Published: June 21, 2017
BY JENNIFER PARSONS
“I have to pee,” says my friend “Energy” on Sunday morning while on board a shuttle heading up Pembina Highway. Beside me “Analysis” snickers while adjusting his gadgets and I, “Experience”, answer: “Imagine 14,000 people trying to take a pee at the same time. That is what we are heading towards.”
This past weekend was the Manitoba Marathon. Despite the dark skies Energy, Analysis and I were at the starting line before 7:00 a.m. for the half marathon event. Full race results for all local participants are on pg. 8 however we thought it fitting for me to detail some of our experience for those who may one day want to try their hand at a similar event.
Now distance enthusiasts will tell you that training is the real accomplishment and the event is just one more long walk or run. Try getting someone to believe that as surprise and terror overtakes them while surrounded by 4,000 strangers corralled at the starting line, all eager to get going, all too focused to jam to whatever power-pump playlist is blasting through the area. Not quite ready? Too late – You move when the crowd moves and when it moves, it moves fast.
The first kilometre goes by quickly as you dodge the elbows and knees of those angling for better position but by kilometre two the crowd has thinned and the initial burst has settled into a consistent rhythm. That is until the next wave comes through as the 10 km group has been released and it’s again a sea of Lululemon and Under Armour. Eventually you are on your own weaving through residential neighbourhoods not seen on your regular trips to Walmart or Costco.
We knew we were going to walk this thing and we had to accept early on we would be back of the pack. Which meant many racers passed us. This included kids and more than one grey haired gramma. One perk was getting to see full marathon winner Teresa Fekensa and Jeremy Walker eat up their 20th kilometre like they were out for a stroll.
As the kilometre markers became a memory we checked in often with Analysis on pacing, estimated finish time who would give us simple math problems to keep the mind busy. Energy would break out in a sprint every time she saw a group of spectators giving high fives and witty retorts to posters. We all maintain our time would’ve been better had we not have stopped for a beer or two and Irv’s mile (the last mile) was the hardest and longest one of all.
We also each agreed there were some important lessons learnt in both racing and in life:
1) Age and body shape does not dictate endurance and ability. Yes most tall, lean men run like gazelles but the judgment has to stop there. With training and mental preparation all shapes and sizes can get it done.
2) There are some great bottoms out there and its ok to openly look at the racers ahead. But just remember there is always going to be someone staring at yours as you move along or pass by.
3) It takes three attributes to be successful – Energy, Analysis and Experience. If you don’t have all three, find two friends and form a team.
4) Ask the first name of the Pace Bunny cause it makes you look less like an ass when you yell out “BUNNY” at her as she surprises you at the finish line. (That one may be race specific but still important.)
And you might want to pee before you go. Well done team!