This year’s Summerfast 10K was everything a local race should be – except, in my case, fast. It was well-organized, with familiar faces, plentiful prizes, delicious food and ideal running weather. Hosted by the Vancouver Falcons Athletic Club (VFAC), it was simply a great race!
I’ll admit that I’ve been slacking on doing any speed work for…well, for quite sometime. Sure, I’ve kept up with running, on weekends and a lunchtime, but I haven’t made it to any of the after-work speed clinics or pushed myself to pick the pace the way I should.
So it’s hardly a surprise that I didn’t get the race results I would have liked.
Nevertheless, Saturday morning dawned warm and overcast. Debra picked me up and we headed down to Stanley Park’s Ceperley Meadow. There, we joined with other members of the West Van Run Crew. This year, the Summerfast organizers included a ‘team challenge’, and thanks to our fearless leader, Kirill, and our number one cheerleader, Debra – we gathered a pretty sizeable field of blue t-shirts! **NOTE: Most of these photos are courtesy of Debra herself!**
It was just starting to drizzle when we were directed to head to the start line. I chatted with several friends…
…and agonized over the best place to seed myself. Last year, despite giving it a solid effort, I came very near last place in my age category. With such a fast field of runners, should I hold back? Move up? I guess here is fine – and then the gun went off (several times, actually, which was confusing…but then we were off for sure).
I found myself trailing behind the 50-minute pace bunny. Because they didn’t have placard – just bibs on their backs – I hadn’t seen him in the start line crush. Within the first kilometre, someone called my name (sorry – not sure who it was!), encouraging me to catch up with the pace bunny. I did my best.
The rest of the race followed with Seawall counter-clockwise around Stanley Park. Familiar territory. No surprises. The rain held off, and although the sky remained overcast, it was surprisingly humid. I was keeping up a fairly steady pace, but didn’t feel especially speedy either.
Upon reaching the halfway mark and aid station, I grabbed some water and saw the timer hit 25 minutes. Not the pace I really wanted to be at. I forged ahead.
Around 8k, Keiko and Ben were cheering us on – which gave a wee burst of energy – but I also got a stitch in my side. Nothing too serious, but it wasn’t comfortable. Somewhere along the way, I had passed the 50-minute pace bunny, but heard someone shout that he was on our heels.
The final stretch – we veered off the Seawall near the Second Beach pool, and turned a corner. I gave it everything I had…although the guy I just passed gave it a bit more, and hit the finish line just before me.
My finish time was just under 50 minutes – I beat the pace bunny! – but slower than last year. And slower than I had hoped.
The best thing about Summerfast is the food. VFAC provides a delicious array of baked goods – brownies, squares, cakes, and cookies. I enjoyed my fair share.
Once everyone had finished, we gathered the West Van Run Crew for a celebratory photo.
The awards were distributed, followed by a number of door prizes. And then they announced the winners of the Team Challenge. Although we didn’t win fastest team (Miles2Marathon earned this honour), we definitely had the biggest team – and for this, we got a trophy and a cake! Many of the WVRC had headed back to West Van to continue running, but Debra and I stayed to the end. And, as a result, we got to pose with (and enjoy) the cake!
So. A big congratulations to all of the age group winners (many who are friends of mine!), and to everyone who joined from West Van Run! Way to represent! Thanks to the volunteers, and to VFAC and the race organizers – fantastic job! Finally, a special shout-out to Kimberley Doerksen for the fabulous cakes (not just ours…there were 5 in all!)
As elite runner Rob Watson said to me – not every race can be a PB. Where is the fun in that? However, next year, I’m going to make sure Summerfast lives up to its name!
Chip Time: 49:18
Average Pace: 4:56 min/km
Place Overall: 144/362
Age Category Place: 11/15
Summerfast 10K – Quick Review
Social Media: Both the Twitter and Facebook accounts picked up in activity in the weeks prior to the race. This included tantalizing photos of baked goods! No emails after registration, but we had all the info we need.
Packet Pickup: I didn’t have time to go to the Running Room on Friday evening, so I just went a bit earlier to get my bib morning of. It took about 2 minutes.
T-Shirt/Swag: No t-shirt for this race, and medals only for the age group and overall winners. However, if you signed up early enough (like me!), you got a pair of Drymax socks!
Course: ‘Fast’ (for some – not me!) and flat. Almost entirely at sea level, with views of Vancouver, the north shore, and the Pacific as you round the Seawall. Loop course, starting and finishing near Second Beach.
Post-Race: Yummy baked goods for everyone! A chance to mingle with many familiar faces of local runners. A wide array of draw prizes, including sunglasses, gift cards, and free race entries.
Organization: With the exception of a few teaser starting guns (were they warning shots?), the whole thing went off flawlessly. Great volunteers, well-marked course, fabulous after party. Well done!
Would I run it again? See you in 2017 – a faster man!