After the Golden Ears race on May 11 I headed to the ferry terminal at Tsawwassen, and took the 3 PM over to Victoria. I have a season's pass for the Q's Victoria Run Series, and I was running the Oceanside 10K in Parksville on Sunday morning. Since I was going over to Vancouver Island anyway, I decided I may as well go to Victoria first and run a race in their initial meet of the season before driving up to Parksville.
I arrived at Oak Bay High School with an hour to go before the meet start at 6:30 PM, and registered for the 800 meter open mixed race. Chris the meet director told me that mine was the first event of the night, so I went and got ready. First things first, I asked him where the washroom facilities were, and he directed me to the community centre adjacent to the track. Next I pinned on my bib number, warmed up, put on my spikes, and before I knew it they were calling us to the starting line.
The gun was fired and the 15 of us took off, with everyone soon moving in and claiming a spot in lane one as we raced around the track. I recognized Gary Duncan who I know is a fast runner in my age group, and I kept up not too far back of him for about 150 meters. I realized that he was going much too fast for me, dropped my pace off, and watched him and some others with him fade off into the distance. I did, however, manage to pass my soon to be new friend Frank Towler going around the bend before the straightaway that would take us to the end of the first lap. Running as fast as I could, I completed said straightaway as the spectators cheered us through, and just concentrated on keeping my pace up as I entered the last lap.
Rounding the first corner I passed a guy who I would find out later was Gary Donahue, and then I set my sights on a fellow up ahead. I gained steadily on him but as we hit the last straightaway with the finish line looming he kicked it into high gear too, and managed to cross not quite 2 seconds before I did. A few seconds afterward I looked and Gary was coming in with Frank behind him, and then Frank shifted into another gear and nipped Gary at the line!
I gravitated to the infield where I got talking to Frank, who told me that he was doing all 3 races, so he still had the 1500 and 5000 to go! I said I was only doing the 800 because I'd run a trail race that morning, and was running the Oceanside 10K the next day at 11 AM. Frank was running a 5K in the morning himself, and almost conned me into running the 1500 when they announced it would be starting. I thought better of it quickly though, and ended up just watching like I'd originally planned to do. Gary Duncan came over, it was a pleasure to finally meet him, and told us that he was only running the 800 and 1500 because he was running the Gutbuster trail race in the morning.
They had what looked like scarves for the top three of each gender in all the races, and an official called Gary over to give him his for finishing 3rd in our race. Frank told me Gary's getting soft in his old age, because in the old days not only would he have also run the 5000, but he would have found a race to run that morning too. My reply to this revelation was to say that the more I heard about this guy Gary, the more I liked him!
Next we watched the elite men's 800 race, and it was great to be able to watch such fast runners up close.
Then I watched and cheered the racers in the 1500 that Frank almost got me to run, and did the same for the 1500 elite men's race right afterward. They were having the 5000 open mixed contest next, and I told Frank that though I really would have enjoyed watching them, I'd better get going as I had at least a 2 hour drive to Parksville. He told me it would probably be raining heavily on my way up there and to drive carefully, and I said thanks and I'd see him at the Q's next meet at the UVic stadium in 2 weeks.
I finished 9 of 15 overall, and 2 of 3 in my age group, with a time of 2:51 flat. This is a PB for me, .38 seconds faster than my only previous 800 meters race in the Trevor Craven meet last year.
In all the excitement I forgot to take any pics, but a film of our race can be watched here:
There's more videos here:
Lastly here's the rest of the meet results, Frank ran an amazing 22 minute 5K after running the 800 and 1500, and he's 69 years old!