One of the early season races I love participating in is the Spring into Motion 5k held at the Gellert Community Centre in Georgetown. It is very close to home and hosted by Brad Mailloux and his Feet in Motion (local running store www.feetinmotion.ca ) crew.
This year we were welcomed by a warm morning considering the cold weather we had been blasted by this spring. Finally seeing the sun in the sky made it much more fun to get outside and enjoy a quick tour of the neighbourhood.
Feet in Motion does a great job in the community getting the youth of Georgetown active, which shows in the range of ages in the racers at this event. Having many of the local high school runners out, I was not sure how fast the younger gentlemen would travel across the 5k course but I then noticed a multiple champion of the race, Tim Shannon, warming up so I knew I would have one pacer out there for sure.
After a good warm up we were directed over to a new starting location which added about 120 extra metres to the route. I guess Brad must have re-measured the track and wanted to offer a true 5k for our stats. This was fine with me as I would like to challenge the sub 17min 5k on a correct course instead of pulling off the feat on a short loop.
When everyone had settled at the new line, the timer gave us our count down and we were off along the narrow park trail that led us out to the running path along 8th Line at the southwest corner of town. As usual, a large group of young guns went out very hard but I did not get distracted and kept Tim in sight as I knew he would be the one to beat on this day.
The stretch to 8th line was just over 200 metres where Tim and I took the lead as the younger legs started to burn out already so it was just the two of us out front heading north, up a slope and into a strong breeze. This is about a thousand metre section of the course where I stayed tucked in behind Tim as he broke the wind so I could save a little energy. I remember two years ago running shoulder to shoulder with him on the path as we both tackled the wind. As soon as we turned left into the sub-division he showed off his impressive speed and left me in the dust.
This year, I learned from that mistake and tried to save my inferior speed to see how long I could hang on to his heals. To my surprise, we made the turn together and I was not blasted off so I held onto his shoes as we received some tail wind support back down the slope in the nice neighbourhood of large homes.
Hanging on longer and longer, I started to get some confidence that this was going to be the race that I finally hammered that 17minute barrier so I pushed as hard as possible to not allow a gap each time it seemed a space was opening up between us. Eventually, he started to put in some distance and just before the 3k marker, he was showing his strength so I knew second place would be where I would settle but I thought I would still have a shot at my ultimate goal so I did not let off my accelerator.
At the 3k marker I was at 10:10 and a few seconds ahead of my pace at the Good Friday 5k so it was promising for sure. I kept up the intensity but as is my usual energy drain at this point of these 5k races showed up and I fought to minimize the damage I was doing to my chances. Tim was not too far up the road so I was starting to get mixed signals as to how I would end up. I estimated that I was around 20 seconds down on him and he had run 16:13, 16:32 and 16:08 in the past three years on this course. I figured if I kept that gap and he came in around 16:40, I would be in a sprint for my goal.
We soon looped through a few side streets before making our way back into the park across a community bridge. There was only around 500 metres left but I must have suffered too much in the last kilometre or so as my watch was not showing a good reading. In the end, I miss my goal by 30 seconds but only 17 seconds behind the winning time. I guess the wind and extra portion of the course had some effect on Tim as well as he was over a minute off his amazing run of 2012.
Thinking back on the race, I was not upset as I put in a very good effort and was closer to a win than my previous few years. As always, I was impressed by the community support of this small town race and the amazing volunteers and organizers that made it such a great morning of running for everyone! It is also nice to be home in a few minutes to enjoy a full day of the weekend.