It has been an interesting two weeks. Vancouver was hosting the winter Olympics and we had the opportunity to see athletes from all over the world compete at the highest level. Of course there was heartbreak along with the celebrating, but when you commit whole heartedly to one goal four years in the future, it can't be much fun losing by a few hundredths of a second. Our runners are not generally competing at the highest level in our sport, but they still bring an enormous amount of passion and dedication to their running. As a coach this is wonderful to see, and this past weekend, I saw some of the results of all the hard work.
A group of us went to Peterborough, Ontario to run the Peterborough half marathon. Coming as it does at the end of February, the conditions can be awful. For example, last year I warmed up in a blizzard, which fortunately stopped before the race got underway, but still left a dusting of snow on the course and slowed us down a little. However, this year was much better, with above zero temperatures and the sun breaking through the clouds every now and then it was good enough to run in shorts and a t-shirt. At least I thought so! I won't go into detail about he actual race, you should check Chris McPeake's blog for that, but I do want to congratulate our Longboat runners for their performances at the race.
First and foremost is Rob Campbell who ran with me most of the way and went on to break the club record for men 50-54 for the half marathon in a time of 1:20:54. Not surprisingly, Rob was also the first in his age group. Next across the line was Lynn Bourque, first in the Women's 45-49 category in 1:35:34, followed by Chris McPeake in a personal best time of 1:38:46. Kelly Chase arrived 3 seconds ahead of Gregoire Bonhomme in 1:39:48, to take second in the women's 30 to 35 year age group. Both Kelly and Gregoire posted personal bests, breaking 1:40 for the first time. Fellow Longboat runner Tory Hoff came 3rd in the male 60+ category with a time of 1:47:38 and John Lyng ran to a 1:53:41 finish. Rounding out the half marathoners was Kim Diamond, who overcame some early race difficulties to run 2:23. There were also a couple of 5k runners at Peterborough. Donald Cole ran 22:33.6 for first place in the Men's 55 to 60 age group, and Jennifer Penny ran 25:41.7 to claim first in the women's 60+ category. So, Peterborough produced good performances by Longboat runners, and the dedication and commitment to training is clearly paying off.
I have been thinking about the Longboat runner I should name Coach's choice for a while now, and although, based on this weekend's performances, it would be easy to choose Rob Campbell, I'm going to go with Chris McPeake. Chris has been determined, some might say dogged, in his training, taking the mileage to ever higher levels. He has also posted personal bests in both races he has run so far this year and I'm sure he will see more before the season is over. While I am frustrated by his lack of commitment to a goal race other than some 100 mile trail race, I was impressed when the mileage junkie realized during a long run that all was not as it should be and decided to cut it short. I know this must have been a tough decision, but it was the right one, since Chris was still recovering from a bout of flu (not sure which animal or bird variety). So congratulations to Coach's Choice for February - Chris McPeake!