MEC Trail Race: Pacific Spirit Park 2019

Posted: May 20, 2019 in My Story
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Disclaimer: I received a free entry to MEC Trail Race One as a nuun Ambassador. All opinions are my own.

My second trail race of the year was a few weeks over a month ago (now that I’m finally writing this report!) I credit fellow nuun Ambassador Jeannine with fuelling my growing interest in trail running, and was glad to have her there at the MEC Trail Race as well!

Another friend of mine, Terry, was planning to run but had to bow out due to an injury. However, he agreed to pick me up early since he was helping out MEC with setup. He arrived at my place just as the rain started to fall…

But by the time we got to UBC – snagging the final parking spot at the race venue – and, miraculously, the weather had cleared.

It was chilly, and I was grateful for my Timmie’s, to nurse while hanging around. Although I made a pit-stop before many people had arrived, the coffee necessitated a follow-up visit – and those four port-a-potties were not enough to manage the crowd. I would strongly advocate for at least two more at future events!

MEC Trail Race

While I was gabbing with Jeannine, some warmups began happening around us, and a nearly got kicked in the shins by an over-eager running. Suddenly, the space around us transformed into the starting corral. It felt like we were further forward than we should be, but we didn’t have time to change our minds because the race had begun!

On the Course

One of the reasons I decided to focus on trail racing this year was to run places I’d never run before. Road races are great, but often predictable. In the trails, you never quite know what you’re going to encounter. Often, I lose my sense of direction, trusting the course markings / marshals and the people in front of me to keep me on track.

After a wee lap of the field, our 9-kilometre course headed downhill…quick and steep! I’m still a bit timid on the downhill, so several people (arms flailing, in some cases) blew past me. The trail was relatively smooth, however, so I managed without incident.

We weaved among the trees, dodging puddles or – as the race went on – splashing right through them. Peekaboo views of Jericho Beach Park flashed along beside us, but don’t get distracted: a wayward root or low-hanging branch will take you out!

MEC Trail Race

The uphills weren’t as tough as I expected and there was lots of variety in the trails to keep things interesting. Somewhere in the middle (again, I had no clue where I was), a hydration/cheering station was packed with enthusiastic volunteers (thanks, Mike Prince!).

Near the end, we overlapped with the athletes doing the 5K distance. A couple of the women ahead of me had slowed their pace heading downhill, so I called out: “On your left!” One of them countered: “I’ve got my hazard lights on!” and we laughed.

This is something I’ve noticed at these trail races: people have a lot of fun. There’s camaraderie in the trails that really appeals to me, an element that doesn’t always exist in road racing.

The final push involved a pretty steep hill…oh wait, it’s the hill we pelted down at the beginning! The old adage always plays out in the trails: What goes down…?

MEC Trail Race

My quads would be in agony the next day, but adrenaline kicked in at the finish line and I gave it a solid push with a smile! Another trail race in the books!

Credit: Terence Dament

MEC races give great bang for your buck. At a cool $20, you get a well-organized race with keen volunteers and quality sponsors. It doesn’t have the bling – though, to be fair, most trail races don’t. I highly recommend checking out the MEC Race Series in your area because they’re definitely a good deal. You’ll definitely see me at another MEC Trail Race this season!

Post-Race

Jeannine and I mugged with Team nuun – and I even spotted the nuun-mobile (probably not its official name!). It’s always a pleasure seeing nuun out at local events because they’re my favourite hydration product!

Most runners had to park some distance from the race venue since space was scarce, so I walked with Carmen and Jeannine, who had kindly offered a drive back downtown. And we may have stopped for coffee and doughnuts on the way…

Final Results

Chip time: 54:39
Place in Gender: 127/184
Place in Age Group (40-49): 22/28

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