For those crossing the finish line at the Times Colonist 10K event on Sunday, the painful gratification was obvious. Hands grasped firmly at clenched and heaving abdomens. Legs quivered and stumbled as some runners fell into the arms of organizers or friends.
For Simon Stacey, 11, of Cobble Hill, he quickly noted his time and jogged onward to the refreshment tent before meeting friends on the lawn of the legislature.
More than 12,400 people children, parents, grandparents flooded the streets of downtown Victoria on Sunday in one massive test of endurance.
On a day when everyone is considered an athlete, there were as many individual goals as there were entries. Some wanted to outright win the race; others walked it. Some wanted to beat their personal best times; others brought strollers and introduced a new generation to the second-largest run in Canada, now in its 23rd year.
I had a little bit of training runs at school. We do it each Monday and then theres school runs every Friday, Stacey said about his preparation for the race that he made look easy. I was trying to pass this one person [who] my friend wanted to beat I got him at about the 1K mark.
Stacey finished in 42:06, well under the 49-minute goal he set for himself.
His dad, Rob, came in at 48:53. Muscles in his legs were cramping after the race because his training had consisted of just one 3.5-kilometre run.
I may have to train a bit more, he said, after catching up with his son.
Ally Martindale,13, ran her first 10-kilometre race when she was 11. She says she has since entered about four, maybe five races.
Ally trains and competes alongside her brother, Aiyden, and dad, Brian. She sets the pace while Aiyden and Brian run with her. On Sunday, she beat a personal best with a 45:39 finish.
Its a lot of fun, she said of the Times Colonist 10K. Theres a lot of people, so you push yourself a bit more.
Staceys dad had a similar experience when he saw a runner dressed in a pot leaf costume.
You see him and you think, if I cant beat the heavy smoker, somethings wrong, Rob joked. So I passed him pretty quickly.
Lorraine Grennan, 59, has run more races than she can count, including marathons and triathlons. The Langley resident finished Sunday at 51:08 and is preparing for the Vancouver Marathon next weekend.
Doing 10K races is a way for her to stay competitive. The provincial capital is also where she qualified for the Boston Marathon back in 2008.
Victorias tremendous to come to for races, she said. You cant beat the routes. Theyre fabulous and [the organizers] put on a good race.
Keith Reid of Kelowna completed his third race in two years at age 65, finishing an impressive eighth in his age group with a time of 48:43.
I got started a little late, he said. Today, my hips survived, but Ill be sore tomorrow.
The less-competitive participants walked, inline-skated or pushed children in strollers. But even among this group, there were those who pushed themselves to speedy times.
Guy and Calico Chartier of Powell River timed out at 1:08:24, an impressive time considering they pushed their 17-month-old son, Gabriel, in a stroller.
Its getting serious. I think were bumping up the competition for next year stroller riding, Guy joked.
They did several similar runs when they lived in Singapore, but never while pushing a stroller.
Hell be old enough soon to join us on the run, Guy said.
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