Having said all of that, it seems that in spite of my history, I was lured over the past decade by the enticing weather and beautiful landscapes of both Bermuda and North Vancouver, and running became a bit of a hobby for me. I gradually evolved as a non-competitive (that is never in real competition as a top finisher) competitive runner. My biggest asset was my age which kept propelling me into less and less populated categories (Master, Senior Master, Over the hill, etc.) The peak of my running career in Bermuda was to finish second in my age class in a five mile sprint, winning a gift certificate that was enough to buy a pair of socks at the local running store. Finally I had found a niche where I could finish more or less successfully, albeit as a member of a gradually shrinking group!
Running in North Vancouver has been quite a culture shock after Bermuda. I have traded long runs right from my front door along a mildly rolling Bermuda sea coast, for the steep climbs and pounding downhills of the North Shore. Add to that the fact that the number of participants in this week's Sun Run was greater than the entire adult population of Bermuda, and you can appreciate how much my running life has changed!
The Sun Run, for me this year, was a community effort. Led by the enthusiastic leadership of our phys-ed teacher Jackie De Santis, KGMS put together an eclectic team of teachers, students and parents to make our mark on the sea of humanity lined up patiently in a chilly and occasionally drizzly Sunday morning on West Georgia Street. It's nice running as part of a group (although I didn't see any of them from start to finish), at least you know that there is someone who can give your name to the paramedics! And I am sure that the more than half-century range in our ages made us one of the most demographically diverse teams on the route!
The race itself is a bit of a blur - they usually are - I remember sections of pavement, and thousands of backs, but if you want to take a scenic tour of downtown, there are definitely better ways! My time was respectable (in spite of the fact that I placed about 12,000th!) and I was given boost after boost from a host of total strangers who cheered, and played, and danced along the route.
So what were my "take-aways" from the experience? I was reminded, once again, of the significance of adequate (or inadequate!) preparation for every challenge that you take on. I got the opportunity to share in the camaraderie of collective accomplishment, and to see many of our students surprise themselves with what they could do if they put their minds to it. I felt that satisfaction of pushing my limits and of trying something new and challenging. And I was amazed, as always, at the generosity of spirit that characterizes our community; a spirit that stands in the rain and cold to support friends and family, and cheers on strangers mile after mile along the route.
Who could ask for a greater race result than that?