Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Oak Bay Half Ekiden Relay

May 16, 2010

My Aspire training group decided to enter a team into this event for the fun of it. I've never raced this half marathon or the relay so it was something new to do. Our team consisted of myself, Sean Chester, Shawn Nelson, and Kevin Searle. Besides doing something new, our secondary goal was to break the course record of 1:07:34 set in 2005 by Peninsula Runners. It would be fairly challenging to beat that time (3:13 pace), but if things went well it was possible.

The relay consists of 4 segments of 4.2, 4.8, 5.1, and 7.0km respectively. I was given the 2nd 4.8km leg. I did a short warm-up to the transition zone with Ian Perriman (who was racing on another team) then waited just a couple of minutes until Kevin arrived. He was in 5th place overall behind Jim Finlayson, Gilbert Kiptoo, Philip Samoei, and Mark Cryderman (all running the full course). I grabbed the relay sash from Kevin and nearly dumped my sunglasses on the ground trying to get it over my head (I probably should have just held it in my hand as some others did). I went out pretty hard knowing that I had to post a decent time and wanting to catch some of those in front of me. If we were to get the time we wanted we should be not far behind Jim since he is capable of running a 1:07.

I quickly caught up to Mark and we exchanged pleasantries as I passed. I then set my sights upon the 3rd place position held by Philip. Within a km or so I caught up to him, but he would not let me pass him easily and answered with a increase in speed. We ran more or less together until the transition zone. Unfortunately for him, the increased pace may have hurt his 2nd half as he faded quite a bit. During my run, I was feeling only OK. The pace was fairly decent although a bit slower than my Bazan Bay race in March, but much like the Sun Run I just didn't have the power in me like I would like. The course was somewhat rolling as well which took a bit of a bite out of the pace. I finished my 4.8km segment in around 15:54, not a great time, but not terrible either.

Got to love the cape look. If only I had the speed of superman! Photo Credit: Yan Lyesin

I passed the sash on to Shawn Nelson who ran his 5.1km segment strongly in around 16min. Then Sean Chester took the anchor lap and tried to chase down Jim and Gilbert. Perhaps still feeling the effects of racing on the track the night before, Sean was unable to run at his best, doing about a 24min 7k. He crossed the line at 1:09:01, about a min and a half back of our goal, but it was still the 2nd best relay time posted on this course. Jim cruised to victory in 1:07:06 a time that is quite impressive in its own right and humbling to think that the four of us couldn't run one quarter of the distance at that pace. While it was not my best run, it was fun to be involved in a relay event and since I was not racing the whole course, it gave me the opportunity to spectate and cheer on the other racers.

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