The competitive fury of the 5K

I gotta give props to the organizers of the Spring Honda Fun Run.

I gotta give props to the organizers of the Spring Honda Fun Run.

It’s a pretty ingenious idea to get people out doing some healthy exercising through an event that also raised money for a great cause—the ALS Society of B.C.

It’s also appealing for the two distances of 5K and 10K; the shorter distance is manageable for the newly initiated while the longer course is great for the tri-hards.

I opted for the former, as I don’t have what is commonly referred to as a runner’s physique.

In point of fact, I am very much the opposite of tall and slender.  But I digress.

I ran in the same event last year (my first 5K ever), so I had an idea of the physical demands. However, I had trained more last year, which obviously makes a difference in the results and the post-run recovery.

Despite my lack of training this time around, I showed up on race day at Moir Park prepared to punish my body for a good cause. I was even looking forward to going up against some of my coworkers, which would serve as motivation.

No one wants to be the slowest runner in the office.

However, to make a very long story short, I was apparently the only one to sign up for the 5K, and I was on my own.

Oh well.

You couldn’t have asked for a better day as members from Core Fitness led a warmup and everyone gathered at the start line.

Most participants were decked out in proper running attire, while others had T-shirts with touching tributes to family members who had been diagnosed with ALS.

After a quick countdown, we were all sent on our merry way.

I lingered toward the back of the pack at the start because I didn’t want to see everyone passing me right off the bat.

After all, I have a fragile ego.

Once the pack thinned out a bit, I was able to hit my stride.

Everything went well as I plodded through the first half of the race and reached the 2.5 km turnaround point.

Then I noticed a couple things.

I recognized that a colleague who works at a different media outlet was ahead of me.

Being the lone Daily Townsman member in the 5K (disclaimer: another employee was in the 10K), I now had my motivation.

Whatever happened, I had to beat this guy.

I don’t know exactly why I had to, but my competitive juices kicked in.

This media colleague, who shall remain anonymous, is taller than me though, with a long stride. For every step he took, I had to take five.

Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but not by much.

While we were locked in our (or simply my own) personal little competition, I noticed something else.

There was a father-son duo ahead that was going at a pace just quick enough to keep us from closing the gap.

The little guy was young too, under 12 years old, and he was doing a great job to keep up with his dad.

And they both had matching Spiderman T-shirts, which was awesome and a little intimidating, because I certainly don’t have any superpowers to tap into.

Maybe this says something about my nature or my personality, but my competitive switch flipped again, and I vowed that I wasn’t going let this kid finish in front of me.

Remember that fragile ego?

Anyway, my media colleague and I eventually caught and passed them, though I was constantly looking over my shoulder.

As we neared the the finish line, my opponent opened up a pretty big gap.

By that point, it was more of a mental exercise than a physical one, as I willed myself towards the end.

I put my head down, pumped my arms, and picked up the pace.

I don’t know why I was so determined to finish ahead of this guy, but again, the explanation probably involves bragging rights.

And ego.

I caught him probably 100 metres before the finish, and kept up my pace right until I made it across.

I’m the first to admit that my competitiveness probably interfered with the true spirit of the event — after all, it’s supposed to be a fun run. I guess I could chalk it up to years of playing sports like hockey, soccer and tennis, where there is usually a winner and a loser.

However, if I can do my part to help raise money for a great cause by running five kilometres, then the end result really doesn’t matter.

Nobody loses when it comes to that.

Trevor Crawley is the Sports Editor of the Cranbrook Daily Townsman