Race Report – Valley Harvest 10KM

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Over the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend I ran my second to last competitive race of the year at the Valley Harvest race weekend in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada. As the namer suggest it is harvest time this so there are plenty of farm markets, farms and orchards to explore and to find fresh produce. The colours of the leaves are also beginning to change which adds to the draw of the race. I grew up in this area and went to university here so for me it is always a treat to be back.

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Apples anyone?

Along with the scenic courses and harvest atmosphere the race always has good swag and really provides good value for your race dollar. This year, all runners received a blanket and a light shell in lieu of the standard race shirt. Of course each finisher also receives a medal and the design always seems to be thoughtful and harvest themed.

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Jacket, blanket and medal

This year, 2015, the race held extra meaning for me, five years ago, in 2010, I ran my very first race there, also of 10km. I had just started running consistently in the summer of 2010 and decided to run my first race at home, with sister and brother-in-law also in attendance; i ran the 10km in 1:09:38.

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My first race in 2010!

This year I had hoped to go sub 50 minutes as there are really only two hills to contend with and the weather is usually conducive for good times. Realistically I had not been putting a lot of effort into my running recently, having only run 85km for the month of September…but I was planning, regardless, to give my top effort. My girlfriend Nicola was also running the 10km, it was her first time at this race.

It was a bit cool the morning of the race with a bit of a north wind and cloudy. For us east coast runners it was almost just right, especially once you started running, you wouldn’t notice the slight chill. I ran the first 5km in just over 26 minutes but was choppy with my strides, the 10km has a turnaround point just past the 5km mark and it was there that I noticed the front runners coming back, with their much more flowing, elongated strides that I realized that I needed to relax and be more efficient with my running. So I lengthened ,my stride a bit and used more of my muscles rather than just the turn over rate. i ran the last 5km about 20-30 seconds faster than the first 5km, so I ran a negative split but not quite the one that I would have preferred, finishing in a time of 52:01…If I had only kicked a little sooner ūüėČ

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Final turn

Even though I didn’t hit 50 minutes I actually was pretty happy as my sister and brother-in-law both finished their half marathons and Nicola ran a PB of 2 minutes for her 10km…she’s getting speedy yo! Personally I was ecstatic to see that I had run this 10km around 17 minutes faster than 5 years ago, not bad for a guy who’s actually getting older ūüėČ I’m realistic that it is unlikely I’ll maintain this type of improvement level, I am encouraged that slowly but surely I’m improving my fitness and technique, becoming a more efficient and stronger runner.

Valley Harvest 10km Garmin Track

My only complaint with this race would be the gym where we gathered after the race smelled TERRIBLE! Honestly it was nausiating and this will need to be addressed for future events.

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Our friend Kate, myself and Nicola

Overall I highly recommend this race, good value, good swag, harvest time in the valley and lots of distances to choose from; they offer a 50km ultra as well. I would suggest that you make this a goal race and then enjoy some time at the local wineries and the local harvest.

Thanks for reading

One foot in front of the other

Chris

Last race of the season: November 7th, Run the River 5km

Benjamin Bridge Fall Trio

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As a member of the Benjamin Bridge winery wine club, based in Nova Scotia, I receive 4 shipments or “trios” of wine per year: a spring, summer, fall and a winter. Each “trio” contains three bottles of wine and a description of the wine and a suggested drinking period. The wines are normally a mixture of commercially available wines and small lot wines made specifically for the club, not available in stores.

Normally the winery has a bit of a release party where you can have a few snacks, meet some people and pick up your wine for free at the winery. Sadly since I live in New Brunswick I have not yet has the opportunity to attend, however you can nominate someone to go in your place, enjoy the festivities and of course pick up your wine. For last months release I sent my parents who seemed to enjoy themselves, I then picked up my wines at Thanksgiving.

The Wines

For the fall trio this year I received a 2011 sparkling rosé, a 2009 Brut Essence and a 2013 Cabernet Franc. The package resembled a suitcase with a handle and the the wines individually packed which made for a nice touch and will be useful for carrying wines in the future.

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Sparkling Rosé

A small lot wine but commercially available, this is composed of 43% Pinot, 42% Pinot Noir and 15% Chardonnay.

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Brut Essence

A club exclusive, this is an unusual wine¬†for BB as it is crafted from 75% L’Acadie and 25% Vidal.

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Cabernet Franc

Another club exclusive, 100% Cab Franc.

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Most of these wines have a suggested drinking period between now and 2019 so I expect a few nice evenings in my future with friends.

Of course you can check out the BB club and all of their wines at their web site Benjamin Bridge Winery.

Cheers, thanks for stopping by.

Chris

Race Report – Liv9 Fall Classic

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This week I’m not reviewing a race from the point of view of a runner, rather from the point of view of a committee member. This was my second year of participating on the committee for the Liv9 Fall Classic in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada in the guise of handling the communications and social media.

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Our race is held towards the end of September and has been for 33 years. We hold a 5k, 10k and half marathon as well as a 3k middle school challenge to help promote activity in the schools.

2015

This year the committee had to overcome many problems; our title sponsor was bought out by a bigger company and they no longer wanted to support our race, city construction and mother nature rendered our normal route unusable and the preferred alternate unavailable, and the Harvest Jazz and Blues festival changed their dates forcing us to move from our normal weekend further causing us to have to find a new home for our race kit pick-up.

Title Sponsor

Our previous title sponsor, Accreon insurance was bought out by an American company and thus communication with our usual contact was spotty at best. This caused us to get a very late start on finding a replacement sponsor which was quite difficult because a lot of businesses had already committed their budgets for this year. Thankfully, over the summer a local company, Liv9 nutrition signed on as our title sponsor.

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Title Sponsor

Course

Oh mother nature! Torrential rain caused a portion of our normal course to become washed out and the city was already underway with construction on a portion of the preferred alternate trail so we had to become creative with our route planning. We incorporated more of the trails on the south side of the river which increased the complexity of directing the runners.

New Start/Finish Line and New Logo/Medals

In for a penny, in for a pound right? Since we were changing so many things we decided to also change where our start/finish line would be and also our logo and our medals. This aspect of our event actually went pretty smoothly, we agreed on a design, still had the medals made in New Brunswick and most of the technical shirts arrived on time, less one box.

2015 Fredericton Fall Classic Medal w Ribbon(1)

New Medals

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Our Start/Finish Area – Government House

Race Kit Pick-Up

The Harvest Jazz and Blues is a huge festival in Fredericton which normally occurs a week before our race so there isn’t a conflict, however this year they changed their dates causing our normal event weekend to be in conflict. Once we pushed our event back a week we discovered that the normal venue that we use to hold our race kit pick-up and modest expo was already booked. We eventually settled on a more unique location at the Cultural Centre which honestly gave us more room and more of a parking area and was closer to the start/finish line.

The actual day of race kit pick-up went well logistically, there was lots of free parking and no one complained about not being able to find the venue. Aside from the above mentioned technical shirt snafu the merging of two databases caused problems when one of them didn’t actually have any size data for the registrants. The volunteers had to reconcile this information when they handed out the bibs to the participants. The gym that we were in was very spacious and we received numerous comments positive comments on the venue.

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Race Kit Pick-Up Venue

Race Day

The weather of the day of the race was foggy but otherwise worked out perfectly with cool temperatures and light wind. Set up went well and the half marathoners went out at 8:30am without issue. The 3k middle school run at 8:45am was when the trouble started. The course for this race had always seemed to be confusing to a lot of people. Sadly, even with a lead biker the runners cut the course off much too soon and only ran about half of the distance. Many parents were not happy and the idea of a re-run was not advisable due to 3 other distances running the same course and possible confusion (more) at the turn-around points. The 10k and 5k races went out and came back without issue and most of the anecdotal comments from the participants pointed to a lot of PB’s and a scenic course….however the half marathon course was discovered to be 300-400 metres short so the records that a few runners had turned in could not be accepted.

One pretty fantastic thing happened at the end of the race. One 10k participant was really struggling running her first 10k race, in fact all of the other runners in all of the other races had finished. When our volunteers heard that she had 1.5km left about 12 of them ran out to meet her and walk/run her in. The scene at the finish line was one of good will, happiness and triumph. Your race is nothing unless you have quality volunteers and I am happy to say that our race has them year after year.

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Itrat Ahmed and her escort


Personal Comments

These comments are strictly my own and do not reflect anyone else on the committee or organizers.

I felt this year that the committee needed more oversight or at least somewhat of a heavier hand, especially with so many race changes. Tasks were changing seemingly up to almost the very last minute, which I understand can happen but as an example the organization of the volunteers was transferred to the assistant race director 2-3 weeks before race day! The lack of a course director and at least 2 course marshals was a HUGE oversight and the problems, especially with the 3k race, were predictable and avoidable.

Overall Impression

In spite of the committee, the race was an overall success, our numbers were up and people were raving that it was a fast, scenic course. I think that the race succeeded to the level that it did in large part due to the volunteers and the work of a few very dedicated committee members and not the committee as a whole.

I will not be back on the committee next year, not due to the problems this year, but due to the fact that my work schedule will not permit me to participate to the level that I feel will be required; I had already made this decision ahead of the race. I do hope that the suggestions that I will put forth in the wrap up meeting will be taken to heart as the race could be a favorite of runners in the early fall schedule.

As always

One foot in front of the other

Chris