Gunner Shaw 2019

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Three years ago was the first and only time I’d run Gunner Shaw. For the following two years, I was deathly ill *dramatic sigh* and unable to participate. Despite the fact that I might have enjoyed my post-birthday celebrations a wee bit too much the previous night, I was excited to once again run the Gunner Shaw Cross Country 5K this year, making it my final race of the 2010’s.

Since I hadn’t signed up ahead of time (because I didn’t want to jinx things and get sick again), I had to arrive early enough to register. As I was driving over Lions Gate Bridge, I couldn’t help but notice that I could barely see the city for the fog and misty rain. This is the stuff of good cross country races – damp, muddy conditions that make you wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into.

I parked my Modo car share (Toyota Prius) just outside of the Jericho Sailing Club, where all the festivities were taking place. Jumped in line behind Jonathan and Jackie – just as people flooded in and queued around the corner and down the stairs. Within about 10 minutes, I was registered and ready to get the party started!

Photo credit: Carmen Marin

Hung out with Jeannine while the crowds gathered. The Gunner Shaw has two options – the single loop 5K or a double loop, which is only for those with way more gumption that I have. We all headed out together in a mad dash across the grassy field at Locarno Beach Park.

Photo credit: Debra Kato

Due to unforeseen circumstances, the race got rerouted in 2016. This year, it was business as usual as we cut across the sand behind the Sailing Club. It was damp and pretty packed down, so not too bad for traction. Then onto the gravel path for a bit before heading down to the beach.

Against my better instincts, I followed Jeannine’s advice to ‘get my feet wet’ and run at the water’s edge. Here, the ocean waves were lapping over my shoes, but it was considerably easier to run on the wet sand at the shore than the much looser beach sand. Although early in the race, I find this bit the toughest – and brrrr my feet were cold.

Soon after, though, we headed up onto the muddy fields of Jericho Beach Park. I embraced the desire to get filthy, and accepted the mud as I encountered it. Lots of looping through the trees and trails then, at one point seeing the lead runners *way* ahead. There’s a short, nasty little hill, too. Keep pushing!

After a fairly steep and slippy downhill, it was puddle time! A few smaller ones dotted the path. I got a kick out of folks in front of me ambitiously trying to avoid them, dancing from side to side. I aimed for those puddles – the more splash the better! Then, the highlight of the race – the big puddle! A few metres long, not especially deep this year, but still so much fun! Powered through it with a smile. Nearly slipped on the mud when rounding the corner at the end, but managed to right myself.

The last bit is tricky, because you’re wet and the ground is pretty slick from the runners before…and then it’s mud and tree roots and a twisted ankle waiting to happen. No wonder races get you to sign a waiver! But I persevered and avoided injury. Then, turning at the tennis courts, a straight shot to the finish (or, for those who love the punishment, the beginning of lap 2).

Photo credit: Debra Kato

I crossed the line with a decent time of 26:48, about a minute slower than the last time I ran the Gunner Shaw. I’ll admit I haven’t been training quite as hard in the past few months, and to be honest, I just came for the mud!

Karin was there to cheer me on, and then Jeannine came along shortly after. High fives all around!

Photo credit: Marius

Back to the Sailing Club for me! Beat the rush and took a quick shower, washing off all that mud. All refreshed, I ran into the wonderful Margaret Buttner (aka ‘Soup Goddess’) who handed me the most delicious tomato & roasted red pepper soup – the yummiest and most comforting thing to have after a romp in the muck! A piece of pizza, some hot coffee, and a little bag of Patience Fruit & Co. snacks!

Gunner Shaw - Judy and me with soup!
Photo credit: Margaret Buttner

After a wee bit of schmoozing, it was time to head home. Lots of traffic getting back to the North Shore on a Saturday afternoon! But totally worth it to enjoy a morning of fun, muddy running with friends. Many thanks to the organizers and volunteers for making Gunner Shaw an undisputed success yet again!

Gunner Shaw - Margaret!

Final Results

Gun Time: 26:48
Place Overall: 42/68
Gender Place: 31/43
Place in Age Category (M40+): 6/15

For full race results, click here