On Saturday, December 1st, myself and some of my clubmates ran the Gunner Shaw Memorial 10K in Jericho Beach Park. It was a 2 lap race, and there was also a non-series scoring 1 lap 5K race. We started out at 11 AM near the front of the Jericho Sailing Centre, running across the grass and into the woods for about 100 meters or so before hitting a road. We didn't cross the road but instead turned right and ran through the grass along the sidewalk for a block, hung another right, and headed into the trees again.
Soon we were back in the open and running on a gravel path past the sailing centre in the opposite direction now. After about 150 meters the path went through some trees briefly before we were out in the open again, heading toward the beach. We were directed onto the sand and ran through it for about 400 meters. Because of the wet weather it was packed down better than last year and not too bad to run through, until about the last 60 meters where the sand was very loose.
Coming off the sand we leapt over a log and into the grass, where a fellow who looked to be a few years younger than myself ran past. It struck me as odd that he was running the race wearing a jacket and warmup pants. We reached a line of bushes with a break in them where we had to cross a ditch full of ice cold water. I was right behind the guy who'd just passed me, when all of a sudden he stopped and started walking, swinging his arms wildly out to the sides. I managed to get around him and ran through the water and up onto the grass. I heard him say to someone behind me "Oh sorry, oh I get it now, keep it going. Ho! Ho!" I have no idea why he did that, but thankfully that was the last I saw of him anyway.
We ran around a large field before heading off into the woods again, traveling along a mud path for awhile before heading down a short but steep and slippery hill. Next we were directed to our right and down a wide concrete path, where there appeared ahead of us a sign that said "PUDDLE FROM HELL" on it. Here the path was completely submerged in water about a foot deep, but the people in front of me were just running on the grass around it, so I thought "Hey, this isn't going to be so tough." After a few meters we turned a corner and there was suddenly no more grass to run on, so there was no choice but to run through the ice cold water for 100 meters or so.
Reaching the end of what Dee Makepeace later dubbed "The Jericho Canal", we ran to the path going back to the sailing centre, through the trees, and then onto the grass behind the tennis courts. It was here that I lost my footing and wiped out, but the ground was nice and soft, so I just bounced up and continued running across the field and past the finish line to begin the second lap.
Everything was going well, and I was running behind Ian Wall who I ran with in the Four Lakes 10K, when we hit the slippery hill again. As I was going down it my left foot sank into the mud and it felt like my shoe was coming off, but I managed to free it just quick enough and it stayed on.
We hit the puddle again and I had Ian running in front of me, and accomplished triathlete Stephanie Ossenbrink running beside me. Stephanie said "Well, at least we're getting our ice bath.", and I replied "You got that right."
All photos courtesy of Teresa Nightingale
After exiting the puddle we knew the end was near and we all sped up.
As we ran behind the tennis court I was careful with my footing and didn't wipe out this time, and then we bolted the 150 meters to the finish line. Ian dashed ahead of us, and then a young guy flew by and just failed to nip Ian at the finish line. Stephanie just outsprinted me while I managed to stay ahead of a person coming up fast behind me.
After a few minutes some of my clubmates started coming in, Michael O'Grady and Dee and John Makepeace, and it was time to head upstairs into the sailing centre to warm up and get some food. Elsie and Marc Fontaine were already up there. Marc's still injured and this course was a little too dangerous for Elsie to run, but they came out in support nonetheless. To refuel us they had bananas and oranges, soup, bagels, jam and peanut butter, Timbits and coffee, and everyone's favourite: Fresh Slice Pizza!
We all milled about chatting and eating until the racers had all come in, and eventually the awards started. Michael was second in his age group, and Roger Roufosse and Donna Lowe from my club won theirs, but the rest of us didn't come near the podium with the fast field today, and with the festivities over it was time for us to head out.
I finished 83rd overall out of 188, and 8 of 14 in my age group, with a time of 44:05.78.
Our club finished 2nd to the Kajaks in the series, but we'll be gunning to get our trophy back next year.
I managed to finish 3rd in my age group for the third year in a row, which I hadn't expected.
Here's a video of us running through "the puddle":
Gunner Shaw photos by Teresa Nightingale:
Here's also a video of the Canadian Cross Country Championships Masters Race:
And finally the photos of the same race, just click on the yellow Candian X-Country Champ 2012 to see them:
My next race was the Stewart Mountain 10 Mile Cross Country Challenge, at Thetis Lake Provincial Park just outside Victoria, at noon on Saturday, December 8.