Archive for October, 2010

Report From the Road


I just posted a piece called “Running on the Road”.  Maybe one of the reasons I was moved to write it was the fact that I was about to get into a new round of running while on a long trip.

This introduction is being written at something like 39,000 ft on the way to Hong Kong.  Sometime in the next day or two I hope to get out there for a bit of a run.  Actually, we are travelling with friends to a number of places but Hong Kong is the only place I have not yet run (at a country level).  There will be a number of new cities or areas where I have not been or run (Chiang Mai, Thailand and Perth, Australia).  However, I have run in both Australia and Thailand, just not those specific places.  I may have to expand my hobby from countries to states, provinces and cities.  For now, though, I guess I will stay with recording new countries.

Do keep watching the blog as several others have agreed to help out and I will be staying involved as we go.  Aaah, the miracle of the internet and WiFi connections!

Well, we touched down in Hong Kong AND lifted off again a few days later for Bali.  I did get a run in and it was a super treat.  As I mentioned in Running on the Road, it is sometimes difficult to find a place to run if you don’t know the lay of the land. 

Green Oasis

Oasis of Green in Busy Kowloon

It took me a couple of days but I found an amazing oasis of green and calm in the middle of bustling Kowloon.  It was relatively small and all the trails were either up or down (more like a mountain trail run than anything else) but the location and the fellow park users, walking, talking doing tai chi or whatever they thought was best made it special.  If you are ever in that area and looking for a place to walk or run then look for Kings Hill just off Waterloo Rd.

Next up is Bali.  I have run there before and know exactly where I am going and that the options for running have even improved since last we visited.  I am actually writing this submission from Bali but we are in a small country resort in the jungle and roads are the only option.  It doesn’t feel safe, with very narrow roads filled with motor-bikes, cars, trucks, motor-bikes, buses, motor-bikes, so I am waiting for our next location where I know the running will be very good!  This report is not to gloat, much, but really to point out just how much fun this kind of running can be.

In the next day or two we will be catching up with Rod Waterlow again as he prepares for CIM in Sacramento – another version of “Running on the Road” – the purpose driven race.

Never Too Late to Be Great – Report #1


CIM – 6 Weeks Out and Counting

Rod Waterlow

This series is about and by Rod Waterlow who has been invited as a senior elite athlete to compete at the California International Marathon (Sacramento) on December 5.  We are following Rod’s approach and process as he prepares for and runs this popular and still growing event.  For more background on Rod and the Race, see the first post in the series.

Rod, that is an interesting photo of you in the introductory piece and as your “signature” bio shot.  Care to comment?

The picture was taken in a local coffee shop where my running buddies and I meet after our long runs.  It was shortly after the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics had come to an end and there was still an incredible “buzz” and a sense of national pride throughout the city.  Although I didn’t run in the Olympic relay, which took the flame all across Canada, I know several people who had the honour to be chosen as torch bearers.  Each of the runners had the opportunity to buy their own torch, and was encouraged to share the experience with as many people as possible.  One of the torch bearers runs with our group and brought the torch to the coffee shop.  I think you can tell by the look on my face that it was a real thrill to actually hold a torch which had been part of such a historic event.  

Let’s get down to business, then.  We can assume you follow a structured training program, including the ever popular “long run”.  Do you ever include racing in marathon training?

Yes, but not as much as I used to.  In 1986, the year after I ran my first marathon, I really caught the running bug and there were periods when I would be racing almost every weekend at various distances from 5 km and up, including two half-marathons, a 30 km and two marathons.  In recent years I have focused on the longer distances, the half and full marathons, which seem to be more suited to my body type.  This pattern is consistent with the programs of the running clinics with which I am involved which are designed to incorporate and/or peak for various half and full marathons.  For example, this year there were at least three marathons and half-marathons (Victoria, Kelowna and Portland) on the October long weekend and many of my running buddies participated.  Because I will be running the California International Marathon (CIM) in December, I decided not to run the full-marathon but opted to run the half-marathon in Victoria.  My approach to the training for a marathon is basically the same as the way I approach the actual race (or, for that matter, life itself), it’s all about pacing!  I still like to run about three half-marathons and a couple of full-marathons every year, but I have no illusions that I will ever run 3:10:14 again – hey, I’m not fifty any more!    

Editor’s Note:  Rod may not be 50 any more but he managed to win his age category in a spritely 1:44:08 in a field of some 22 runners aged 70-74.  Apparently, preparations are going well for CIM.

Running on the Road


Running on the road, in this case, is not the opposite of trail running.  It is also NOT what your mother told you not to do.  No, it is about running while you travel.

While there are many variations, in my mind there are three big categories.  One is getting those training runs in when you must travel for business (or pleasure, for that matter).  Another is just enjoying a run as part of a vacation or business trip.  The third is the “destination event” when you travel specifically for the purpose of running.

While running should always be enjoyable, the run you “have to do” as part of preparation for a big event can be an issue.  On the other hand, the vacation run is just an experience and totally for pleasure.  Some of the same basics relate to both kinds of runs, some don’t.

The Training Run on the Road.

The first point to consider might be that if you are only away for a day or two, do you really need to obsess about getting a particular run in on a particular day?  Only the individual can answer that question.  Sometimes, you are just going to get a better workout/outcome by juggling your schedule and sticking to familiar routes and routines.

For the purpose of discussion I am going to assume that you are on a longish trip and you really do have to find a way to get your training in while away.

The first thing you need to figure out is where you are and what the options and restrictions might be.  If you are in the heart of a big city and there is nothing nearby like New York’s Central Park, you may just have to look for a treadmill.  That could also be true if you are in a country where running ‘half naked’ through the streets is frowned upon.  But, the treadmill would be my personal last resort, so the next thing you can do is talk to the front desk or concierge at your hotel.  If the hotel is big enough there may be a staff at the fitness centre to give valuable advice.  I made such a request just recently and found out I was very near a seaside nature park that after negotiating a few residential streets, gave me one of the most enjoyable 10K runs I have done in ages.  Had I not asked, I would never have known.

If you need to go with the “do it yourself” plan, there are a lot of new high-tech options that can help even before you leave home.  Sites like FriendFit (formerly and MapMyRun will let you explore the location where you will be staying on your trip, and even plan a running route that can be printed off.  For the extremists in the crowd, I suppose you could find your run route first and THEN a hotel.  If you have a vehicle available you can also plan to drive to a suitable location before commencing your training run.

If you just want an idea of how to get from where you will be staying to where you want to go on your run, you can dial up Google Earth or your favourite mapping facility.  That said, once you get to your travel destination, it doesn’t hurt to ask somebody about local conditions.  Online mapping facilities are not “live shots”.  You never know when some particular road is under construction etc.  Also, it never hurts to know about the neighbourhoods or areas you will run through.  This is true for everyone, but particularly for women.

In the area of “safety”, I would strongly suggest that you NOT use your music system when running in unfamiliar territory.  You just plain need to be more aware.  Hearing what is happening around you is an important part of that.  Besides, why not just enjoy your surroundings, including the background sounds?

If you plan to be somewhere for a significant time, why not search out a local running club or two?  I don’t believe I have ever heard of a club turning a visitor away.  My own club has welcomed people from as far off as Australia and various parts of Europe as well as from all over North America.  Not only will you find the best routes for what you want, you will probably find somebody willing to run with you.

Running for Fun

Running at Coolangatta, QLD

Australian beach run - Queensland

One of the things I love doing when traveling is running, just to say I did.  There is no purpose to the run except to do it in a place I may never have been before.  I race fairly often and while I have covered a fair bit of territory in that pursuit, I have only raced in three countries (Canada, United States and Belgium).  Of course, given the size of two of those countries that offers a fair number of options.  I have been fortunate to be able to travel a fair bit over the years, for work and on vacation.  I expect over time my total will continue to rise.  I still like travel and I still like to run!

One of the reasons for having raced in just three countries is that on short visits it may be difficult to find a local race.  That said, I have covered more than a few States when it comes to running and racing, having raced in Washington State, Oregon, California, Hawaii, New York and Massachusetts. 

My personal story hardly matters, except to show that you can do it if you want to experience something new.  There is a big trip in our near future, which might be the  motivation for this topic when you get right down to it.  At the moment though, the potential is only there to add one new country to my overall count.  And, to illustrate my point that it is a lot easier to run than race in some far away location, I have not found one race that meshes with the itinerary.

There is something special about running in new surroundings and circumstances.  Taking your foot off the gas a bit, or running without a time or distance goal makes all the difference, especially if you are a runner who likes to compete.  We too easily fall into a pattern that makes every run part of a plan and of consequence.  A friend who is a very good runner has apparently just hit that “wall” and declared he has lost the will and focus to train hard.  It isn’t fun.  I gave him some unsolicited advice in the form of a set of simple rules (admittedly borrowed from another set of rules):

Rule #1.  Running should always be fun (even when it is hard work).

Rule #2.  When running isn’t fun, see Rule #1.

The “vacation run” is a special kind of fun run.  There is no purpose to it, other than to do it.  Pace, distance, “quality”: no consequence.  Peace, joy, happy sweating: everything.

Punta Cana - Dominican Republic

Morning Joggers on Punta Cana Beach

Running on a beach or through a forest (or both, as was the case in my example above) are just special.  It can be a real treat if you can do it with someone, but as long as you aren’t breaking any safety rules by going alone, there is a tremendous appeal to the solo run.  I do know that a run I am looking forward to in the near future is a beach run someone recently described to me.  It is a tropical beach, practically on the Equator.  It is going to be HOT.  The run isn’t going to be much more than a jog and the distance will just be a few kilometres, but the only objective will be the doing of it.  Having lived in this part of the world I know the basics of pace, time of day and hydration necessary to keep it enjoyable.

I have a few running stories from these exotic fun runs.  I was running in Thailand a few years ago, and not being exactly young – seasoned you would say – the locals were not used to seeing some crazy old white guy running along the country roads.  They called out to me: “Papa!” and made signals that I should stop.  Several young guys on motor-bikes tried to get me to ride, assuming I must be going somewhere and that running per se was not really the purpose of what I was doing.  (And probably, that I could die at any minute!)  I just laughed and smiled and waved and kept going.  Eventually, they seemed to either accept that I knew what I was doing or more likely that I was actually crazy and there was no help for me.  Hmmm.  They may not have been wrong.

The only time I kind of scared myself with one of these “fun” runs was in Paris.  I was there on business and staying just off the Champs Elysees.  I didn’t have a lot of time for the run and at the time was not that familiar with Paris, so I just ran up and down from the Arc de Triomphe to Place de la Concorde.  If you don’t know Paris, just think about TV coverage of the final stage of the Tour du France as they bike the last few laps to the finish. OK. This was during the first Gulf War.  The conflict had just started and Europe was totally unsure of what spill-over there might be.  At every corner there were gendarmes armed with sub-machine guns.  Near Place de la Concorde is the American Embassy.  I never thought much about it as I started my back and fourth run in the pre-dawn Paris morning, but as I passed the guards near the US Embassy for the third or fourth time, they seemed to be showing considerably MORE interest in me than on the first or second pass.  I decided it was time for a nice hot shower and to get on with my day!

I guess that wasn’t the only time I got a little scare, and guns were involved this time, too.  I was out in a rural setting along the Rideau River/Canal system in the beautiful Ontario Fall.  It was a bright, frosty morning and I was just started on a pleasant run along a country road.  I hadn’t gone more than a mile when the sharp crack of a rifle shot rang out, close to where I was running.  I realized with a start that it was hunting season.  I quickly decided that a couple of miles was more than sufficient for that day’s run!  

Grouse Grind - Vancouver, Canada

Trail - Grouse Mountain - Vancouver, Canada

But, for every such story as these two, I can relate a good many more where the only outcome was pure pleasure.  With a little planning, such runs can even become part of your tourism – a foot tour of London’s Hyde Park, a cruise through Vancouver’s Stanley Park, a ramble through the woods of Quebec (not in hunting season!).  One of the greatest, and first of such runs, happened in 1987 on a trip to Singapore.  That run was through the amazing Botanic Garden just after dawn.  I think it was my first tropical run and I did it with an acquaintance living there and working at the Canadian High Commission.  Chilled, freshly prepared post-run tropical fruit juice never tasted so good!

The Destination Event

Sometimes the medium is the message, whatever that means.  In this case, instead of running while on vacation (or any trip), you actually make the trip in order to do the run.

My wife is a great fan of the “destination marathon”.  She considers it to be an equal division of work.  As she often says: “I’ll do the destination.  You can do the marathon.”

Works for me!  I get twice what she does – I get to travel AND to run.  (Don’t tell her!)

The event hardly needs to be a full marathon.  I mean, it could be an ultra! Or, even though this blog is mostly about running, it could be an Ironman!  It could be a relay such as Hood to Coast or a much shorter event.  The event itself doesn’t matter.  As long as your primary reason for travel is to participate, it qualifies as a “destination run”.

Sometimes you get to do a combination.  For instance, my wife and I went to Maui so I could do that marathon (they also have a half).  We made it a two-week vacation trip with the marathon sandwiched in the middle.  That is a story in itself.  However, to get myself acclimatized for a hot humid marathon I did a couple of short morning runs during the week prior.  As I was supposed to be in the taper phase, these were quite short runs done slow and easy but at an hour when, on marathon day, I expected to be slogging through the sun and heat of mid-morning.  Those were three of the most amazing vacation runs I have done – along the beaches of Kihei and up into the streets and neighbourhoods of Wailea.  I am sure they did serve the purpose of helping to adjust to the local conditions, but they also reminded me why I run.

Naturally, you can plan ahead for travel and events, especially if you have some control over when/why/how you travel.  However, I have a friend who finds opportunities to just toss in a marathon on almost any kind of travel he is doing.  Most of us need greater time and structure than that if we are going to do a major event in some remote location. 

NYC Marathon Expo 2007

New York City Marathon Expo - 2007

There is also group or team participation. My running club has sent several contingents to the Marathon du Medoc and had numerous teams at the Hood to Coast Relay.  Running clinics sometimes focus not only on a local event but ones farther afield.  Some big marathons work with travel companies to set up packages, including registration.  Sometimes these are offered through a running store and include a training clinic.

Classic events that are magnets for runners are the New York, London, Paris and Berlin Marathons. 

Never forget Boston in that list, if you can qualify! 

Lead Women Boston 2009

Boston 2009 - Lead women nearing Newton Hills

I guess there is one more type of destination event that should get a mention.  That is the cause based project as represented by organizations like “Team in Training”.  Normally, an event is selected, then participants pledge to raise funds toward the specific cause and to run the event.  These groups deliver training and tremendous support to participants.  You will see them almost anywhere there is a decent sized event.  Typically, they aren’t fast, but they are amazingly motivated and super well supported.  You can’t miss them!

So, if you don’t see something for yourself here when it comes to “running on the road”, then I guess you won’t need to pack running shoes, shorts and T-shirt on your next trip.  Too bad.

Never Too Late to be Great

Rod with 2010 Olympic Torch

Rod Enjoys the Olympic Spirit

I have it on good authority that some of the “more seasoned” Seasoned Athletes are out there doing things that, taken in context, really measure up on the performance scales.  Anyone who has read Running in the Zone: A Handbook for Seasoned Athletes has already met some of these people.  It is the goal of this blog to introduce more.

This is the beginning of a series of posts I have asked a friend and “senior elite” runner to make over the next couple of months.  We all know that bigger races invite top runners to grace the lead pack and give excitement to their events and inspire those not quite ready or able to match them stride for stride!

I have just learned that Vancouver based Rod Waterlow has been invited, at the age of 73, to attend and compete at the California International Marathon in Sacramento, CA, one of my personal favorite events.  Because it is far more common that the 28 year-old sub-2:20 marathoner is the invitee, and because this blog is primarily by, about and for the seasoned athletes among us, I find Rod’s invitation “News” and worth following.

I have asked Rod to provide us an insight to his preparations, thoughts, aspirations, experiences and finally the race itself, which happens December 5, 2010.  As much as anything, the series is meant to encourage and inspire older runners to keep it going and strive to be the best we can be at any age.

Because, like so many of the RITZ contributors, Rod is actually a modest man (who mostly lets his legs do the talking) I think it important that I give you a bit of a profile of him and his achievements.  To do that, I asked him a few questions to set the stage for the coming posts:

Rod, have you always been a runner?

No, although I was on my high school cross country team for one year, I didn’t enjoy organized sports and there was a thirty year gap before I eventually took up running in my late forties. 

What got you started into running after all that time?

Looking back, I think the genesis of my running career was a chance conversation I had at a St. Patrick’s Day party over twenty-six years ago.  A group of us were standing with drinks in our hands and a family friend told us that he was planning to run the Vancouver Marathon at the beginning of May.  Like most people, I had always thought of running the marathon as an impossible dream and, in fact, I didn’t know that there was a marathon race in Vancouver.  Six weeks later, I telephoned our friend and he confirmed that he had indeed completed the 26.2 miles in under four hours – better than he had expected.

What did you do then?

I guess I was inspired by his achievement, so I put on some old runners and went for a run around the block, only to discover that a block has four sides and I only had enough energy for two and a half!  I subsequently learned that our friend had trained for the previous eight months at the YMCA Marathon Clinic.  The clinic started in late September and ran through until the end of April, peaking for the Vancouver Marathon.  It was assumed that all participants would already be able to run continuously for an hour, so I started to run two or three time a week.  By the end of the summer my stamina had improved and I was able to run for about forty-five minutes, but I was still somewhat below the prerequisite standard.  The first run was a complete disaster and I had to walk the last mile, all the time thinking, “What have I got myself into?” and “I can’t quit now I’ve paid the money”!

How did your marathon training progress?

Although I struggled at first, I hung in with the clinic and by the end of the first month I was able to run comfortably with my pace group.  The training schedule included increasingly longer runs with shorter recovery runs every couple of weeks.  However, when I started with the clinic there was a much greater emphasis placed on total mileage per week, and the longest runs were no more that 18 miles (30 km).  The longer runs with the clinic were supplemented by mid-week runs on my own, and as the training progressed there were some weeks when I would run 45-50 miles (70-80 km).  As I gained more experience and confidence I adjusted my total mileage to about 60 km per week, and by the spring of 1985 I was primed and ready to run my first marathon, which I completed in 3:17:50.  

So, that is how it began.  A chance conversation at a party, leading to a crazy ambition.  It is actually amazing how many of the original RITZ contributors, if they weren’t elite athletes who started running in their youth, have a similar story of doing something in school followed by a couple of decades of non-running, then taking up the sport sometime in their 40’s.

Once he did get started though, Rod showed that he was a bit of a natural.  About two years after his first marathon, at the age of 50, Rod recorded his marathon PB at 3:10:14 (Portland). 

Clearly, he was just getting started.  He ran Boston in 1997 and New York in 2008, where he placed third in his category.   In 2008 he was ranked Second (National) by Marathon Canada, recording a best time at Vancouver of 3:43:02.  In 2009 he was ranked Third, with a best of 3:43:35 at Eugene, OR.  And, at present in 2010 Rod is ranked Second with a best time of 3:56:39 at Vancouver.  He is looking forward to CIM, his 25th marathon, as a place to return to form and show he is over an injury that has slowed him over the last year. That form has seen him win his age category in six of his last nine marathons.

Not to set up any unreasonable expectations, but CIM has a reputation as a quick course.  Rod is feeling and running better.  Will there be magic on the road from Folsom to Sacramento?  Will the weather cooperate (sometimes it doesn’t)? Will the “Canadian Connection” work for Rod?  Note: Runners from Canada have won CIM six times over the years and several others have done well in age categories.

Stay tuned, as we follow Rod on the road to Sacramento.  Follow his adventure and join me in enjoying his story as he strives to continue with his running saga and pursuit of personal excellence.

22nd First Half Half Marathon

Lead Pack at 1 Mile

2009 First Half Leaders - 1 Mile

Registration is just over three weeks away!

The “First Half” Half Marathon first began in 1989 and, but for another little event that displaced it in 2010, the next running would have been the 22nd Annual First Half.  Instead,  the 2011 race will be the 22nd First Half.  Over those many years the “First Half” has become a very popular event, selling out in hours.

As a former Race Director of the “First Half” I feel that I have a pretty good inside perspective on the event and the people who make it special.  First among those are the volunteers, because this is a 100% volunteer run race.  Pacific Road Runners is the host club and from the membership of PRR comes most of the core race committee.  But, it doesn’t stop there.  Scores of other people step up every year to fill out the 250 odd volunteer positions necessary to stage this event.  This is a key aspect of the success of the “First Half”, that and obsessive attention to detail.

The “First Half” has only had six Race Directors over the first 21 races, and now Nicki Decloux has stepped up as the seventh.  Continuity is another aspect of steadily growing the race and making it as popular as it is.  Nicki is far from a newcomer, having already held several of the key committee posts.

You can’t do it without sponsors, and the “First Half” has been supported by a long list of superbly dedicated sponsors including Forerunners, which has been with the race since the very first staging of the event.  In 2009 Mizuno became a major sponsor and race garment supplier and continues in that role for 2011.

The date for opening of registration has now been announced as November 4, 2010 and for the first time, so has the hour: 7:00 AM.  All registration is online.  Over the last several years the race has sold out all 2000 running slots, first taking several weeks, then just over a week, a few days, about 12 hours, 5 hours and for the 2009 race, just 3:26.  There is nothing to say the trend will continue, but a word to the wise would suggest not taking a chance!  With a three hour limit on the race, insiders wonder if the day will come when registration takes less time than the slowest runner takes to finish the race.

Then, there is the post-race food.  This race has built a considerable reputation for the spread of “recovery” products available to tired runners on a cool February morning, including hot soup, fruit, bagels, muffins, juice, steaming coffee and much more!

Finally, on the structure side of the race there is the route, which most people will tell you is second to none, using the pathways along English Bay and the Stanley Park Seawall.

But, this is a foot-race, so those 2000 runners are also a key component.  Over the years this race has attracted some of Canada’s top runners and past winners have included Olympians, and world level competitors.  Frankly though, as nice as it is to have this kind of quality at the pointy end of the race, it is the rest of the field that makes it a race and every one of those competitors is out there giving his/her personal best on the day, regardless of the time showing on the clock as they finish.

To top it all off, the “First Half” is a major supporter of Variety – the Children’s Charity, having donated an average of $40,000 from each of the last several races and a total amount over the years, just shy of $400,000.  This donation is the “profit” from the race, which is only made possible because of the generosity of sponsors and volunteers, plus the tireless work of the PRR First Half Race Committee.

Just in case you aren’t motivated enough by all this, there is a top notch seminar on offer November 1 (7:00 PM) at the Roundhouse Community Centre, with a great list of speakers talking about: Motivation for Winter Running.  The seminar is free and there is a chance to win up to 20 guaranteed entries (sorry, you still have to pay, but you don’t have to get in line!).

So, as a totally unbiased member of PRR and former Race Director, let me say if you want a great race experience, on November 4, get to your computer and get registered.  AND, if you don’t quite make it, well think about getting involved on the other side and be a volunteer!  You will be welcome and you may be surprised how satisfying it actually is, to be a part of making this race happen!

From Famous Walker to Walk of Fame


Steve King tells me he really began competition as a walker, and no we aren’t talking about the purple bib section of the Vancouver Sun Run!  We are talking about race walking, and I gather he was pretty darn good at it!  Among other achievements he recorded a First in US Men’s 50 Mile Championships.  Thus, he was as the title states, a “Famous Walker”.

Last weekend, he achieved a different kind of Fame.  Steve was honoured by having his name placed on Frontrunners “Walk of Fame” in Victoria, BC.  Steve joins Olympians including Bruce Deacon, Simon Whitfield, Gary Reed and Diane Cummins, as well as Ironman top performers Lori Bowdon and Peter Reid.

Congratulations to Steve for an honour well deserved.  While he has a fine running, walking, triathlon resume, most people know him better for his race commentary.  As was said at the presentation, a race just doesn’t seem the same if Steve’s voice isn’t there welcoming the runners home at the finish!

California International Marathon Filling Fast


CIM is one of my personal favorite marathons and quite a few Canadians have done well there – some have even won the thing, including Peter Butler (held the course record for several years), Bruce Deacon (three times), Peter Maher and Graeme Fell.  Others, including our own Herb Phillips have taken age class wins and placings.  I’m not among this amazing crowd, but I can say I have run a couple of recent marathon PB’s there.  The course is reputed to be fast and boasts great credentials for producing Boston Qualifiers.  And, if you need the assist or discipline of a pace team – CIM has some of the best.

I intended to post on this event in the near future, but today received an e-mail update that says there are just 900 marathon slots remaining.  Clearly there is still time, but not a lot, to get an entry in place.

One day to go - Saturday Finish Set-Up

Apart from it being a very well organized event, it is quite amazing to approach the finish right in front of the California State Capitol Building.  Although it may not be totally unique, it is one of the few places I know of that has a separate women’s finish chute.  Despite my own first thought on the matter, this is totally the opposite of sexist!  Biology being what it is (sorry ladies) men run faster.  Not all men, especially not me!  Sadly though, too often high performing women will get “lost”  in a finishing pack of similar paced men.  With a separate finish, there is NO DOUBT when those women hit the finish.  And, there is no doubt that they get their proper recogntion.

Nothing is ever guaranteed when it comes to running.  All we can say is that this is a late year event that has real potential to put a fine cap to your racing season.  The rest is up to you, the weather and all the other factors that come into play on race day!

Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon and RITZ


Well, RITZ contributors, anyway.

We might as well start with me and get that out of the way.  I started and I finished.  Probably all you need to know about that!  Wasn’t my worst ever marathon, not even my worst Victoria, but it will find no place in my list of special events, except that it was a family affair with both my daughters running the half marathon.  I did learn you really should train for a marathon before you try to run it.

Herb Phillips came home in the marathon in a time of 3:06:06 taking M70-74 and for those who like age grading – first with a 90.38% performance.

Bob Dolphin was first in M80+ recording his 474th marathon, turning 83 just a few days ago and running his third marathon in something 4 or 5 weeks.  It would probably explain his time of 6:50:13.

BJ McHugh (not an actual contributor, but featured in RITZ) won F80+ with a time of 4:55:28 and she too is 83.  An amazing lady.  When I encountered her around 11km and asked how it was going, she just said: “Ask me when I’m done!”

Maurice Tarrant clocked 1:52:05 in the M80+ category of the Half

To my knowledge, no other RITZ contributors ran, but lots where around including Steve King (Race Announcer), Rob Reid (Chairman), Evan Fagan and Doug Alward.

The weather turned out amazingly better than predicted and certainly better than the competition in Portland where a friend asked if it was possible to get a duathlon score if you had to swim half the event.  We wuz lucky!

Congratulations to All!

Places to Buy Running in the Zone


For those who don’t know, Running in the Zone: A Handbook for Seasoned Athletes is self-published.  You can find a link just to the right where you can purchase online from the publisher, Trafford Publishing, and it is also available via Amazon and others.  However, some folks really do like to hold the product in their hands and flip a page or two before deciding.  These might be “Seasoned Readers”, so to speak.

Because the book is self-published, regardless of the high quality of the book (both content and physical form) we do all the promotion ourselves as well as distribution.  At present, books can be found for purchase mostly around British Columbia and largely at running stores.  From time to time, Steve or Dan will appear at race expo’s where you can not only buy a book but get it autographed, and sometimes not just by Steve and/or Dan but also by other contributors who may be in attendance.

Here are places where you should look for a hard copy of Running in the Zone:

Frontrunners (Victoria, Langford and Nanaimo)

Forerunners (Vancouver and North Vancouver)

North Shore Athletics (North Vancouver)

Raquets and Runners (Vancouver)

Run Inn (Vancouver)

Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon Getting Close


Close in more than one way! New participation records will be set by race day, which is now less than ten days away.  The Half Marathon is sold out. 

Elite athletes are lining up to take on the Victoria course and maybe even some records according to latest news from BC Athletics.

Be sure to watch for Running in the Zone contributors out there as well.  There will be at least four.  Steve King will be there again at the Expo and calling home the runners at the finish!  You might even get a welcome greeting from Rob Reid who likes to stand at the finish to welcome runners as they complete their race(s).