I don’t often want to slap strangers in the face with a wet fish but from time to time I’m tempted, and as the first thing to greet us as we arrived at the race venue was a trail runner saying “of course I’m running the 21k! Who would think it worthwhile to run anything shorter?”, I was sorely tempted yesterday. Fortunately, customs regulations prevent me from bringing my own supply of wet fish into Canada, and I haven’t had the chance to stock up since.
It wasn’t an auspicious start. I had entered the 10k on the basis that however hot the day, gnarly the trails or debilitating the jet lag, it was a short enough distance to remain fun. My sister had entered the 5k to kill time while I deserted her. The 21.1k, though admirable, was not for us.
We wandered down the hill from the car park to the beach to pick up our race packs, and then pootled back up the hill again to the car. Smugrunner was still there, still boring on about the pointlessness of the lesser distances, so after we’d pinned on our numbers, we headed back down the hill again to wait.
As 9.30am approached, I left Abradysis (whose 5k was setting off at 9.45am) and went to listen to the race briefing. Think standard UK trail race briefing with the addition of the wild fire and snake warnings. Eek!
Lumpy. I stopped to take a photo halfway up the last big climb.
The route was beautiful, if a trifle lumpy, and as well marked as they come. The field was large enough to always have someone in sight, but small enough that passing and being passed didn’t break up the flow. I paused to admire the view on the last long climb…
… and then set about trying to catch up with the young lad just in front of me. I managed that about a quarter of a mile from the end, though his sprint finish meant a photo finish to decide who came in first.
Photo courtesy of Abradysis, who finished about 10 minutes before me.
After I’d caught my breath, we hauled our aching bones back up the hill to the car, picked up our picnic lunch, and returned to enjoy the finish line atmosphere, which came complete with a prize draw (I snaffled a gloriously green North Face dress despite being one of the last numbers drawn). One last trek up the hill to our car (had I mentioned that there was a hill between the beach and the car park?) and it was goodbye trail race, hello craft gin distillery.
Smugrunner aside, this was a fabulous race. Friendly, varied and organised in such a way that you could run different distances to others in your party but still share the same experience. I’m only sorry that the venues are so far away from London.