Meet #2 started with the kid's race (actually a mix of kids, grown-up kids and one race walker) which was a 2.4K one-looper starting at 1:00pm. The 6.8K three-looper started at around 1:20 (after the last wee young'un dashed across the finish line and headed for the chocolate milk).
Christine and I had done a cautious preview jog of the course because both of us have a healthy respect for the effects of gravity. My last full-body contact with the ground was in early August during a run around Elk/Beaver when a dastardly root sent me sliding sideways across the trail, skidding to a stop on my arm-pit. That abrupt pit-stop resulted in a dislocated rib. Now, with rib nearly mended, I eye every trail protuberance suspiciously as if it's going to rise up and take my feet out from under me at the slightest provocation.
Course preview finished, and every potential tripping hazard mentally tagged for future reference, we lined up with 25 other XC enthusiasts across the dog field. Chris Kelsall gave a 10 second count down and then we bolted across the lumpy, bumpy grass. A left flour arrow took us onto a gravel trail which led to the welcoming shade of the main trail. After the right flour arrow we climbed the hill (because it wouldn't be XC without a hill climb) and at the bottom were marshaled to take a sharp left onto the lakeside trail heading towards Beaver Lake main beach. Before the main beach, another sharp left revealed a steep, rooty climb, then left again to start our second loop. I became increasingly aware that Gary Duncan had yet to pass me. Still wearing the caked-on blood and dirt from a spill during his 25K Mt. Finlayson Fat Ass race that morning, Gary was negotiating this afternoon's race with the same care and respect that I was. But like a true warrior, the battle fatigue was just temporary, and he soon charged past me.
After loop three, we were marshaled back to the dog field and sent panting for the finish line. Awards soon followed. First the 2.4K medal winners, many of whom were Bruce Deacon's Youth team; then the 6.8K medal winners.
The highlight of the day was Bruce Deacon's acceptance of the ALS Ice Bucket challenge. After naming the next three victims, a bucket of freezing water was dumped on Bruce's stoic head. How he managed not to flinch must be a secret that only elite marathoners know. Stoicism aside, I'm sure that Bruce was glad to strike that off his bucket list.
Meet #3 featured a 4K race followed by an 8K race using the same route as Meet #2, with a slight change to the start/finish location. Being the final Meet of the Victoria Run Series, it was the last chance for runners to rack up their Saucony Points (or as I like to call them, "Sock-It-To-Me Points"). Several runners participated in both races in order to maximize their point totals. Giving it the ol' 1-2 punch were Claire Morgan, Gary Duncan, Frank Towler, Jim Fliczuk and Mark Ritchie.
This was the first year in the five year history of the Victoria Run Series that X-Country races have been featured, and they have been a great success with enthusiastic participation at all age levels and abilities. Chris Kelsall found the X-Factor in X-Country. My only suggestion for next year would be to cancel the beautiful, sunny weather and order up some pouring rain and mud-up-your-back slime puddles. Get on it Chris!