Sunday, September 25, 2011

Niverville "Imagine" Half Marathon 2011, Race Report

There's something about small town races that makes me happy, so happy in fact I want to return.  The Niverville Imagine Half Marathon was picture perfect in every way, shape, and form.  The cause, Mood Disorders, is a serious one and the story behind the inception of Imagine is tragic.

A week before Mona Stott was to run the 2009 Manitoba Marathon her son Joey committed suicide.  Instead of running the marathon Mona attended her son's funeral.  Mona contemplated running the marathon before the afternoon funeral but was discouraged to do so by family and friends.  Personally, I think I would have encouraged her to run, I would have run, but that's me, and my advice isn't worth the binary code of this sentence. Mona created the Imagine Run to raise awareness of mental health issues and suicide.

And such a run it is!  Go here for Mona's story.  Go here for the Imagine, Mental Health Matters web page

I'm a sucker for the smell of fresh manure and wide open endless blue sky.  Like Treherne Marathon, Nivervile Marathon was brimming over with positive energy and exuberance.  It's a small town marathon with a big city vibe. The organization was impecable, the entertainment suitably cheezy with the Elvis impersonator at the turnaround, and the lonesome Charlie looping Lennon's classic Imagine.  Some of the bands were professional and their sound against the big blue sky made the run that much more enjoyable. The volunteers were absolutely the best ever.  My only pet peeve is the number of runners tuned out with head phones. To purposely lock their minds way from all that positive energy is breathtakingly myopic... I just don't get it.

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the finish line.

At the mile 8 mile marker I felt amazingly strong.  I was pacing out at sub 9, my lungs were strong, my heart rate even and calm, and my legs strong. I looked to my right, strong 20 year old runners, very fit 20 year old runners, to my left, more 20 year olds and a couple of 30 year olds... all very fit, very strong.  Man, I'm doing amazing!  I'm just burning up this course!  At the mile 9 marker I check my GPS for time, pace distance.  DISTANCE!  Why does my GPS say 7.5 miles and the mile marker reads 9?  There must be a mistake!

Yes, there was a mistake, and it was all mine.  I remember an intersection a few miles back.  Some runners went straight and some veered left down Main Street.  I locked eyes with the RCMP officer and he nodded towards the left.  In reflection he was probably just saying hi, but I interpreted it as sign to go left.  So left I went... straight into the 10 k route.  I decided the only thing I could do was to run it in to the finish line, check my GPS and run outbound to make up for the shortfall.

So that's what I did.  I ran to the finish line strong.  Stopped a meter before the line, turned and bolted outbound to make up for the 1.4 mile shortfall.  When I stopped I heard a few gasps from the hundred or so spectators on the bleachers.  I heard someone yell. What's he doing?  But off I went.. in the wrong direction.  I ran outbound 0.7 and returned 0.7.  The GPS distance read 13.09... close enough, and the time 1:53:59.  All in all, not a bad time.

Would I recommend this run?  Yes, in a heart beat.

Do I know someone with mental health issues?  Sadly yes.

Is it a good day to be alive?

Well you know the answer to that.

Mike
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