Archive for March, 2016



       The Sandcastle Classic 10K was a perennial feature of the Lower Mainland running scene. The race itself, in one form or another, has been around since 1983, or coming up on  34 years. It has been hosted from the start by the Semiahmoo Sunrunners and Walkers. Over the years the course has changed a bit (OK a LOT in the last couple of years). But, that is life. Part of the recent change has been to move from starting in South Surrey and finishing on the West End of the White Rock Beach, to running the entire course within the confines of the City of White Rock.

Change continues and we (I am a Sunrunner) believe the latest change is going to please a lot of people.

The 10K is dead!   Long live the 5K!

Anyone who knows anything, knows that White Rock is actually VERY small in terms of its physical footprint. Those same ‘know-it-alls’ will also be well aware that there is a whole lot of up and down in White Rock, steep up and down. Finding a 10K route without any of said ‘up and down’ is near impossible.

Over the hump and turn-around already in sight (and Mount Baker, too!)

Over the hump and turn-around already in sight (and Mount Baker, too!)

HOWEVER, the Sandcastle 5K Route, out and back along the beach only involves a couple of modestly significant bumps and a gorgeous view of Boundary Bay from end to end. The new course runs the length of Marine Drive from West Beach to East Beach and back, finishing where it starts.

Organizers are super excited about this change and are pretty sure the running community is going to be too. The price is a bargain at $23 including BC Athletics fee and just $20 if you are a competitive member of BC Athletics. The change has been in the works for a little while, but announcements had to await City approval and we are all thrilled that White Rock has embraced the race and given the permit needed to run Marine Drive. If you like water views and funky restaurants and shops,  you are going to LOVE this race! Even though there will be plenty of post-race refreshment, you may want to plan a brunch along the beach before returning home. You’ll be glad you did!

I caught up with the all new Race Director, John Makepeace. Here is what he had to say: “We are excited to offer what we expect will become one of the most popular events in the LMRRS roster! A Sunday morning run along the White Rock beach front just has to be a great way to start the day.”

So, when does all this happen?  June 5, 2016!  That’s when.

You will want to check out the other details at the Sandcastle Classic 5K web site. Registration is open now.

Historically, the Sandcastle Classic races have drawn some top level athletes and a lot of others who just know a good thing when they see it!  The 10K event records (as far as I can determine) are:

Men: 29:34  Warren Barker (1995)

Women: 33:02 Nancy Tinari (2003)

Notable participants include: Carey Nelson, Leah Pells, Jim Finlayson, Nancy Tinari, Tina Connelly, Oliver Utting and probably a number of others from the earliest days, the results of which are still in a dusty old file box somewhere. Man, it was so easy to check the more recent electronically timed races!

But, as one of our race committee pointed out, there are no records for the Sandcastle Classic 5K!  Those 10K records are all water under the White Rock Pier!  That is right. There are going to be a whole bunch of NEW records set on June 5th!  Overall for men and women. Masters, and every age group will have a new record!  Now if that doesn’t get your competitive juices flowing, probably nothing will!

Post Race Awards and Prize Giving at West Beach

Post Race Awards and Prize Giving at West Beach

This is going to be a family-friendly event, even if it is Race #6 in the Lower Mainland Road Race Series. The course will be open long enough for most people to walk the 5K distance as long as there aren’t too many stops to take in the awesome view or snap ‘selfies’. (Remember, as much as those restaurants have great offerings, they will be open all day, so no stopping along the way for a bite!)

Post-race crowd enjoys awards ceremonies.

Post-race crowd enjoys awards ceremonies.

We expect this to be a competitive challenge for those so inclined, but also expect to appeal to a lot of people who just enjoy running, run/walking or even walking great courses and supporting local events put on by local people.

Even coming from downtown Vancouver, it is an easy Sunday drive, and while in the interest of green-ness, you may want to car-pool a bit, you can enjoy free parking until noon in the lots near the Start-Finish. The race starts at 8:30am with package pick-up and even race day entry from 7:00am to 8:15am.

And don’t forget in these days of Social Media, you can find the Sandcastle Classic 5K at:

Facebook: Sandcastle Classic 5K

Twitter: @Sandcastle5K

And of course at the Lower Mainland Road Race web page as well as the Sunrunner web page.




Although it may be obvious to some, and I do mention it from time to time, this Blog is based on the book: Running in the Zone: A Handbook for Seasoned Athletes.

Steve King and I put a lot of work into developing the concept and then finding the 24 other contributors who provided the content, along with the two of us. It was an amazing labour of love and we were, and are, very grateful to all those who provided their perspective on what it means to be a seasoned athlete. Steve and I are co-Editors but we also wrote more than just our own particular essays on the general topic.

About Half of the Contributors, Victoria, BC at the official launch.

About Half of the Contributors, Victoria, BC at the official launch.

The 26 contributors range from avid runners like myself through Olympians and World Record holders, and everything in between. There are Marathon Maniacs, ultra-runners, marathoners, middle distance runners and sprinters, on road, track and trail. There are professional writers and those who may never write this sort of thing. That was where the editing skills came in. For the most part, I assisted contributors to get their contributions whipped into shape while trying very hard to keep their personal voices very much in the writing. Steve, as you might imagine was the guy who knew everybody and brought a large proportion of the contributors to the table.

Cover Layout (design by Danielle Krysa) including book reviews.

Cover Layout (design by Danielle Krysa) including book reviews.

For me, it was an amazing experience getting to know these people and working with them to polish up their contributions. We only had a few ‘rules’. For the most part, we just said keep it within a range of total words and keep the topic to running as the years roll on. We wanted various perspectives on how people kept their running fresh and fun, but otherwise there weren’t a lot of directives. For what it is worth, I more or less try to follow the book format with my blog posts, with respect to both length and general content.

It was such a pleasure and even a bit of a revelation to see how many approaches there were to running once one is in the ‘seasoned’ category. At one point we had our own idea of what ‘seasoned’ was (age-wise) but eventually, let people bring their own definition. Let’s face it, for elite athletes, Masters territory generally falls under the heading of ‘seasoned’. As it happened, the youngest writers for our book were 46 at time of writing. I have since met some remarkable senior runners who hadn’t even started running at the lower end of our age spectrum. I would also point out that many of our contributors have their own books or are/have been publishers of running publications. There are a LOT of race directors and organizers among us as well. We’ve got coaches and mentors. Many give back to the sport as well as running for their own pleasure. I would love to ‘name drop’ a little here, but it wouldn’t be fair to those I don’t mention. I deal with a fix for that a little later in this piece.

Steve King X2 (from Penticton Herald)

Steve King X2 (from Penticton Herald)

I was just a little shocked when I realized Running in the Zone (the book) was released just over 10 years ago at the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon in 2005 (see the photo at the top of this article). I still can’t quite believe that. Still, the ideas are as fresh and relevant today as they were when the book first saw the light of day. What makes it so? I think it is probably because there were only a couple of ‘how to’ oriented pieces and even those were kept in context. Most of the writing was around how running fit into any of the authors’ lives and how each felt about it. I am still in regular contact with a number of these writer/runners and don’t think much has changed. If we asked them to do it again, I think that in broad terms, we would get a lot of the same subjects and content.

Since writing this book, I have met quite a number of ‘seasoned’ athletes and others fast joining the ranks, who I might have invited to join us were we just starting. It seems like there are common themes among us that hold true. When we were done with publishing of the book, I sent out a small survey to the contributors to get some stats and perspectives. One of the questions I asked was “Why do you run?”. Virtually every person responded to me with one form or another of “Because I love it.”

Because I love it. That took many forms, but the essence was that most everyone could not imagine their lives without running as a part of it. Not everyone was going fast, certainly not as fast as they once did, but they were still getting pleasure and fulfillment from whatever kind of running they were doing. Some were still very competitive both in spirit and performance, but some were just doing it for their own benefit and not trying to prove anything.

Co-Editors, Dan and Steve, working the Expo (BMO Vancouver Marathon, 2007)

Co-Editors, Dan and Steve, working the Expo (BMO Vancouver Marathon, 2007)

I seldom ‘pump’ the book regarding sales. We never wrote it to make money. Steve and I used to make appearances with the book at Race Expos and had a great time talking to people while selling a copy or two. I have had lots of feedback from people who did buy it and read it, and it is pretty well always positive. One of the great things about it is that it is not meant to be read cover to cover, or even in order, as presented. You can read what appeals to you today and come back another time for something else that is clicking at that point. And, it is not the opinion (clever as such might be) of just one, or even two individuals. You get the ideas of 26 individuals.

You may be wondering about the contributors I keep mentioning and what they decided to talk about. Well, if you are reading this you must be on the Blog Site, so you can just go over to the right side of the page and click on “About” or better, “A Peek Inside the Covers” where you can find a reproduction of the index which will show you the Who and What of Running in the Zone: A Handbook for Seasoned Athletes.

When we started out the book was available as a soft cover traditional printed form. Since then, it has been offered in e-format and it seems a fair number like that version. Of course, you can still buy either format via Trafford Publishing, as well as other on-line sales sites like Amazon. Or, if you happen to know Steve King or me, well, we will be more than happy to sell direct. And, we will autograph the book for you (probably a given, unless you stop us). If you get it right, you might be at a race where both of us are on hand. If it is one of several, such as the Vancouver Marathon or Victoria Marathon, there will be a good chance that at least a couple of other authors may be around too and you might get them to sign as well.

Rod Waterlow CIM Finish - 3:54:44. Final part of regular report series.

Rod Waterlow CIM Finish – 3:54:44. Final part of regular report series.

From time to time, book contributors have offered something here on the blog, and I am certain there will be further such contributions coming in the future. One or two have generously allowed me to reproduce articles published elsewhere. I have also been thrilled to have had the chance to invite other ‘seasoned athletes’ to contribute their thoughts to this blog, or in one case provide a series of brief reports and updates from an important event.

It was so much fun to write/edit this book and I know many have had the pleasure of reading it over the years. If you think you would like to own a copy of Running in the Zone: A Handbook for Seasoned Athletes, we would be humbly honoured.