Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sulphur on a Fine Day

Lee Anne and I visited the grandchildren (oh! and their parents - hmmm - Lily and Daryl) Friday evening and slept over in Toronto in order to get to the race site without leaving at some ungodly hour in the morning.  Some might take offense to calling 04:30 a late start, but compared to 03:30, worlds apart man!

Sulphur hosted arguably the largest ultra race in Canada yesterday (Saturday May 26), with 250 people running 50K, 50M and 100M.  The 50M and 100M runners started at 06:00 (Lee Anne was running the 50 mile race) and it was a bit eerie to see so many people starting such a long race.  Lee Anne ran a smart race, paying attention to her salt, food and liquid intake.  She shaved 15 minutes off her 50M best, with at time of 10:10.  Good enough for second in her age category.

I ran the 25K as I'm not trained for anything longer.  Although the 50K looked tempting, with knee surgery scheduled for July 17, perhaps some semblance of moderation would look good to my surgeon.  It is quite interesting to run Sulphur, with the staggered starts and sections with 2-way traffic.  You tend to see friends and fellow racers for much of the race, which gives the race a wonderful social aspect.  I said hello to many people, although dredging up a name quickly is not my strong suit.  I said hello to Jeff Cooper twice, calling him Jeff the first time and Jim the second.  Perhaps he should change his name.  He kinda looks like a Jim!

The 5K spur went smoothly, as I kept the pace down in an attempt to favour the knees and legs.  The 20K loop was in fine shape, although I had a few moments where I fondly recalled all the water and mud on the course last year.  Although dry and fast, last year's conditions where much more exciting!

I ran the first 15K without issues.  I am just getting over a significant bout of the flu.  I had not run much of the last 2 weeks, being "mostly dead".  With the lack of training, torn cartilage and a cough that could stop traffic (hey you!  Can you hand me that lung?) I was concerned that finishing could be problematic.  In short runs last week, I was having trouble getting oxygen.  Sure enough, I started to struggle at about 20K, at the top of the 3 hills on the lollipop loop (I've heard them called the 3 sisters).  My bad knee flared (strike 2) forcing me into a lurching run.  I almost had to walk the downhill section on the backside of the lollipop, as my knee was misbehaving badly.

Just like in longer runs, he who tries to outlast a bad spot either does better or ends up in the hospital.  In this case, with the finish so near, my body gave up on complaining and I was able to finish at a run, instead of a painful shuffle!  Walked the final hill, but could not resist breaking into a run for the top part, finishing in a respectable 2:45.

A humorous note on finishing:  One of the runners who finished near me claimed I must have won the "most greeted person" award.  I explained it was mainly due to being a race director, although you see a lot of the same people when you attend ultras for 10 years!  I only wish I could greet everyone by name, but that would require a memory and I lost mine (can't remember where...)

After completing the 25K and while waiting for Lee Anne to complete the 50M, I helped John Turner hand out medals to the finishers.  It's great fun to see all the smiling faces as people complete their races, happy to be done.  I mentioned to several racers that they are encouraged to run an extra loop, at no charge.  All declined!

When Adam Hill came in, 6 hours and 49 minutes into the 50 mile race, I was thinking it was a bit slow for Adam, at the 60K point, then it dawned on me, he was finished!  Adam shaved 58 minutes off the previous record, making us all look bad...  Congrats Adam!

Well, with a date for the knee surgery (July 17), it means that Niagara will likely be my last race until October.  Now what's a good 25K trail run in early October?  Hmmmm.  Talked to George and Peggy Sarson for a brief time, while blocking the road near the finish line.  It was great to see everyone again, hope to see you soon.  Outside chance of doing Kingston, although we are supporting Charlotte V's Bruce Trail speed attempt and Creemore falls on June 7 and possibly the 8th.  Definitely Niagara!


  1. Congrats on a great race. Most likely will cya in Niagara

  2. Good to see you again Pierre. I find it amazing that you are still running. You are an inspiration or an example of what not to do but I really can’t decide which it is. See you out there ..Niagara????