd run out behind the leaders at the start of the race. He'd slowed up now and I steadily gained on him and went past him a couple of minutes later.
Now I saw another guy ahead of me, the young fellow who'd finished just ahead of me in last year's race. We reached a small bridge with wooden stairs and I ran up them behind him and followed him down the other side, and as we entered the maze of trails again I ran by him too, and soon the sound of his footsteps faded behind me until all was quiet again.
After the 9K marker I could already hear cheering and the announcer at the finish line, and then I heard footsteps coming up behind me and it was the young fellow I'd passed a couple of kilometers back. He went by me and then I heard someone else coming up fast, and it was a guy in his twenties hightailing it who quickly raced by both of us.
I managed to stay behind the one guy as the youngest one bounded farther ahead of us, and before I knew it the cheering was getting quite loud and we were out of the woods and back in the field where we'd started. Now they directed us to run a couple of hundred meters away from the finish line before we hit a turnaround and headed back. 300 meters later we were directed down the finisher's chute, but the youngest runner had thankfully kept going straight, meaning he was doing the half marathon.
We still had about 200 meters to go, and the guy in front opened it up, and I tried but was unable to, and ended up crossing far behind him.
I got my finisher's medal from a volunteer and congratulations and a handshake from Mitchell the race director, and then headed into the food tent. After rehydrating with some water I grabbed a couple of brownies plus one each of the Clif Builder protein and regular Clif bars for refueling. After those I went to where they were grilling flapjacks for us, put a couple on a plate with some syrup, and sat down to enjoy them.
After I finished those Craig Premack, his daughter Lena, and his friend Rob appeared. I was no match for Craig today and he ended up smoking me by over 2 minutes, Rob finished 3rd overall, and Lena was 14th overall in the 5K. We talked for a bit and then as they all lived nearby they left to change and freshen up before the awards. I went to my car and put my jacket on and got my bell, and went back to the finish line to cheer in the finishers. On the way there I ran into Tina, who told me she'd had to stop a few times in the second half of her race and catch her breath, but she'd still finished in first place. I congratulated her and went to the finish area, but after about 15 minutes my hands were frozen and I was having trouble ringing my bell, so I headed back to the heated tent where they were doing the 5K awards just outside it.
After those were finished I went inside the tent where some results were posted, and discovered I had indeed finished 2nd in my age group, as only Craig was ahead of me in the 50-59 category. A fellow from Canmore struck up a conversation with me, and was telling me about how he vacations all over the place, and runs races wherever he happens to go, when they announced that they were starting the awards for the 7 miler. Craig wasn't back in time so Rob grabbed his medal for him, I went up and received mine and then we applauded the remaining winners.
With that done my Canmore acquaintance said it was time for him to go, and I said that sounded like a good idea, so we said we hoped to see other again at some other races, and headed out. I met Craig arriving back on the way to my car, and told him Rob had his medal and congratulated him again. Next I ran into Larry Doan from the Kamloops Marathon, who I'd seen just before the start of the race, and we chatted for a bit before I finally got going. It'd had been a great time but it would be nice to get home and inside where it was dry and warm.
I was 11th out of 138 overall, with a time of 47:31, and because the online results don't show any categories, I emailed Mitchell and found out I was 2 of 10 in my AG.
There were 2 other Fletts in the 7 miler, Warren finished 120th overall, and Andrea 137th. I'll have to keep an eye out and hopefully meet them in the future. All Rubber Ducky participants got a nice bright yellow race shirt, perfect for running at night now with the short days, plus a cool rubber finisher's medal made out of recycled tires. Photos are also up: http://www.facebook.com/pages/TRY-EVENTS/45416122127?ref=stream#!/media/set/?set=a.10151216308477128.483681.45416122127&type=1
My next race is the 8K Masters race in the B.C. Cross Country Championships, on Saturday, October 27 at 10:45 AM at Clearbrook Park in Abbotsford.