What do you do when a trail marathon is held just around the corner from your house? Well, even though I’m coming off a long injury and had no business thinking I could run a marathon, I went to run it anyway.
The event is called the Run for Tomorrow Trail Marathon and 10K, and is put on by Malcolm Anderson in Yarker, Ontario. He has carved out a 2.1 km loop that weaves through fields and woods on his property. All day I kept thinking of Field of Dreams and ‘If you build it, they will come’. Malcolm, who has a similar zeal for marathons that Ray Kinsella had for baseball, did indeed build a very pretty trail, and a nice little crowd came out in the first year to test themselves on it.
A small group of us lined up at 9am for the start of the marathon. There was even a couple from England to make us an international field! Malcolm sent us off, and it felt good to finally be running. We completed a partial loop, and then started the countdown of 19 more to go.
I started off easily, and kept in mind that the stars would really have to line up for me to make it to the finish even at a very comfortable pace. The repeated short loops made it convenient to hit the aid station at convenient intervals, and each loop held the anticipation of heading back into the beautiful dark woods where the trail passed downhill by a pond and then up two hills to keep your muscles working in different ways for variety.
Out in the open I was slowly starting to cook under the now blazing sun, and wondering how much longer I’d want to keep going. I'm not my best as a heat runner, and certainly not in May when the last long run I did I was wearing a hat and tights. Then I saw Karen and Julianne Murphy, which was a nice surprise and gave me a lift. I asked them if they were running the 10K which was to start soon, and Karen said she was kicking herself for not bringing shoes. So I tossed my extra Skylites at her to much laughter and applause from the gathering group of 10K runners, and she ended up running a great race.
As for me, those stars didn’t line up, but I managed some decent heat training before pulling the plug for the day. I was happy to get in a few hours, and also that my hamstring held up well and my hips felt pretty good too. Definite progress. I'm in a place now where I can start full-on training and am very excited about that.
Derrick and I stuck around for some lunch and to chat with other runners, and thought about coming back later for the live music that was to take the outdoor stage later. As it turned out we were too tired, but we live so nearby that we could actually hear a few strands of music later when the wind blew just right. We smiled that we weren't missing out after all.
It was a very fun day! Many thanks to Malcolm for hosting a great event!
I received a nice shower from a tent before the race - I really could have used this a bit later!
Aid station being set up.
Race Director Malcolm busy on race day.