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Whitby Waterfront 10k & Boxing Day 10 Miler

Race: Whitby Waterfront (5k, 10k and 10m)

Date: November 21, 2010

Race: Boxing Day 10 miler, Hamilton

Date: Any guesses?


I wasn’t going to file a report on the Whitby Waterfront races, but after seeing the latest accomplishment from John Tranter in the Boxing Day 10 miler, I have changed my mind.

The Whitby Waterfront race was a good opportunity, after two weeks recovery from the Hamilton Marathon, to see what was left in the tank. The week before I had PB’d the Casablanca 8k in 28:43. If I could do that on just six days rest, then I expected better for Whitby. And as John and I both ran Hamilton, we were more or less on equal footing.

The above result from Casablanca deserves further attention, because it was within seconds of the time that Johnny Jogger won the Alfie Shrubb 8k back in 2005 at age 53. After five years of chasing John about, I had finally drawn even with one of his better results. And once the Whitby 10k race was in the books, I would find I had pulled even with him again, this time for the 10k distance.

The Whitby Waterfront races were all Road Warrior races, and I needed a bucket load of points to get back into the hunt for top spot. I heard a few crazy diehards were running all three. This was possible due to the staggered start times. I had only signed up for the 10k, but the wheels were already turning. In any event, the 10k race was to be “full gas” for John and me. My goal was a sub-36 and Johnny was coming along for the ride, as it had been over three years since he last touched 36-something in a 10k race (36:07 Sporting Life 2007).

The race was a rolling meandering there and back along the waterfront, heading out eastward from the Whitby Shores mental institute. One must think those participants running all three races were well serviced by the venue. The day was miserably cold and windy. Many portions of the east direction were into a nasty head wind.

Not long after the start, John tucked in behind a couple of runners. Somehow I was inexplicably flat, and settled in behind the fourth or fifth place runner. After 1.5k the first nasty headwind was over and things had sorted out a bit. John was in close second, almost side by side another runner and I had moved up to third. But Johnny appeared to be slipping away!

At 2k, John’s company drifted a bit too far left and pushed him off the path. His response was swift and decisive: a slip  behind, side step over to the right, a quick 20 m surge and it was done. John had the lead. I have run with John a few times now, and the lead is the last thing you want to give him. He treats it like his most prized possession.

From 2k to 4k, the headwind returned, and John’s company was drafting him but not sharing the work. Finally, it seamed John had enough and surged ahead. I had to make my own decision: John was about 100 m ahead and if I didn’t move too, the race would be all his. So push I did. Having to work against the wind on his own took the starch out of John’s pursuer, and I was soon level and into second. He was a young chap, so I had to remark: “Not bad for a 58 year old?”

The return back and onward to 6k saw no changes. John had a comfortable 100 m lead, and I was thinking I would have to settle for second, not that I minded. I remembered I was chasing Road Warrior points and I needed the best time possible. If I could stay with John, I would get a good time and hence the best possible points, so I began working at closing the distance if I could.

By 8k I had done it, finding myself level with John. John was at his limit, and I had finally managed to find something in my legs. He said go for it and I obliged, as he said later, passing with authority. I took first in 36:08, and John second in 36:21, admirable times given the difficulty of the course and weather, and also considering our marathon recovery was by no means complete. I once again take pride in having matched one of John’s better performances in recent memory, this time in the 10k distance.

That is the story for the Whitby 10k, but there are two codas, one for me and one for John.

The thought of additional Road Warrior points was tantalizing me and I had exactly 24 minutes to make up my mind. Twenty minutes later, I was lining up at the start of the 10 miler with a new bib pinned to my shirt. I could not resist the opportunity, as the other top Road Warriors (Rosemary Stochel and Liz Spellen) had only entered single races. That, and I was likely giddy from winning the 10k.

Anthony Davey appeared disappointed that I hadn’t chosen the 10 miler as my race. As I would see, he could have used the company, since he led from start to finish in a lonely 58:40, over a minute and a half better than the next racer. I was not much beyond the 7k marker when Anthony passed me going the other direction! I had hoped for about 64 minutes for myself, but settled for 67 which was good enough for 12 more Road Warrior points, a total of 30 points on the day. Mission accomplished.

Between the Whitby race and Boxing Day, there were a lot of races to be run, which I did chasing the Road Warrior crown. John wisely took it easy. By the time Christmas was over, I was toast and John was ready to have a go at the annual Boxing Day 10 miler in Hamilton. The Boxing Day race is a highly regarded tradition, much like Around the Bay, and always attracts top competition. There is a coveted gold snowman medal for all runners who crack 60 minutes, and the race is very difficult. The course leads down to water’s edge of the bay and then climbs up to the foot of the escarpment (around the top of Chedoke golf course) in the latter part of the race. If you were a sub-60 10 miler, a finish time of 61 minutes would be an accomplishment for a course of this difficulty.

I did not enter the race (and have not yet) so this account is very simple: I looked up John’s time and found he had run 61:10. This was over three minutes better than his last attempt in 2006 and a full minute under his course PB (likely attained in the days of hand timing). Anthony Davey finished in 60:23 and he has more than a few sub-60 10 milers in the books. Anthony had warned me this course was very difficult, and he has yet to claim one of those gold medals. I wrote to John after the race to congratulate him. He indicated he had been fighting a cold and was not 100%. Wow. Congratulations, once again, to Johnny Jogger!

Previously: The Legend of Johnny Jogger – Part 2

Read Anthony Davey’s Reports: Boxing Day 10 MilerWhitby Waterfront 10 Miler


Born and raised in Hamilton & Stoney Creek. Ran X-Country in high school, but not really special at it - a middle of the pack finisher. But then again, really didn't know how to train. Didn't run after Gr 12 due to nasty shin splints. Really never ran in proper shoes back then. Didn't try to run again until age 30. Then tried. And tried. And tried. Shin splints every time. Finally got it going for good at 38 in proper shoes and I have vowed never, ever, to stop running again.

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  • Great run(s) at Whitby Daniel
    I don’t know how many crazy diehards planned to run multiple races that day.
    But I believe there was only 1 nutbar who completed all three.
    He was lucky they didn’t keep him at the facility for evaluation. 😉

    I managed 56 Road Warrior points that day, which is what finally moved me into the top 10.

  • Thanks for mentioning me again Daniel,really feels like a team when articles refer to Team RF members and quote their times etc.
    Keep up the good work,see you in the spring!

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