This year’s race marks the 36th consecutive year of this race, but oddly enough, I’ve never done it before. It’s always smack dab in the middle of triathlon season, and I usually had other priorities other than running a fast 10K.
With my key race not until November, I finally though it would be a good idea to see what kind of speed I had in June, and the fact that I am now in the 40+ age group, there was an incentive to see if I could grab some cash that was up for grabs for the top 3 overall masters runners.
The day started very wet, with some heavy rain all the way into the race site at University stadium in Waterloo. This race starts and finishes on the track, which is pretty cool.
Once I arrived, I got inside the stadium building and where race kit pick up was going on. After a small issue with registration (I wasn’t on the list) everything got sorted out and I got into my race gear.
Closer to 9am, I got myself situated near the front of the starting line. The 5K and 3K were also starting at the same time, so it was pretty tight up front, and at 9am, the gun sounded and we were off.
We had to run about 50-75 meters before making a quick right out of the stadium, through the parking lot and onto Seagram drive. This was a bit crazy, as the exit from the stadium was pretty tight, the ground was very uneven and there were potholes full of water everywhere. I took this section carefully and managed to not trip over anyone’s feet!
Once out on Seagram drive, I got into a quick but somewhat comfortable position just behind H&P runner Dave Rutherford. Just before the first K marker, we had to make another left onto University Ave., which again, need to be taken with a bit of care, as the roads were very wet. We passed through the first kilometre maker in 3:38.
Not too long after, we made a right hand turn onto Westmount Rd. and started the first of two climbs on this stretch, as we had to come out to this road again for a partial second loop. The pace slowed down a bit as we made the climb up to the 2K marker, but as I crested the hill and began the downhill section, things picked back up a bit, and I began running right behind a few other runners.
It was at this point, I should have been more observant to what was going on, as we were approaching the turn-around for the 5K. I was still pretty close to some of the runners, and as we approached the 5K turn-around, the female runner I was behind slowed down and made the turn to head back and I almost ran right into her. I should have stayed more to the right…oh well.
We lost a bunch of runners at the 5K turn-around point, and now, it was just back to Dave and myself and a few other just up the road ahead of us. It was pretty spread out at this point in the 10K race, as we approached Columbia Street and had another hill to get over.
About halfway up the hill on Columbia, I passed a couple other guys, but at this point, there wasn’t really anyone else that I figured I was going to catch up to. The race was supposed to go right on Phillip, but with construction on the street, we ended up making a right onto the Laurel Trail, that connects back up with University Ave.
Shortly after getting back on University Ave., we passed the 5K marker, which I believe said about 18:35, so my unofficial goal of going sub 38 minutes was still well on track.
The wind seemed to pick up a bit more as we headed down University towards Westmount for the partial second loop. Despite this section being pretty flat, and even potentially very slightly downhill, the pace did not pick up as much as I had hoped. The 6th K went by in 3:50, and now had to climb the Westmount hill for the second time in the race. The 7th K, which included going up and down the hill slowed down to a 3:57 pace, and it was here that I gave up 2 spots in the race and $25….more on that in a bit.
Two guys passed me I reached the top of the hill. I tried staying with them for a bit, but for some reason, the legs just didn’t have the pop required to hold their pace. As approached the 10K turn-around, I started counting the runners coming back and I found myself in 12th place in the race as I made the turn just past the 7K marker and began the trek back to the stadium, following the exact same route we took when we left it.
The 8th K, had us once again climbing back up the Westmount hill (for a 3rd time) before enjoying the downhill and slight tailwind finish towards the stadium. I saw lot’s of familiar faces passing other 10K runners as they made their way to the turn-around point.
Once I made the turn back onto University, I could see one of the guys who passed me on the hill not too far up the road. I doubted my ability to reel him in, but gave it my best shot anyway.
Eventually, I got back onto Seagram Dr and hit kilometre which was a bit faster in 3:51, but I was feeling tired at this point, and was really hoping for something faster. The entrance to the stadium was just up the road, so I decided to see what I had left and push the pace.
The last 350 meters of the race was on the track, but unfortunately, there were still lots of 5K runners still finishing up, so instead of just gunning it around the inside lane to the finish line, I had to swing to the outside (and narrowly miss on a few occasions) other runners on the track.
As I rounded the final curve on the track, I heard the announcer call out 38 minutes, so I knew that goal wasn’t happening. Despite that, I pushed through right to the finish, coming in at 38:10 officially, with a chip time of 38:07 and still 12th overall. Just over my 38 minute goal time.
By now, the rain had really started coming down again, and I was in line for some less than stellar post race food. Eventually, I got back inside and actually had a hot shower and dressed prior to the awards ceremony, which took an awfully long time, given we had to go through both the 3K and 5K before the 10K.
Back to that $25. I did end up finishing as the 3rd master, and 3rd in my AG at the same time. That meant I got the $50 prize. As it turns out, one of the guys that passed me was also in my AG. He only finished 19 seconds ahead of me, but in the end, I’m not sure I had the legs on this day to even make that up. Walking away with the 3rd master overall was still pretty rewarding.