I didn't get to bed until after 1 AM Saturday morning, yet I was up before 6 AM. I think I was just anxious or excited to have the weekend get underway. While waiting for some of the others to wake up, I walked around Baddeck a bit, grabbing a coffee and a newspaper. Gradually some of the other guys got up, and a few of us had breakfast. Mark, Greg and I headed out to leg 2 to catch Bernie in action. See him looking cool in the picture below.
We missed Norm's finish on the first leg, but he did quite well. We chatted with some folks at the leg 2 finish area, waiting and waiting for Bernie, until we realized he had already finished and was relaxing in the van with Norm. Larry then did the first of his two legs (he would also do leg 13 at 2 AM the next morning).
The next leg, the fourth, is one of the best. Runners beginning this leg can soon see the intimidating climb up Cape Smokey. The crowd support on this leg is great. See a picture below of the water support for this leg: the team was selling "fresh legs". As the top of the mountain is reached, many are hitting banging rocks on the guard rails, adding to the atmosphere. Darren, from Truro - who likes to fish for bass in the Stewiacke river in the spring - took on this run for us. He did a great job.
Phil took on the next leg. He approached it the way he does most things - all smiles. Here's a picture of him getting some support from Mark.
As for leg six ... well, it provided for some interesting times for the team. That's probably all that needs to be said for that leg. We got a late and fast recruit for the seventh leg, before Betty did a super job on leg 8! While Betty was running, I decided to head up to Cheticamp with Norm and Bernie to catch a few hours of sleep before my run the next morning. As we passed Betty, she looked very strong.
I can't comment much on legs nine through twelve, since I was sleeping or preparing to sleep. Greg stepped up and did two legs - nine and eleven. Nine is very tough, and eleven is not a piece of cake either. Pierre took on the hilly 10th leg for the second year in a row, and Pat did great work on leg twelve.
I woke up just as Larry was starting leg thirteen, his second leg of the race. Norm and I headed out in my van, providing support to him. It was dark and cold during the run, but the atmosphere was still electric. Norm and I got to the leg fourteen start, waiting for Larry to finish. I was freezing! When we met Larry after his run, he said not to worry about the temperature, and he was right. Within a minute of starting, I didn't even notice the cold. As for the run, I probably got a bit caught up in the excitement and went out too fast. I definitely did not have a negative split. The run itself wasn't too hilly, mostly just a series of rolling hills. It was interesting to start the run and see nothing but a line of reflective vests in the dark over the horizon. The sun started to come up just as I was running past Margaree Harbour, with stiff winds coming off it. I finished the run with an overall pace just slightly slower than my half-marathon pace in Fredericton two weeks earlier. I can't say I was thrilled with my time, but it was an exhilarating run and experience.
Peter took off on leg sixteen next, and he flew threw it, finishing 6th. Norm and I supported him, along with Wayne, and he looked very strong on his run. Wayne took on leg seventeen, and tried to temper people's expectations about his result, letting us know he hadn't trained much this year. Even with that, he did a bang up job, just like a good captain!
At the end of this leg, many people were relaxing and taking in a pancake breakfast. Among the relaxed participants were Mark Campbell and Jodi Isenor, pictured below. These two amazing guys ran the whole relay as as two-man team.
Mark wrapped up the weekend by taking on leg seventeen. The finish of this leg is wonderful - hundreds of people lined up along a road in Baddeck, welcoming each runner as they approach the finish. It's a fitting way to end the race.
After that, the wrap up meal and awards at the rink, with the most efficiently served steak and lobster dinner you could ever imagine, followed by the long drive home, with reflections on the great times during the weekend, and talk of taking it on again in future years.
3 days ago