For myself, task number one was getting to the start line of the half marathon before road closures could block the exit from Fairfield. Therefore my husband dropped me off at the UVic stadium well before the 9:00 start. I had plenty of time to stroll around Ring Road and shoo deer away in anticipation of the herd of runners who would be stampeding through. The sky was bleak and a chill clung to the damp air, but as the start time grew near the occasional patch of blue sky would reveal a promising rainbow. As we were congregating at the start line I heard a rumour that four Kenyans were going to run the half marathon right after finishing the 10K. Hmmm, that sounded like something Gary Duncan would do.
At exactly 9:00 the air horn sounded, sending 400 runners (and an unknown number of deer) hoofing it through the Uplands. Shortly past the 3K marker I was surprised to catch up with John Catterall. He commented to me that there had been quite a head wind on Dallas for the 10K that morning, which got me wondering how he had gained first-hand knowledge of what the weather was doing an hour ago on Dallas.... unless.... Hmmmm, so who are the other "Kenyans" doing this notorious double? Before I could say anything, John asked me about the route so I gave him a quick "run through" (ah, if only feet could travel as fast as the spoken word). My final words to him were "net downhill" which must have provided the encouragement for him to pick up his pace.
I kept my own pace conservative since I hadn't put much training in and hadn't run a half marathon in a couple of years. At Cattle Point, 6K into the race, the wind made its presence known. By the time we were rounding the Victoria Golf Course the wind was a force to be reckoned with. A fortuitous turn onto Victoria Avenue brought refuge for a few Ks and clusters of cheering residents brought smiles to our wind-burned cheeks. At 16K some lively music at the Ross Bay Cemetery helped lift us up the hill, but at the crest the wind pounced like an awaiting tiger. From that point on it was a matter of trying to tick off the last Ks ahead of the encroaching decrepitude in my legs.
At the finish line I was hugged by a smiling Bob Reid and met the mysterious "Kenyans" who had done the 10K/half marathon double, our very own Shane Ruljancich, Garth Campbell, Gary Duncan and John Catterall (and later learned that Kris Swanson had been part of the notorious gang as well).
So now I know how far the TC10K Half Marathon is. It's 10K, followed by a 8.5K car ride from the Legislature to UVic, followed by a half marathon. But don't worry, you won't see it in any of the tick boxes on next year's entry form.
For more information on how five "Kenyan Harriers" did the double (or if you think my story is pure fiction) check out the Runner of the Week. ROTW Report
Thank you to Simon DesRochers for the epic photos. To see more of Simon's photos of the TC10K Half please visit https://www.facebook.com/simondesrochersphoto