The weather wasn’t the greatest; it was overcast and warm. However, this didn’t prevent more than 2500 runners from coming out to take part in the 12th annual Astra Zeneca Legs for Literacy event in Moncton, New Brunswick.
Route – The 10K race started in downtown Moncton and headed toward the adjacent city of Dieppe and then to the Riverfront Park trail, along the Petitcodiac River and back to the city center. It was like starting in a busy downtown and going to a small subdivision and then to the countryside for a run along a muddy river path before heading back to the city. Along the way, there were many volunteers to direct runners, distribute water and drinks, lots of spectators and even some local entertainment along the course to encourage the runners.
Pre-race goal – My aim was to run 10K in around an hour. After a little over a year of running and never running 5K in 30 minutes on race day, the dream of running 10K in an hour may have been a bit unrealistic. After all, this would be the same as running two 30-minute 5Ks back-to-back.
Race – With over 1500 people lined up at the start for the 5K and 10K events, I found it difficult to focus on pace and stick to my plan. With so many people running together for the first 2.5km it was hard to try to pass other runners. Also, I had to avoid getting stepped on. It was easier after the 5K runners turned around and the 10K runners continued on to Dieppe. But by this time, runners were passing me and I had to struggle to keep up. I glanced at my Garmin and realized that I was speeding towards a disaster if I didn’t slow down. Then, I took a short walking break to gather my thoughts, let the faster runners pass me and figure out how I was going to finish the race.
I started again and attempted to stay slightly under a 10 minute mile pace. By the time, I reached the halfway point I wanted to check my Garmin for my 5K time to see how close I was to 30 minutes but instead I grabbed some water and stopped to drink it without looking. At this point, I decided to forget about time and do my best to finish.
Eventually, I made it to the trail and I could see lots of people ahead of me and plenty behind me. I thought this part was never going to end. Finally, the path ended and I was back in the city, struggling to make it to the finish line. I survived my first 10K and a young lady handed me a medal. I was too exhausted to check my time.
Result – The day after the race, I recovered enough to go online and see how I did. Although I fell a little short of my pre-race goal, I came very close. Gun time: 1:01:25, Chip time: 1:00:48, Overall rank: 335/819, Age rank (W40 to 49): 32/132. Actually, I can hardly believe the statistics but I checked them several times to be certain that I got my time and rankings correct.