On Sunday, October 14, I ran the 5K race at the 6th annual Strachan Hartley Legacy Run, held to support the event's namesake Foundation http://www.shlf.ca/about-shlf . It was pouring rain when I arrived at Handsworth Secondary School in North Vancouver, and it continued to rain hard the whole time we were there, so everyone ran from their cars to the school and stayed in the gymnasium until their races started.
The 10K started off at 9:15 AM on the road in the back of the school, and then we took off at 9:30. About 10 guys took off ahead of me, including eventual winner Dave Cressman (here he is on Urban Rush http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XU04GfWWGaM ), in a class of his own today. We ran along the streets, zigzagging either on level ground or slightly downhill for the first kilometer. A couple of the runners ahead of me had already slowed up before the 1K mark, so I passed them and then headed over a small footbridge and up a short but steep dirt hill connecting 2 streets. Coming out on the street again, I was at the back of an already spreading out chase pack. We were ably guided along the whole route by a huge contingent of race marshals, consisting mainly of athletes from the school sporting Handsworth jerseys, and UBC Thunderbirds decked out in their football jerseys.
Dave was already out of sight, but the rest of us were all spread out in a row, and I was content to stay where I was for the time being. We rounded a corner and hit a fairly steep incline about 300 meters long, and I slowed up considerably, but so did everyone else. We reached the crest and everyone sped up, but a couple more guys were losing steam, both of whom looked to be in their 20s. I caught up to them and then pulled out to go by, and one fellow ran side by side with me for about 50 meters before he too dropped back, and I concentrated on the next guy in front of me.
We hit another hill and it wasn't as steep or long as the first one, but still slowed us up again. When we hit level ground again we were running on a road beside the school, but on the opposite side to where we'd started out. The runner directly in front of me had about a 10 meter lead, there was another guy running another 10 meters in front of him, and 2 guys at least a couple of hundred meters ahead of everyone else as we ran up the long straightaway.
Finally we were directed right and ran another block before another right turn and a straightaway leading back to the school. The other fellows managed to hold their leads or increase them, but by the time we reached the spot where we turned into the schoolgrounds I was only about 3 meters behind my nemesis. It was now about 300 meters to go around the track to the finish line! A couple of marshals told the guy in front of me to watch out as I was right behind him, and then they yelled at me to go and catch him.
I sped up but he found another gear and pulled away, but as I hit the final corner he slowed and I closed on him, but ran out of real estate and finished 4 seconds back. After crossing the line we congratulated each other and grabbed some water. We stood under the tents cheering the incoming runners for a bit, but then the race announcer suggested we should probably go into the gym where it was warm, and we all thought that was a good idea.
They had bananas, oranges, Clif bars and 2 types of bagels, with peanut butter, jam, and cream cheese to spread on them. I grabbed a Clif bar and a couple of bagels that I spread cream cheese and jam on, and that filled me up enough. I went back and grabbed a coffee, and then milled around taking everything in as more and more race finishers poured in.
Rob Daniel had run the 10K, and soon after he came in they did some draw prizes while we waited for results, which were soon posted on the front of the stage. They said I'd finished 4th overall and won my age group, but when I got home and looked on the internet I was in fifth, and I finally ended up being 6th overall out of 160, which seemed about right. I won my age group by almost 10 minutes, just like in the Energizer Night Race the night before, but with the longer (accurate) course, hills, and it being my third race run in a 17 hour period, my time was 1:45 higher at 22:22.
I picked up some more swag for my age group win, consisting of a bamboo water bottle, Beer Pong balls, a running light that fits on the peak of your hat, and a $25 gift certificate for De Dutch Pannekoek House. Rob took my picture with me holding my winnings (albeit turning out a bit blurry), and then it was time to head home, with the rain still pouring down, but a fine event nonetheless.
My next race is the Rubber Ducky 7 Miler at Burnaby Lake on Sunday, October 21 at 9 AM.