Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gunner Shaw 10K, Vancouver

December 5, 2009

A big thanks to Bob Reid, who again organized a large group of Harriers to head over to the race at Jericho Beach. I'm going to keep this report somewhat short so you can read some background on the race from my report last year if you are interested.

The conditions this year were quite different than last year which was very wet. This time it was cold and the ground was frozen. The puddle was removed from the course because it was frozen and was too risky to run on. It was quite sunny, however, so by the time the race started it was quite comfortable and many (including myself) just ran in a singlet. I had hoped to utilize my newly acquired spikes on this course as there are a couple of slippery areas. However, my heel was still too tender to give them a try so I went back to my trusty Brooks Cascadias.

The Harriers had brought over pretty deep field including Sean Chester, Nick Best, and two visiting Kenyans: Nixon Kiprotich and Willy Langat so I knew that it would be a fast race. I also expected that there would be a couple of Vancouver guys that would place well. I wasn't concerned about placement though as my goal was to simply better my time from last year. I figured this wasn't unreasonable at all considering last years race was mediocre for me.

The Prairie Inn Harriers Team (mostly in red). Photo Credit: Linda Wong

I positioned myself near the front of the field of around 200 racers in a place where I thought I would go out in the top 10. However, when the race started the runners (some of who were doing a single 5km loop) took off like a shot and I found myself well back from the leaders in perhaps 25 place or so. Not only was I too far back, I was also was boxed in for the first few hundred meters and found myself fighting for position. This was a bit frustrating since I knew that I was faster than most of these guys and should have been further up. I lost a bit of time doing this, but fortunately it wasn't too long before I was able to pass most of these quick starters. Within the first 2 km I had moved into 6th place and was feeling pretty good. I saw another runner ahead who ended up being a guy named Jordan Maywood and I was able to bridge the gap to him. I thought that since I was able to catch him fairly easily, I would be able to drop him before too long. I've got to give Jordan a lot of credit though as I attacked on at least 6 occasions, but he refused to budge.

Last year there were some really muddy sections that were tricky to navigate without spikes and while this year it was better I still had to be careful in a couple of areas. We went through the first lap in 16:55 and I was still feeling solid despite working hard. The course has a section on sand and this year the sand portion had been lengthened by a couple of hundred meters. Last year the sand really killed me on the second lap, but things felt better this year around. The 4 leaders (Nixon, Nick, Sean, and Willy) were quite far ahead by this point. I ran strong during the second lap, but it was as usual taxing. Near the end of the loop there is a small section of trail with some puddles and mud. Jordan was just ahead of me moving into that section and with his spikes he was able to power through it quickly. He also put on a good surge which I was just not able to counter well enough. He hit the line 9 seconds ahead of my 6th place 34:21. I ended up being 1:42 faster than last year which I was pretty happy with although with a slightly different course and different conditions it is tough to tell just how much better the performance really was. Nixon won in 32:06, just seconds off of a course record and Nick continued his impressive season just 13 second behind. The top woman was Rachel Ruus, coming in 17th overall. Final results.

Many other Harriers had great performances with the majority of them placing in their age categories and it was great to have some many avid runners to share the experience with. It's always a fun trip so I expect to be back in the future. I'm not racing again until Jan 10 at the Pioneer 8k. It will be the first real test to see how my new training regimen is working so it will be interesting.


Jeremy Hopwood said...

Good race.

Got caught up in that first 1km madness also and was wondering what the heck was going with about 30 people or so in front of me coming through the trees.

Also thought that sand seemed longer this year especially when I blew up on it during the second lap.

Shaner said...

Sorry I didn't see at the race or I would have said hi. Yes, a crazy start and more sand than last year, but overall how did think it compared to last year?


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