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Race report — Victoria, B.C. half marathon

This is a fairly large, well-organized race. This year’s race was on October 11, 2015, and as usual for this race, it fell on the Thanksgiving weekend. There’s an 8K as well as a full marathon and each race has a separate start time and different shirt. And the shirts were quite nice.

Victoria is a great destination for a race, and it’s a nice time of year to be there.

Race kit pick-up was on the Friday afternoon or Saturday before the race, but they did allow a race day pick-up for out of town runners. I was staying in town, so didn’t need this option, but I appreciate it being offered. I always wonder how races that consider themselves green justify forcing people to drive in twice—once for kit pick-up and once for the race.

The expo was small but interesting. A local brewery was sampling beers. A company called Level Ground that sells fair-trade products, including coffee and very yummy dried mangoes, was sampling brewed coffee. And, in a stroke of genius, they were offering the opportunity to prepay for a race morning coffee–$2 and they stamped your bib. There was also an assortment of running- and injury-prevention vendors and many others I’ve forgotten.

The half started at 7:30, which was early, but since I hadn’t quite adjusted to the change to Pacific time, it didn’t seem too bad. The weather was perfect. No wind. About 11 degrees and somewhere between sunny and overcast. Parking may have ultimately been a problem, but I arrived long before the start and nabbed a meter spot (which is free on Sundays). The prerace bag check was efficient (and happily also efficient postrace).

The course is a scenic one, with its start at the Legislature buildings (which are outlined in white lights before the sun comes up), its meandering path through Beacon Hill Park and its return along the Dallas Road, which provides a striking ocean and mountain vista. The course is also pretty much flat with just some gentle rolling.

I had a decent race, finishing about two minutes faster than I had predicted. Not a personal best, but after a season with limited run training, I was pleased. My last mile was the fastest, which does lead me to wonder if I could have gone faster overall. I’ll never know for sure, but. I was motivated in that last mile when someone passed me who looked like she could be in my age group (she wasn’t)—I decided I had to catch her and pass her back (I did).

I have only two grumbles about this race. One was that they said there was water approximately every 3K, and unless I completely spaced out, there was nothing between 3K and about 9K. The other complaint was that they took forever to post results. They had computers set up in the postrace area (which fortunately was inside and warm) to look up results, but there were none available until about 11:45 (awards for the half were at noon, so I guess they wanted to keep people hanging around). So, anyone who thought it was possible that they had won an award had to wait for more than two hours to find out. That’s a long time to hang around with nothing really to occupy the time and since it was Thanksgiving, people would have preferred to get home.

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