Richmond Road Race Report–a PB is born!! Broken 40 Min barrier for 10K

Ah Richmond! You beautiful, inconsistent, never know what you are going to get race!


For those that have never raced it, Richmond Road Race is put on each January and never has the same weather twice. It’s a running joke that we love to start talking about in early December. But despite this, Richmond is a top notch small race with a big feel.

For starters, they have the local high school opened up for us. This means full access to cafeteria tables, change rooms, showers, bathrooms and ample space for everyone. It provides a very quick way to get out of the elements once you are done racing. After the race, we have an awesome lunch with warm soup, buns, fruit and a drink. The cost of the race is probably one of the cheapest around and the prizes excellent! For a race gift, last year a Toque (that I still wear) and this year running mitts!

I cannot say enough good about Joe Duvall and his crew that put this race on!



This year saw another interesting year. The weather had warmed and it had been raining .  Unbelievable considering 4 days before that we had cold weather and snow! It was about 2 degrees and foggy, so overheating was a real possibility and like the day before at the snow shoe race, I stripped down as far as I could go.




This was an interesting one, I had no idea what to expect because I had done the Somerstown snow race just the day before. I was a little tired and tight from that, so I really went into this race willing to take whatever my legs gave me. I decided early on, that I was going to go out as per normal and then fade as I needed to.

I went for my normal 2K warmup run and felt pretty good. I was watching my heart rate for signs of fatigue and didn’t see any real issues. Once the legs got blood flowing, they seemed to loosen off and I actually caught my first glimpse of possibility.

It’s no secret I have been chasing the 40 minute barrier on a 10K for the better part of a year,  so in the back of mind…I started switching from whatever I could get, to what I wanted to get. richmond2013

I lined up beside my friend Graham Ross. Graham is a great athlete and a bit of a mentor to me. We do tend to work really well together in a race because although we do compete, we don’t mind sharing the load as we move through the race. The gun went off ( or bullhorn anyway ) and we started out. After the first KM, I felt pretty good and the pace was staying around 3:50 min/km mark. I decided to stick there and Graham had the same idea. We were pretty much side by side as we turned out the highway.

At this point, my focus was actually less on my pace (and who was beside me) and more on my cadence. I’ve been trying very hard to boost my cadence at the advice of two physiotherapists. ( Shannon @ Podium and Francine at PSI ) So, in my ear, the recorded sound of a metronome chimed off a 180 step cadence. It’s not easy unlearning bad habits and relearning good ones, but it is needed to address some of the issues I have been having with my silly ankle. 

We turned down the “dodgiest” part of the race which is a dirt road that was slightly ice covered and pocked with holes. I become acutely aware of my surrounding and was very cautious about my ankle. Stepping in any of these holes could set me back months and I was a little timid. This was the first time I have ran without my brace in probably a month and could just see turning my ankle again. Soon enough, we turned off the dirt road and hit the highway again. Although wet, it was smooth sailing with just the fog to greet us.

We rolled through the 5K split at 19:40 and I called it out to Graham. I am not sure what he said…but he  might have mumbled something about “shutting up”…or “thank you”. Winking smile

At that point, it seemed a real possibility that we could hang on and break the 40 mark. Right around 7-8 K, my bad habits jumped out and and I felt myself sink back into my familiar over stride and lower cadence. I tried like hell to get it back, but gave up and just allowed myself to finish the race.

Graham and I continued to run beside each other up until the 8K mark when the road started banking. He was on the lower portion of the road and I ran on the higher side. It was here a small gap opened. He later explained that he tried to get up a little higher with me, but in doing so, allowed a gap to open up. Seconds count at the Olympics, but amongst friends they mean nothing in my opinion. Both of us of came in under 40 minutes (quite safely) and far better than the previous year!


Final Time 39:26 , 11th OA and 3rd in my age Category. 



Technical Challenge – 5 out of 10 ( pretty much flat )

Scenery – 7 out of 10 ( not really looking around much trying to break a PB )

Race Atmosphere – 10 out of 10 –

Probability to do it again –  Definitely

Somerstown Snowshoe Race Report January 13th, 2013.


Somerstown is a first year race in the Dion Snowshoe series.  It was held just outside Cornwall, which is a bit of a drive for me but well worth it. I have become addicted to this activity without a doubt!


Gilles Parisien did a great job at putting together this race and building a course that was both challenging and fun to manoeuvre. It went off so smoothly, it was hard to believe it was a first year race. As always, Derrick Spafford and his wife Sarah were there smiling and welcoming the newcomers to a sport that has literally become my winter addiction. Derrick the main driver behind this series in Ontario and also the dealer for Dion snowshoes.


The weather was warm, and the snow was beginning to melt which made the base a little mushy . If you have never ran on shoes before, to say you heat up quickly is an under statement. I peeled off as many layers as I could tolerate but some did go in their shorts.


My strategy from the start, was to try and get out front quickly so I did not get blocked behind. What I found in 2012, was that once you get placement, it gets very hard to change position. Having to overtake someone and step off the trail is not easy. It can quickly leave you depleted and anaerobic wondering what the hell just happened.

We started up the trail about 200 meters, which allowed room for us to file out before heading into the bush on the narrow trail. The race started and I managed to get locked into 6th place behind Chris Belair.  Chris is phenomenal athlete, and I set my sights on trying to stay on his heels the entire race. The pack separated quickly with some smaller climbs up front and some sharper turns. The top 3 guys pulled away early and I never really saw them again. Natasha Elliot, Chris and I stayed almost constantly in synch the balance of the race. It was tough, because at the back end of the course, there are a lot of up and downs with some corners thrown in. I’m not going to lie and say my heart rate was not pushing its limits a few times. But this is also what I come to expect from Snowshoe running.

More then once, I was questioning my sanity as I came down one hill just to turn and go up another. I believe there was profanity thrown in, and Chris made mention of it after the race. Winking smile 

Chris pushed me hard, but I managed to stay with him, and he held onto Natasha. We finished just like we started…Natasha, Chris and Myself. “4 – 5 – 6”

My final time was 44:52, 6th overall and 1st Male Masters.



Distance – 7.5K

Technical Challenge – 8 out of 10

Scenery – 9 out of 10

Race Atmosphere – 10 out 10

Probability to do it again – Definitely


Elevation profile from Derrick of Somerstown.



My Garmin profile – notice the elevation difference between my Garmin and what Derrick shows? What the hell suck!