The 2016 ENDURrun has come to an end. Sunday, August 14th, was the 7th and final stage: the marathon.
The race started and finished at the same park in Conestogo where it all began one week prior, but the course was not the same. The ENDURrun marathon course is a 21.1 km loop that takes you from Conestogo, through Bloomingdale, Kitchener and Waterloo, back to Conestogo, run twice.
I arrived at the park around 45 or so minutes before race start, stowed my bag under a picnic table, said hello to various runners and volunteers, signed in, got myself ready, and lined up at the start. I spoke with Mark McDonald about potentially running with him, Alexandra, and possibly a couple of other runners, who were looking to finish in around 3:30. My arbitrary A goal was 3:30, but I would be perfectly happy with 3:30-anything. I lined up near them, but when the race started, they seemed to shoot out from the line. I wanted to ease into this race, not crash and burn. I did not want to be pushing this early. I ran the first 4 km fairly easy and slowly got myself into the pace range that I wanted to be in for the bulk of the race. Around 10K into the race, I started passing a few people. From 13K on, I was on my own.
I crossed the half way point in 1:46:00. I was hoping to maintain the pace I was running as I crossed half for the second loop, but at around 24K I could feel painful blisters forming on a few of the toes on my right foot. I think my shoe had gotten wet from throwing water on myself at a couple of the water stops. These blisters were very difficult to ignore and I started playing mental games to get myself to the next water stop (they were placed every 3K) and then I would allow myself a very short break to grab a drink and to get a bit of relief from the blisters.
Around 30K, I felt like I was really slowing down and was thinking that this race was going to go downhill rather quickly, but by 34 or 35K, I no longer noticed the blisters and was back to running around or just under 5 min per km.
The final 3K of this marathon, I was feeling great and ran well under 5 min for each of them. As I ran up the final couple hills up Northfield and was about to turn the corner to the finish, I knew that I was going to be finishing under 3:35. My official time was 3:34:04. My second loop was 2:04 slower than my first, which isn't ideal, but is definitely not too shabby considering the giant puffy blisters I found on my feet when I removed my socks and shoes.
It was great to talk with everyone about their marathon, their week, their journey, to share a bit of pool time, socialize over eating much delicious food, and then to share in everyone's success at the awards ceremony. This year, there were 38 finishers of the Ultimate division of the ENDURrun. A group of 38 people who shared a journey of however many steps it takes to run 160km.
The overall win for the week went to Rob and Angela. Mark Meyers and myself placed second, and Kyle and Hunter placed third. The Rookie awards (fastest time by a first time finisher) went to Patrick Voo and Hunter Kelly.
Full Cumulative Results.
For the sixth year in a row, I have truly enjoyed this week of racing, cheering, socializing, and comradery. It truly is an event like no other.