Lifemark Esquimalt 5K Race Report

by Chris Callendar

The Lifemark Esquimalt 5K took place on Saturday March 28th. This was my first time running this event, now in its 8th year. The route is quite scenic - taking in Saxe Point and Macaulay Point Parks - but it is quite exposed, too... as we all found out on race day! It is definitely not a fast 5K race. There are quite a few hills and a lot of corners and out-and-backs. It is mostly run on road, with some gravel trail sections around Macaulay Point.

My main reason for running this event was to get another race in before the TC10K, as it's quite a gap from Bazan Bay until the end of April. Plus it is only 5K from my house, which made for a nice warmup jog.  I really enjoy being able to run to races instead of driving.

When we got to the start line at 8:30am, the sun came out, which was great. But the wind was clearly going to be a factor. As the gun went off, the usual suspects took the lead - Nick Walker and Mike Chandler, and a few others followed closely behind. I think I was in about 7th for the first kilometre with Gary Duncan right on my heals. As this race has 2 out-and-backs (out to Saxe Point and up and down Plaskett Place), it was quite easy to see where everyone was placed.

After the out-and-back to Saxe Point, I had moved into 4th place, with a young guy (Haile) not too far ahead. Nick was still leading the race, with Mike not far behind, but the two of them were easily pulling away from the rest of us. As we went around Plaskett Place, Nick yelled at me "you can get him!” Once we got near Macaulay Point Park, the wind picked up, and even more so once we were in the park. At one part in Macaulay Point Park, we nearly got blown off the trail. Gary told me afterwards that he didn't understand why we were not running the shortest path, then a gust hit him and he understood exactly why. My mantra was "it will be at your back soon"... but I don't remember feeling it behind me! It was quite hard to maintain a decent pace through the park as the trail winds around and has quite a lot of uphill.

Once we were back on the roads again, I tried to pick it up along Lampson to reel in the 3rd place guy Haile, who was still the same distance ahead. It wasn't until we turned the final corner onto Lyall Street (with about 400m to go) that I finally found the energy to pick up the pace and close the gap. He heard me coming and tried to speed up, but I sprinted past him with about 50m left and he stopped and walked the final 20m! Gary had a strong finish to take 5th place (1st master) only a few seconds later.

After the race, there were loads of fresh strawberries which was a nice treat. I had a great (free) massage from an athletic therapist from Lifemark Health, and she amusingly said "Oh my god, what is wrong with your hips?". Apparently I need to stretch more!

There were lots of draw prizes, and prizes for the top 3 overall - a free entry for next year's race.  Maybe next year I'll get my son to run in the kids’ 1K race!

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