On Saturday, June 1st I ran the Giant's Head 5.4K in Summerland. There was also a Man of Steel Triathlon http://www.summerland.ca/departments/parks/Man%20of%20Steel%20Triathlon%20Entry%20Form.pdf that went on all day long, plus a 10K that started the same time as my race at 6 PM.
When I arrived there for the race the first thing that I noticed was a huge amount of young people, little kids plus teenagers, warming up and getting ready to race.
As we waited at the starting line, which was on a street a couple of blocks over from the finish line beside the aquatic centre, a guy in his 20s standing behind me told me that he thought it was awesome that all those kids were running the 5.4K. He then told me that he was running the 10K, and said that maybe he shouldn't have just eaten a big plate of poutine right before the race. Probably not!
It was almost 6, so the race director gave us quick last minute instructions, a 10 second countdown, and we were off! After about 30 meters we turned left and the 10Kers went right. We ran along a main drag, and I got past the main block of youngsters, but some stayed with me and even surged ahead. Then we turned off again, running along some quiet residential streets, and soon hitting a fairly steep hill about 300 meters long. As I was running up it in the heat I was thinking I probably did well last year to finish in 23 minutes and change, and thought there was no way I was going to run that fast this time around.
As we crested another hill that was shorter but much steeper than the first one, there was a fellow in his late teens in front of me, plus a kid who looked about 9 or so. A volunteer a few years older than me was standing there, and he yelled at us that there were some little kids farther up ahead of us, implying we should try and catch up to them. I figured that the older young runner was thinking the same thing as myself, "Who cares?", as he was struggling even more than I was, and eventually I passed him.
With less than a kilometer to go the young kid was still in front of me, and as we hit the main drag again I sped up, but so did he. There were people along the street cheering us on, and we hit the turn down the street to the aquatic centre and the finish line.
There were less than 200 meters to go, and we were running downhill. I slowly gained on him, but he heard me coming and looked back at me. We gave the crowd a good laugh, with me racing behind him as fast as I could, and him giving it everything he had to prevent an old man from beating him. I was going to let him win, but I didn't have to, he beat me fair and square. I told him he ran a great race, and he just nodded, holding his side with an expression of pain on his face. About 10 minutes later I saw him sitting by the aquatic centre still holding his side and asked if he was okay, and he said yes, and soon he was fully recovered.
There were bananas and oranges plus juice, water and slushies for us after we'd finished our races. I grabbed a little sustenance, and stayed awhile at the finish line, cheering in the finishing racers. After grabbing my jacket and camera out of my car, I went back and got a couple of pics.
Next I headed a couple of blocks over to the park where there was a huge stage set up with masses of prizes on it. We also had a huge selection of food to buy from the many food carts set up around the perimeter. I had some great Thai food plus an ice cream cone topped with butterscotch sauce.
There was a massive crowd now gathered, and thanks to the generous sponsors, a couple of thousand dollars worth of prizes on the stage to give away. Like last year, I failed to have my name drawn for any of them, but that's okay.
Interspersed with the prize draw was the awarding of medals for the various races. They had teams and individuals from the triathlon as well as from the 5 & 10 Ks, presented by Miss Summerland and her princesses.
I'd won my age group again this year, so when it was my turn I asked a young fellow standing at the front of the stage to take my picture. It was only me alone as the other 2 guys grabbed their medals and immediately exited the back of the stage.
Right after the last awards were given out it started to rain so our emcee wrapped things up quickly and we all happily headed our separate ways.
I finished 6th of 442 overall, and 1st of 35 in my age group, with a time of 23:22, the exact same time I ran last year!
Since I'd traveled all that way already I thought I may as well run another race, so on Sunday morning I ran the Dirty Feet 5K at Myra Bellevue Provincial Park in Kelowna. The 21K race had just taken off at 9:30 as I arrived and managed to snag a scarce spot in the parking lot. I headed up into the woods to the start area and got my race bib, and then went for a warmup. At 10 myself and many others cheered the 10K runners as they started their race, and then at 10:15 it was our turn.
We ran out from the start and quickly turned right and ran through the woods along a mud trail. The race was aptly named, as it had rained recently, and there was no way you weren't going to get "dirty feet". After awhile the trail narrowed to a single track, and we ran out into the open and through some scrub bushes. There were patches of water to go through and the rest was wet mud, with the exception of some rocky parts where you really had to watch your footing.
I ran behind a young woman for quite awhile, watching as she had more and more mud caked to the back of her legs, and knowing the same was happening to me. Again there was a volunteer along the way at one point who told us that some youngsters were kicking our butts. It was cloudy but still pretty warm, and like yesterday we couldn't afford to care.
We came to a steep downhill with about a kilometer to go, and the woman in front of me tore down it. I managed to keep her in sight for most of the rest of the race, but that was about it, as she slowly increased the gap between us. Finally I heard the race announcer and knew the end was near, and headed down the single track and to the turn to the finish where people were waiting and cheering us in. I crossed the line and Rebecca, who won the women's race, was waiting for me, and we congratulated each other on a good race.
They had water, eload and coffee to drink, and gummy bears, chips, popcorn, bananas, oranges, and cookies to eat, and I refueled a bit and then went to my car. I grabbed my camera and went back to the finish line to get some pictures and cheer the people coming in.
After awhile I went and asked the race director when they would have the award ceremony for our race, but he said it wouldn't be for another hour. Since I had to work that night I decided it was best for me to take off, as I had a long ride home ahead of me.
I ended up 5th of 85 overall, 1st of 3 in my age group, with a time of 28:16. In both races a youngster named Jacob finished close in front of me, and another named Elijah not far behind me, but they were different kids in each one!