The sun was (finally) shining Sunday morning as I stepped out of my family's new-to-us camper trailer that we had set up in my father's backyard. I was back in my old home town of Pictou, only a few kilometers from the beautiful town of New Glasgow where the Johnny Miles races would begin in a couple of hours. I got my daughter set up inside my father's house, happily crunching at froot loops as my husband Richard and I pinned on our bibs and brushed our teeth.
We managed to score a parking spot less than three blocks from the start line and quickly found what was left of the complimentary breakfast on the main street. The event had sold out so 4000+ people and their families filled the otherwise sleepy main street of New Glasgow in eager anticipation. Music boomed and runners adjusted their fuel belts, laces and hats, some people looked around nervously, others with determination. Richard and I bumped into a friend who was running her first 10km race and wished her luck as she joined the porta-potty line. We stood around in the shade, waiting patiently for the 10km race to begin.
The Johnny Miles started the marathon runners first, the the 5k starting just 5 minutes after, then the half and 10k runners together, 5 minutes after the 5k runners. Even with the short start intervals there didn't seem to be any issues, everyone was very respectful and there seemed to be very little pushing in the narrow downtown streets. One gentleman, who was celebrating his 99th birthday (!), was walking the 5k race with a huge support crew of family. They all wore green "99 club" shirts as the walked en mass. The course itself had to be changed this year as there was road construction. This year we would go through the north end of New Glasgow, then into Abercrombie, then to Trenton and back to New Glasgow in one large rolling hill loop.
Richard and I started off a bit faster than I thought we should go, averaging about 6:44 per km, so I spent about 1.5 kms trying to get him to slow it down a bit so we could aim for a more even pace of 7 mins per km. After 2kms he did, I think simply because the slow grade hills through the north end of New Glasgow eventually took a bit of a toll. We enjoyed the crowds on the side of the course through Abercrombie and thanked the volunteers and police officers who kept us all safe and hydrated. Once we came to the 4km mark we made a turn towards the town of Trenton. We passed the Trenton power station and enjoyed some cool breeze as we headed into town again. Richard and I took only 2 walk breaks on the hot course, both at steep hills later on in the race. I enjoyed touring my old high school stomping grounds as we weaved through Trenton and back to New Glasgow. There were ample water stations and it was very rare that there was an area that didn't have at least one person cheering us all on. As the finished neared Richard said something like, let's give 'er, and I took off, cruising down the last hill and through the huge crowds lining the finish line. Richard finished seconds after me and we grabbed our medals and sat down to catch our breath. We didn't get a PB-far from it for both of us-but I think Richard would agree we had a great time on a challenging course. We eventually stood up again, grabbed out bagged complimentary lunch and headed back to my father's house. Mission accomplished :-)