The day started out beautiful and sunny – not hot for me in the chair (hence my extra layers) but warm and comfortable provided the sun stayed out from behind the clouds!
This was our first ever race in the Advance Mobility stroller through myTeamTriumph Canada. Because of this wonderful charity, we had the chance to do something I had never thought possible – run a 10K race, together with a team of people. I was super excited!
Friends of ours from church had gotten up before dawn to drive down together with us to Toronto. Janel and Elijah had committed to running with my husband Trevor, and Carolann was set to crew!
We met up with the myTeamTriumph folks in a little parkette just off of Yonge St., and just north of the start lines. We could hear the music blaring, and see hundreds of people moving towards the start line in their fluorescent orange shirts. The energy building, we loaded myself and the other team captains into our chairs, took some pictures, and headed off to the starting line!
The race organizers had insisted that we start with the last wave of runners, because of the strollers, but we knew we would go out faster than the walkers and parents with small children in tow, so we lined up at the front of our wave and in the end the starting director waved our teams through a few minutes early, and we were off at 8:50 am.
The first few minutes of the race were pure bliss! A wide-open Yonge St., with no runners for most of a kilometre (they had gotten a five minute head start) meant a smooth start to our run.
A few minutes in and we had come up to the back of the crowd, and the real work began. Now my runners had to weave me between the other racers as we overtook pretty much everyone we came up to. The guys would take turns with each person pushing for 500m intervals, and the other two running just ahead and on either side as ‘wing men’ to clear a path. We were moving along at a wonder 5 min/km clip!
Then, just after the 2km mark, as we were doing a handover, Janel caught his foot on the edge of a huge pothole and went down – hard! We paused to help him up and bring him over to the side of the road, but it was obvious that his race was over for the day. His shoe was split, the knee of his pants was torn, and within moments his ankle and foot were swelling.
Though we were devastated to loose him, we called Carolann and relayed our coordinates, and a race volunteer stayed with Janel and he waved us back into the race.
Now Elijah and Trevor had to amp up their game. The guys continued to rotate back and forth as we entered back into the melee of the race. We found that with only two runners it was harder to find a path through. After a few minutes we realized why – this race hadn’t banned headphones, and almost all of the runners were lost in their own world! No one was expecting a large stroller with two strong runners to come barreling past them, and it was difficult to get their attention.
That being said, a teenager on a mission is hard to ignore, and Elijah soon found a way to make a path through the crowd.
We zigged and zagged down Yonge St., took the turns at the bottom nice and wide and finally merged with runners about our speed as we crossed onto the bottom of Spadina and down under the Gardiner to the finish line!
A beautiful day, and a beautiful first race!!