I wanted to write this post as a recap of a great day on the trails, but also as recognition for the awesome race directors of the Run for the Toad race in Paris, ON (Canada). This race has a 25km and 50 km distance held in the Grand RIver Conservation Authority’s Pinehurst Park on Sept 29, 2012. Today there was an organized training day on the marked course, with aid stations, and food/drinks at the finish line. Runners had the option of doing 1 or 2 of the 12.5 km laps that make up the race.
I was glad to have this opportunity. I had never been to the park where the race is being held, so the trails were a total unknown to me. I knew I would be much more comfortable after seeing the course first hand, and that it would be help me to know what kind of training I would need to do, as well as what a reasonable finishing time goal will be.
The day was great. The skies were overcast, but we had no rain even though it was in the forecast. It was humid but not too hot with the sun blocked by clouds. Lots of people were out to enjoy this great day on the trails – I heard it was upwards of 400. I was amazed – it felt like a real race with that large group! The course was awesome – it definitely squeezes every climb/descent it can out of the park property. Apparently there are 31 climbs over the lap, which will be multiplied by 4 for those racing the 50km like me. There were a couple of aid stations on the course, and it was all marked out perfectly. I ran 2 laps to get one of my long runs in for the week and to get as much experience on the course as possible. I left feeling much more comfortable with what I will have to do between now and September to be ready for my first 50km.
I haven’t even run the race, but after today I already feel a sense of gratitude towards George and Peggy Sarson (and all of their volunteers, sponsors and others). Listening to George speak before the training run kicked off this morning, I couldn’t help but be excited by the passion he has for this race. Before I signed up for this race I did some reading about it online, and a recurring theme was how well racers are treated at this event. George spent the whole morning thanking people for being there and making it a great race. I told him that we had the easy job, and that I was thankful for all of his hard work. It not only benefits the runners, but also the Grand River Conservation Authority and their Pinehurst Park venue. Before we headed out on the course Montrail/Mountain Hardwear (race sponsor) presented a donation to the park, along with a few others. No doubt there will be more money flowing before race day. I was also told that George spends countless hours throughout the year developing and maintaining the trails used for this race. From what I can see, it definitely seems like a win for everyone involved.
After today I am even more excited to participate in this race, and appreciative for Race Directors like George and Peggy Sarson. Its a great experience being able to participate in races put on by such passionate people. Thanks!
By the way, if you’re wondering why this race is called “The Run for the Toad” (like I was), check out this link for some more interesting info on George and Peggy!