Search This Blog

Exotic podiums

Finishing the Quebec City 10km Fun Run (5th, 33:50)
while touring Canada in 1985
It was actually drizzling with rain when I jogged a slow 5km round Copa this morning.  It seemed exotic after our long warm dry spell, and may herald a return to more seasonal spring weather, though it stopped shortly after my run.  Although only over a short distance, I was moving more freely this morning, and my right Achilles and arch weren't too painful.  My time was a minute or two slower than I expect to jog round this course when I'm in good shape, so I'm not getting my hopes up.  Tomorrow morning's run with Terrigal Trotters will be more useful in gauging my fitness.

A steady run through the field yielded
a win in the 40+ age group, and 2nd
overall in a trail Half Marathon
while working in Germany
A runner I know has just left for the UK on vacation, and another I know will be visiting there at Christmas.  I was pleased to hear that both are looking to find some races to run while they are away because I know they will savour the experience.  Running some local races adds an extra dimension to any trip.

If you have hopes of a podium finish - open or age-group - there is a frisson of excitement in being the unknown quantity or dark horse in the field, especially in small local races where everybody knows the fast runners.  I have been in races where the fast early starters drop rapidly away and you find yourself in front, others where the pace seems slow and you can't believe how easy it is to get away, and others which became duels to the finish.  I have also been left in the dust by clearly superior athletes.

With the winner of the 60+ age group (I was 2nd) in the
2012 Orange County 10km Santa Run in the US
Depending on the location, the scenery, terrain, smells and culture can feel exotic and stimulating while sometimes the weather can be an experience in itself.  Races draw you to locations and communities that you might not otherwise visit.  Your horizons are broadened, you meet new people and you see different ways of doing things.

I have always sought out races in places I have visited while touring or working over the years and often tweak my schedule to fit them in.  Almost all have been cherished and remembered experiences.  Even now, when I travel on vacation (unless it is a hiking or biking trip) I scan the web calendars and try to work as many runs into the itinerary as possible, always with an eye on those age group podiums.  It doesn't always happen, but when it does you can score nice little trophies to accompany those eye-catching race T-shirts.