Last night (9:00pm) I competed in my first 10k. In a nutshell, it went all my way, though if I could script it I would change the final 500m into the chute.
Summary: 1337 entries spread across 3 principle classes: 5k walk, 5k run, 10k run. On top of those events, there was undisclosed number of folks on the course in a 1k "fun run", some of whom comprised an entire Little League team of nine-year-olds. It appeared fun for them, especially the first 800m or so. I will get to them in a minute.
Results: 22/360 OA, 1/16 in AG! Gun time was 44:18
The event was well-orchestrated and a great atmosphere was stirred up by the good weather, big crowds, blaring music, and city hall fountain spilling over with bottles of water & Gatorade. Our wave went off on time, and outside of weaving past some poorly self-seeded sluggards in the first few minutes I had a great time testing my efforts at running by feel alone.
All went well from there until the final stretch, within earshot of the P.A. system blaring from the finish line. I had turned up the wick as much as my knees, lungs, and legs would allow, and just as I launched my way past the aforementioned Little Leaguers jogging on their 1k fun run, their coach hollered, "Let 'er rip, guys!" The tykes took off like they were told there was a swimming pool filled with ice cream just up ahead. I was swarmed by little humans suddenly running as fast as me but with more unpredictable trajectories. Added to that, as if on cue, their Little League motors ran out of gas a few hundred metres from the line, so we adults were faced with side-stepping them as they peeled off for hugs and premature Freezies.
It was a challenge, and laughable all the same - this grey-haired dreamer striving for a shiny new, irrelevant Personal Best time all the while trying to keep from stepping on a swirling, screaming cloud of yellow garden gnomes. Bottom line is I think everyone had a blast and none of us tripped over the other.
The predicted rain sportingly held off until near the end of the awards ceremony - in which I won a free gait analysis & pair of shoes from a local orthotist - and I happily made it home before 11:30pm to have a proper dinner. (Amazing how much it throws off pre-race nutrition when one's event starts some 12 hours later than it normally might!) I maintain the reason I won is not because there weren't enough fit, talented competitors, but because many of them likely succumbed to the temptations of a regular supper before the event...