Friday, October 19, 2012

Point Douglas Run 2012, Race Report

Oh love we can dance, we can dance, we can dance
As long as we dance in the thick of it
As one

Royal Wood, In the Thick of It, We Were Born To Glory

If fun, smiles, and community are a measurement of success than this, the first annual Point Douglas Run, was a runaway 5-star hit.  The registration numbers started slow, nerve wracking for the planning committee. They trickled in ... 65 on Wednesday, 85 on Friday, but then on Saturday, magically 50 walk-up registrants appeared for a whopping 135 runners and walkers by sunny gun-time.  

The race director was all smiles and bubbles as she danced in the thick of it with crooked lady-bug wings. Everywhere smiles, everywhere laughter, everywhere blessed moments crackled like fire. The big old Norquay Community Centre radiated with positive energy. The smell of fresh coffee, toast, and scrambled eggs wafted throughout. It was such a good day to be alive.  So positive and such affirmation of all that is good.  Such a fine race and such good folks in this community. They put on a party and they opened the doors wide for all diversity.  We danced as one in old Point Douglas, in the thick of it, we danced as one.

In his blessing the elder spoke
eloquently of the irony... I paraphrase... 
We hear of bad things in our neighbourhood, we hear that bad people live in our neighbourhood,  all the news is bad, and yet now,when I look upon all of you, with the sun and the clouds, the young and the old, all I see is goodness.  All about me I see hope and promise.
Thought bubbles popped up all around as the elder spoke...'hope and promise'... 'young and old'... 'yellow, red, black, and white'... 'blue, blue sky'... 'sun shining'.... 'river flowing'... 'all I see is goodness'. Yup, I don't know about you but that imagery kinda makes me tear-up a bit.  The wisdom of the Elders runs deep.

The course hugged the north bank of the Red River and seemed to find every hill in Winnipeg!  Check the profile...

It's an out-and-back course that is mostly pavement but a couple of kilometers are hard packed gravel.  Much of the course snakes it way through Grand Old North End along Burrows Scotia, and Cathedral.  It's a pretty route that is steeped in history and charm.  

Although the course was marked sparsely there were enough strategically placed volunteers to prevent confusion.  The few runners that did veer off course were quickly herded back enroute. The course markers were set up the evening previous and apparently some were removed by mischievous folks.  This may have caused a little uncertainty for the lead runners - those speedy guys, they're always getting lost ;>) - The course was also marked with yellow ribbons which really helped with navigation.  Perhaps more yellow ribbons would have helped clarify the course.

There were plenty of water stations placed just where you would expect them to be. The Dixie Cups were tiny. They held a couple of sips at most. I used two cups at each water station and even that wasn't quite enough. I like the idea of small cups to minimize wastage, but perhaps these cups were a little too small for runners working up a steam.  It wasn't a hot race so hydration wasn't a real issue, but watch out in the heat!

The volunteers were simply perfect.  They cheered enthusiastically and they smiled warmly.  Some may not appreciate the goodness of what they do so let's take a moment to remind ourselves about volunteering.  Hmm, I wonder what Wiki would say? altruistic activity intended to promote good or improve human quality of life. It is considered as serving the society through one's own interests, personal skills or learning, which in return produces a feeling of self-worth and respect, instead of money. Volunteering is also famous for skill development, socialization and fun.
Yikes!... and you thought you were just handing out water to strange runners in tu-tus!  Sort of puts it into perspective, don't you think?

The Point Douglas Race is not an officially timed event.  There was a clock at the start line and finish line for those that needed it and some wore Garmins.  Personally, I loved the fact that it was a non-timed event.  Timed runs are a different beast and tend to bring out a competitive spirt. I'm just as competitive as the next runner, however it was liberating to just run for the fun of it. To leave the Garmin at home and pack a tu-tu in its place... now THAT'S liberating!  I hope The Point Douglas Run planning committee leaves it just that way... it ain't broke so don't fix it.

Thank you Point Douglas Run Committee for a really fine event.  I know you will be back again next year so we won't say goodbye, let's part with a runner's adieu ... see you on the trails!

It's a good day to be alive, dancing in the thick of it as one.