July 1st, 2013.
The Elora Canada Day 5k and 10k races are the first events in a great day of activities for the entire family. I live in nearby Fergus, so I guess you could call this my local race. The 5k and 10k races begin together at 8:30am on Canada Day, followed by the Canada Day parade at 11pm, the kids Dominion Dash events at 12:15, and there’s even free hot dogs and pizza for lunch put on by the Lions club.
The 10k course is one of the most beautiful you will ever race, run primarily on the Cataract trail and crossing the Grand River a couple of times on high trestle bridges, ending up in Bissell Park in Elora. See link for exact course (http://www.runningmap.com/?id=390279).
The course offers plenty of shade and is primarily flat with a slight uphill to the half-way point and subsequent slight downhill to the finish. And just to add a little historic spice to the course there are bagpipers playing in two separate locations (approx 2km and 8km into the race).
My only other running race of the season came several months earlier (April 28th) at the Billy Taylor 15k in Guelph, I posted a 1:15:22 final time for that event (5:02 min/k pace), and as such I was determined to break the 5 min/k pace and post a finishing time under 50 minutes.
The weather was perfect that morning, it was cool and clear and we started the race a few minutes past 8:30am. I got off to a good start hitting the 3km mark at just under 13 minutes, I was feeling strong and kept my pace up to the halfway marker hitting 5k at 21:30 (4:18 pace). This is where my inexperience showed through a little bit, as I had run the slightly uphill portion of the race at a great pace, and perhaps left myself with less in the tank than I should have.
I began to struggle at the 7k mark of the race, and although I don’t have my exact splits (Garmin watch ordered but not yet delivered), I would expect that the 8th and 9th kilometers were run at almost 6 minute pace, with a strong final kilometer to bring me across the line at 47:27 (4:45 pace). I had accomplished my goal of beating the 50 minute mark and was pleased to see my overall placement of 17th, and a category placement (M 30-39) of 5th.
I highly recommend this event, and in fact this entire days worth of events to anyone looking for a well organized, small town style race. I really can’t say enough about how incredibly well organized the race is, volunteers everywhere!
Side note: My 5 year old son won a sliver medal in the kids dash event later in the day (proud dad showing off). It was great to see everyone cheering all the kids on, no matter of their placement or ability, and they all had great big smiles on their faces. Seeing the promotion of running and activity in youth is great. Hearing my son tell another kid “I’m going to run as fast as my dad” was the highlight of my day!