Kudos and congratulations to all those who took part in this historic road race today. It is the Ontario road runner’s equivalent of a season-opener.
While out on Friday we ran into an acquaintance who asked if I was running on Sunday. I drew a blank. It was only on Saturday morning that it struck me that this was the weekend of one of Canada’s foremost long-distance races, the Around the Bay 30K in Hamilton. How could I forget?! Many of those who have been training diligently through the winter have been driven by the goal of racing this 30K.
Last year a record I had established in 2006 was broken. A new course (and Canadian) record for 30K of 2:07 was set by Jennifer Ditchfield. My goal when I set the record was to run under 2 hours and 10 minutes. I was disappointed to run 2:12 and that did not feel easy.
My friend Michal Kapral, a.k.a. the joggler jumped in around 25K and ran with me for awhile. I told him that I was fading and wondered out loud whether any masters women were closing in on me. He immediately started running backwards and let me know that I was in danger of being picked off. That is when I learned that sometimes it is better not to know. Ignorance is more blissful than having a set of eyes in the back of one’s head. The rival masters runner did pass me and it felt worse knowing that this was a possibility so far in advance.
Michal at one time was considering trying to set a Guiness record for the backwards marathon. He holds or held, the record for a marathon pushing a baby jogger and for running an entire marathon while juggling three balls. He has also won the Toronto marathon in a time of 2:31.
With my plan to run Boston next year, it is doubtful that I can do the 30K as it is my view that many a runner has left their Boston best, down by the bay. It is a challenging 30K route that when raced to the full, is not far off the effort of running a marathon. With 3-4 weeks separating it from Boston, there is not much time to recover to put your best foot forward at Boston. This has been the subject of ongoing debate among long distance racers and their coaches over the past century.