My West Van Run teammates invited me to run the Strachan Hartley Legacy Foundation run last month. I didn’t know much about this race but I wanted to take part, experience something new and hang out with my friends. It turns out, this event was also for a good cause.
About the Race
The Strachan Hartley Legacy Foundation run is an annual event in its 11th year, that raises money for Streetfront Alternative, an alternative education program that puts an emphasis on physical activities and sport. It’s a 5k and 10k run overseen 100% by volunteers through the hilly streets of North Vancouver. The course is a mix of non-technical trail and residential streets. None of the roads were closed (to my knowledge) so we had to keep an eye out for traffic. Both races end on the track at Handsworth Secondary School. This year, a whopping $40,800 was raised by over 500 contributors.
How Did I Do?
I’ll keep this short and sweet… just like my race. I arrived at the Handsworth Secondary School gym at around 8:30 AM to pick up my package. My team was already there. We chatted a bit and took lots of selfies before heading out to the start line. Fellow BibRave Pro Bradley and I were up for the 10k and Sam and Karin, the 5k. We had an earlier start so off we went.
I liked the course, especially when it went into the trees. The mix of asphalt and trails kept me on my toes. There were lots of hills though, which was tough considering this race happened about 3 weeks after the Berlin Marathon. I hadn’t been running much since. It was a little hard to figure out where we were going as there would be stretches without signage. I also found some of the signs to be really small and some marshals weren’t even pointing people to the right direction…
After the 5k and 10k merge point, I was supposed to make a right but instead I went left with the crowd. I didn’t see a sign nor did I see anybody yelling for 10k-ers to go a certain way. Confused, I came upon this hill that I knew was near the start line and I asked the marshals there if the 10k goes here too and they said yes. Unfortunately, it led me to the track. I ended up running about 7 km only. I was so confused and I noticed that Bradley wasn’t at the finish area. Clearly, he wasn’t misdirected and had to climb up the BIG HILL that everybody kept talking about. Bradley called it an “unrelenting incline” and I’m disappointed I couldn’t share in that experience. (My legs might be secretly thanking me though.)
Check out Bradley on the Run’s race recap here. Fun fact: we were hit by the same dog in this race.
My First DNF
Knowing it was my first DNF, I immediately went to the SportsStats tent to tell them. I did NOT want to get an award for this. After speaking with other people at the finish line, I found out I wasn’t the only one who got misdirected. It was disappointing to not be able to complete the race, but I made the best of it anyway. I even ran with Bradley to the finish line when he finally arrived and told him “I’ve been waiting for ages!” LOL 😀 It was also great to see our friends Sam and Karin win their age groups. The West Van Run Crew represented well! In the end I came out with my first DNF experience (it was bound to happen) and a fun morning with friends.
Organization – Package pickup was fine. It was easy and it was also easy when I asked them to put me on the West Van Run Crew team since I neglected to do that when I signed up. Bigger and better signs/flagging are needed, course marshals that pay attention and direct people well, maybe different coloured bibs to distinguish the 5k from the 10k runners.
Course – From what I saw, a mix of road (residential streets) and non-technical trails. It was tough, prepare your glutes. There was also a kids race around the track after the 5 and 10k races wrapped up.
Swag – If you registered early enough, you could’ve gotten a shirt (I missed out). It’s a nice shirt designed by one of the students at Handsworth Secondary. I loved the design and wondered who made it. Bradley’s post has the shirt details here. Post-race snacks like bagels, fruit and coffee were provided. There was a talented photographer at the event (Mark Bates Photography) and if you’re lucky you got a free photo crossing the finish line. It was also a treat to see my colleague Blake Price emceeing the event, a Handsworth alum!
Would I Do It Again? I would run this race again next year. After all, I have to finish what I started! I would just try my best to learn the course beforehand; however, I think better signage would really help too.
Tell me… have you ever been misdirected at a race? What’s your experience?