On Sunday, December 9 I ran the Holiday Hustle 5K in Sechelt. Normally the Stewart Mountain Challenge is my final race of the year, but Teresa and Larry Nightingale created a new event this year to raise funds to send the Chatelech Secondary School band to Hawaii Tour 2013, and food and goods for the local Elves Club for Christmas hampers. So naturally I had to do it.
We started off at 9:30 AM on a road near the Aquatic Centre, and the untimed 2K began 5 minutes later. Both races also had untimed walkers and dance walkers participating.
John Atkinson (B.C. Johnny http://bcjohnny.podbean.com/ ), who used to reside in the Lower Mainland until fairly recently, but now lives in Sechelt, blasted out ahead of everybody else and never looked back until he crossed the finish line in first place. We ran straight up the road for a few hundred meters and then it became weavy for another half kilometer or so. After this we turned off and ran along some twisting residential streets. There were 2 younger guys wearing identical gray t-shirts running in front of me. One of them looked to be in his early twenties and was built more like a large football linebacker than a runner, and I was impressed at how he was keeping up with our pace.
Soon he slowed down and dropped behind his friend, and then I went past him and kept following his slightly older but slimmer buddy. After a short while we turned off into a small park and onto a winding gravel path going around some ponds full of ducks. They quacked loudly as we ran through, and my pacer yelled "They're cheering for us!", and I laughed and said "Yep!" as we exited the park and hit the streets again.
I was going great guns staying right behind him, but then we turned and hit a fairly steep hill about 300 meters long, and I slowed up considerably while he surged ahead. I'm pretty sure that doing the Stewart Mountain race the previous day wasn't helping my cause here, and he was about 30 meters ahead of me by the time I crested the hill and turned right onto level terrain. Soon we hit the 3K point as we headed back to the Aquatic Centre, and I managed to close the gap between us slightly a few times, but each time I did he would surge again and be even farther ahead of me than he was before.
When I reached the road near the Aquatic Centre again John Atkinson came jogging toward me doing his post race cooldown, and yelled "Way to go Gord!", and gave me a high five. About 20 meters later I was directed by the volunteers to take a hard right into the centre's parking lot before dashing the final 30 meters to the finish line.
After myself and some other finishers congratulated each other we headed into the centre to get out of the light rain and warm up. The Hawaii bound school jazz band was getting ready to play, and there were huge tables of food waiting for us. They had bananas and oranges plus fruit, cheese, and veggie platters. The band members and their families plus some volunteers including Teresa had also baked up masses of delicious baked goods for us, including cookies, small pastries and various chocolate enhanced creations. The ones that stood out the most, for myself anyway, were Santa's hats made from strawberries on chocolate bases with white icing toppers. I periodically sampled all of these delights and enjoyed them immensely.
We were each given a draw ticket, and they gave out several prizes while results were tallied and then the band played a lively Christmas number for us. Next they did the awards and since it was mainly a charity fun event there were no age group presentations, just for the top three male and female 5K overall finishers, plus a special award for the fastest 2K runner, 5-year-old Joffre Storey.
The band was preparing to play another tune after which there'd be more draw prizes, but I decided I'd better head out because I wanted to make sure that I caught my ferry. I gave my draw ticket to one of my many fellow competitors still there enjoying the festivities, and reluctantly made my departure. Kudos to Teresa, Larry, all the other volunteers, plus the band members and their families for putting on such a well organized, fun, and worthwhile event. Almost $1300 was raised for the band, and $195 plus two and a half big boxes of food and toys went to the Elves.
The Coast Reporter did a nice story on the event:
The race website is here:
Here's the race map for those (including me) who found my course description confusing:
I was 4 of 60 overall, with a time of 21:45.
My next race is the Resolution Run 8K trail race on New Years Day at 10 AM in Crescent Park.