It was only 8K. When I registered for the race on the last day I could (4 days before the Victoria Marathon) that was what I kept thinking. It was only 8K, a small jaunt through James Bay and by the ocean. I wasn’t worried about the other 2,681 runners and walkers in the 8K race, and for some reason I wasn’t too worried about the fact that I had only been running once in the last month.
The thing that my wife, Adrianne, and I were most worried about oddly enough was the start time. At 7:15 AM on a Sunday, my mind and body are usually not very awake, and definitely not very coordinated. I knew I could finish the race and put in a pretty good time, but I really didn’t want to crush any small children or bowl over other people as I thrashed my way through the throngs crossing the start line. Adrianne was disappointed not to be able to run with me, but I guess being 7 months pregnant is on the good end of excuses. However, she cheerfully helped set-up and man the Hemp & Co/Raincoast tent while we ran.
My fellow Raincoast salmon team 8K runner, Peter Ross, and I got to the starting area about 10 minutes before the race started, only to find about 2,000 people in front of us, corralled like salmon in a pool below a falls, ready to surge forward and make the leap. About a minute after the actual start, I wandered past the start line, trying to find space to open it up and actually start to ‘jog’. What I found surprising was the amount of people who seemed to be there not for the race itself, but as part of a team. For the first couple of kilometers, I weaved my way through what seemed like thousands of people walking, strolling quickly, or lightly jogging. I would surmise that these people were there for various reasons including: raising funds for a personally important charity, the experience, the realization of a personal fitness goal, or just to have fun and be a part of something bigger than one’s own aspirations.
Of course, I did exactly what I said I wasn’t going to, spurred on by the excitement and the crowds and being slightly cold and groggy with the earliness of this morning, I went out harder than I probably should have. Not really having a set pace, I was making good time until about halfway up the long, gradual hill at about 3K. My training (or lack thereof) was letting me down. This is where the fastest runners passed me – on their way back! Right at the turn, Peter Ross passed me and I concentrated on his orange shirt slowly disappearing into the distance all the way to the finish. It was a great event, a lot of fun, and definitely an eye-opener. Next year, I think my goal is the half-marathon, and I will be registering earlier this time so that I have more time to raise funds for our salmon programs!
I think it is phenomenal that we had so many people on the Raincoast Salmon Run team who fit fundraising and training for the 8K, half or full marathons into their otherwise busy and hectic schedules. To train for these longer races requires commitment that is no doubt matched by their dedication and passion to the diverse issues involving salmon. Personally, I chose to run this race the hardest that I could because it represents the challenge we all face to uphold the values that we are passionate about. Raising funds in this event allows Raincoast to help inspire the youth of today and our future leaders to share in our passion for our environment and the wonderful and beautiful creatures within it. We could not run our salmon programs without this support.
I would like to thank everyone who has supported my salmon run to date, and we are extremely grateful for the generous donations we have received. We welcome additional pledges which can be made online at our Canada Helps Giving Page.