Last year this had been my PB 8K course and where I'd received my first OMA Road Series medal. I hadn't expected to better my time this year, but since so many friends had signed up and it was the selected OMA 8K race once again, it was an easy choice to add to my calendar.
I've now learned that the more races you register for, the higher your chances are of injury within that season. Just kidding (sort of). As race day approached I kept flip-flopping on my ability to possibly still race. Looking back with 20/20 hindsight, I am so glad I didn't. Instead I decided I'd go to cheer on my friends, help them out as well as snap photos. I considered trying to give away my bib, but after having a quick look at the race website and not finding any info about transferring it, I figured I'd just keep it as this would mean I would still be able to eat some of those yummy post race cookies!
We coordinated an elaborate car pooling plan for race morning and seven of us were soon on our way in two car. We scored a prime parking spot near the school and I promptly gave Allison, Maria and Kate the low-down on where everything was (including the washroom that only has a line up in the last 10 minutes before the race start--shhh!). We collected our bibs intending to also collect Leanne, Erik and Michelle's. We scanned the list a couple times. No Michelle Clarke. I'm so glad I kept my bib! After a quick transfer at the registration desk, Michelle now had a bib! She kept thanking me and I kept saying it of all people it was an honour to have her use it when I couldn't.
After hanging around the school gym (I love this part of the race) staying warm, we headed out to the start behind the bagpipers. Ed Whitlock's son was there to start everyone on their way. Ed had been at the race last year, one of / if not the last races he was at before passing away.
After snapping some photos in the start corral, I made my way to the zone ahead of the start line to snap some photos of Krista DuChene, Mary Unsworth and other speedsters. Alan Brooks was there as well as Edison snapping a million photos for each that I took.
It's quite something to be on the sidelines when everyone passes at a race start. So much excitement, so many people, and then--NOTHING. I wandered over to the deserted finish line where volunteers started getting medals ready. Karyn and Dan were spectating as well, and we chatted with Alan about the recent Houston marathon and made predictions based on his very accurate calculations on when the first male and female would round the corner to the finish. The sun was out and I wasn't cold even though I wasn't running. We'd joked earlier about it being the nicest Robbie Burns weather ever and that there were going to be a lot of overdressed runners out there.
As I stood with my camera at the finish, I saw many familiar faces as they approached the finish. My throat was definitely sore later that day from cheering! My friends all looked incredible as they ran those steps across the finish mats. I snapped a few more group photos and we made our way inside for snacks and awards.
I was so glad I was there to see Maria receive an age award! She, as well as Leanne and Mei received top results in the OMA Road Race series. I am so glad to have more friends in the medal race with Michelle and I!