MEC has aptly named race #2 of their series "The Pace Setter". Spring was definitely hitting its stride on that sunny Sunday of April 6. Willows Beach was gleaming as people and dogs cavorted on the warm sand. It was funny to see small children waddling around the playground still bundled in their winter coats because parents weren't ready to believe that the sun was here to stay.
I locked up my bike, plunked down $20 for a day-of-race entry and did a reconnaissance jog to where the 10K route turned off the Esplanade onto Bowker. It seemed to be a rather narrow walkway and a sharp turn to start off a race, but hey, this is Oak Bay, so everyone should be polite and orderly.
The 10K started at 9:00 and the field of 114 negotiated both the pathway and sharp turn in a civilized fashion as predicted (but not without rattling a few teacups in the Oak Bay Tearoom as we sped by). We turned left off Bowker onto Beach and proceeded past the Oak Bay Beach Hotel and Victoria Golf Course, then onto McNeil Bay. Anyone who had never seen what life is like behind the Tweed Curtain got a close up view of walkers, seniors on walkers, strollers, gentlemen strolling in bowlers, dogs walking their owners, Sunday drivers, golfers swinging their drivers.... Welcome to Oak Bay!
At McNeil Bay the police directed us safely over to St. Patrick. The right turn onto McNeil Road revealed the 5K marker. From there we turned right onto Linkleas and encountered a sneaky little hill just past the 6K marker. I managed to keep a stiff upper lip until the hill topped out where Linkleas joined Newport, then it was a fun downhill to where the trusty police directed us left onto Beach. From there it was a little more than 3Ks back to Willows Beach. Chris Elliot placed second in the M30-39 and was second overall by just 2 seconds behind the race winner. I managed to win my age category by 15 seconds ahead of the next F50-59.
The 5K race start was 5 minutes after the 10K race start. The route took the runners in the opposite direction to Cattle Point, looped through the Uplands and then back to the beach. Jane McDonald did the 5K and was pleased to report that she was able to run for 20 minutes continuously, which is the longest she's been able to run since her hamstring injury, then walked/jogged to the finish. Other Harriers enjoying the 5K were Gary Donoghue and Thomas Holm who was the overall winner of the 70 racers.
By jove! Well done ol' chaps!
Submitted by: Wendy Davies, April 8, 2014