Race Review – Grand Manan 10k/Half Marathon

This past weekend, Nicola and I traveled to Grand Manan island where we met Rod and Jo and Mark and Bruce and Mary…well you get the picture and ran either the 10km or half marathon distance.

Grand Manan island is about 11/2 hours from Fredericton and and an additional 11/2 hours by ferry.


Swallowtail Lighthouse

We arrived a bit early, checked out our accommodations then went to the start line. The organization of the race was a bit fly-by-the-seat of your pants as everyone received their bibs at the start line, about 30 minutes ahead of time. The race was held to benefit the local Boys and Girls club but from most accounts the numbers were done this year sadly. The race was a point-to-point type with the half marathoners looping back along the same road.


The hooligans, Nicola, Rod, Jo and I.

The evening was a bit cloudy with a nice ocean breeze, perfect for running. We started out in a big pack except for a few rabbits and soon settled into our rhythms. I started out at about a 5:40 min/km pace but after a km or two I was running consistent 5:25 min/km. After a few km’s a few people passed me, including Rod and Jo but I was happy to run my own race, plus 10k’s can’t be won in the first 5km but they can be lost. I had a plan to run steady to 5km then pick up my pace.

At 5km I picked up my pace for about 1km then we had an extended, gradual uphill, the kind that saps your energy and drive, so I slowed my pace and continued to remain consistent. I passed Rod somewhere near here and eventually passed Jo as well, who was having a great run by the way, until I had 3 people in my sights. The road levelled out and I finally got in a groove with about 2 km remaining. Two of the three people in front of me started to run out of gas and I eventually passed them. With only one woman in front of me I ran straight and hard to the end, passing her right before the finish. My final two km’s were 5:01 min/km and 4:50 min/km…that’s how I like to finish a race!!

Grand Manan Run Garmin Connect Track

I watched as Jo came in shortly after, then Mark and Rod..I think, then Nicola and Bruce.

All had great runs with Nicola running a PB for 10km, so very proud!

While I was standing there cheering people on, the race director came over, congratulated me and gave me the medal for first pace male for 10km!


First Place!

What?! Really?!

This was my first, first place medal ever! And with a time of 52:40 I felt kind of sheepish but afterwards I thought, I raced who was here, that’s what mattered.

Jo won a medal for second place for the females so you know that we celebrated a bit later on!

We also received a participant medal and a cotton t-shirt with the Boys and Girls club logo on it plus a few snacks.

I snagged a ride with Bruce back to my car then retrieved my fellow runners and that signalled curtains for my first Grand Manan 10km race!

The course was scenic with ample water stations, which kind of went in contrast to the initial impressions but we all had fun, had great races and now I must return next year as defending champion!

One Foot in Front of the Other


Next Race: Kilted Run 5k July 24th

Race Review – Covered Bridge 5k/10k


Note: All photos from Covered Bridge Facebook page unless noted otherwise.

A couple of weeks ago my girlfriend Nicola and travelled to Hartland New Brunswick to run the 3rd annual Covered Bridge Run. If you are not sure what a covered bridge looks like here is a photo:


Hartland Covered Bridge, c. Chris Murphy

New Brunswick is home to many of these covered bridges but this one is the biggest in the world so it’s kind of a neat run. We drove to Hartland, which is about 11/2 hours away, following the Saint John river on the Saturday before Sunday’s race. It’s a lovely drive with very little traffic however the roads are a bit rough in places and there aren’t any picnic areas or rest areas along this stretch which would really highlight the beauty of the river. We stopped in Nackawic and tried a few craft beers from Big Axe brewery and also a bit further north than Hartland, in Florenceville Bristol at Railcar Brewery.


Big Axe Sampler, c. Chris Murphy


Nicola and Railcar sampler, c. Chris Murphy

We stayed overnight with our friend Stephanie and her wife Kathleen at Stephanie’s grandparents house. They were lovely people who made us feel very welcome and we enjoyed our visit immensely.

Sunday morning we ate a quick breakfast of oatmeal and then drove 15 minutes to the race start area. We parked on one side of the bridge then walked to the other to start the race. The bridge itself was closed to vehicle traffic giving us the rare opportunity to run across it on the road. You can still cross the bridge as a pedestrian as there is a walkway on one side. While waiting for the start we met a few friends of ours and then we were off. It was neat running across the bridge as you are totally enclosed and at some points the bridge bounces/shakes due to the weight. Kathleen, who wasn’t running, said that there was a sound that proceeded the runners down the bridge as a form of pressure wave, very cool!


Walking to start


Walking to start through bridge

We turned right off of the bridge then proceed a short distance out of town then turned back, we saw another friend of ours, who was running the race as well, ahead of us…what a popular race! Back at the bridge the 5k runners turned left and finished while us lucky 10k runner continued through the town then onto the trail system.


Scenic first 5k


Nicola ahead of me again

It was a warm morning without a lot of wind but the trails were shaded which was a bit of a break. The trail climbed a bit for a km or two then we turned around and headed back. We saw Stephanie motoring along as she was on the hunt for a PB but Nicola and I were running our own race. We cam back into town and were unfortunately told to turn at a spot which didn’t make a lot of sense and forced us to make an unsupervised road crossing to reach the finish which, didn’t affect our distance but was an error nonetheless. We finished, warm and sweat but happy to be done another!


Our girl Stephanie!


Nicola at the finish


Me at the finish

We cooled down with nice cold water, met Stephanie and a few of the other runners then walked a short distance to get a buffet style breakfast of eggs, pancakes, sausage, egg/veggie kabobs and french toast, very tasty and a nice touch. We wandered back to watch the award presentations and to see if we were door prize lucky but we were not. Happily Stephanie got her PB and was the second fastest female! One of our other friends, Diana, was the first place female, I hope that their speed rubs off on us!


The fastest female for the 10k, Diana!

We scooted back to Stephanie’s grandparents then packed up and headed home, another weekend of touring our province and running done. From the race we received a cotton t-shirt, a nice covered bridge magnet and a few other odds and ends.

I would recommend the race but would likely only run the 5k for my next time. It’s a locally held and organized race which wasn’t on the RUN NB site of sanctioned races which may have lowered it’s turnout but those who know, show up and run anyways!

Next Race: Grand Manan 10k/Half Marathon

Thanks for reading

One Foot in Front of the Other


What Is Important to you?

Yesterday, I learned of the sudden and violent passing of the 21-year old daughter of a friend whom I have know since primary school. My friend and I aren’t as close now as we were then but this loss has touched me.

21 years old.

Remember where you were 21?

What were your daydreams, your realities?

I, like most of us I guess, struggle sometimes with figuring out what is truly important. When I labour over a decision…and yes I really labour over a decision, I sometimes fool myself into thinking that I know the utility of this decision in the future.

This is of course absurd because our “control” is so limited, we live in a world with Billions of people, we can reach out and connect and add ideas and themes but the question then arises, what is important to you amongst all of that?

I think the answer changes, it ebbs and flows like a river, and like a river your constrictions change, your depth changes and who/what nurtures you changes.

I am currently going through a “I need less” period of my life, after having rumbled through a “I need more” period. I must confess that I really like the “LESS”. Whether it’s simplicity in my wants/desires or a greater awareness I am not really sure.

With age comes wisdom supposedly so I count relationships with family and friends, integrity, physical and mental health, knowledge and a certain level of serenity among my most important list.

I’m certainly not telling you what’s important, that’s completely up to you to decide but I will leave you with this final thought; go after what’s important right now, immerse yourself in it…

You won’t be 21 forever.

Big hugs to all