On Sunday, September 8, Jesse, my friend, and I participated in the Coho Run 14k which starts at Kits Beach and ends at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver. The route runs along the sea wall, over the Burrard St Bridge, around Stanley Park, and over the Lions Gate Bridge.
We left Surrey at around 6:30 AM and drove to Ambleside Park where we were shuttled to the start line in Kitsilano. We arrived at the start line an hour early and killed some time at the conveniently-located Starbucks across the street before milling about the start line as my anxiety sky-rocketed.
After a First Nations blessing by Elder Audrey Rivers of the Squamish First Nation, we began the countdown and were off!
The sky was a bit overcast but we couldn’t have asked for better weather. The ocean breeze kept us cool and the views were amazing.
Jesse immediately left us in his dust and my friend and I progressed at a steady pace, as what felt like everyone slowly passed us.
The first bridge, the Burrard St Bridge, was a piece of cake. The sea wall around Stanley park was filled with park-goers, cyclists, and other runners smiling and cheering us on. I even got a couple high-fives!
It wasn’t until the hill to the Lions Gate Bridge that I really had to push myself. By now we were about 7 or 8 km into the run and I decided I just had to power up the steep incline. I left my friend who had encouraged me to go on ahead without her. Focused and dead-eyed, I passed the many people who were walking up the hill. I knew that once I got to the bridge, it wouldn’t be long before I could coast my way downhill straight to the finish line.
As I reached the apex of the bridge, there was no stopping me. I continued on at a fast pace down the bridge and along the waterfront. With about one km left, I was feeling drained. I knew it wasn’t much father but I wasn’t sure if I could keep up my speedy pace.
Just as I was slowing down, I saw someone in a yellow t-shirt a few hundred metres from the finish line. I realized that it was Jesse. I had not even thought that I might catch up to him. I full on sprinted to catch up with him, not sure if I could reach him in time.
About five metres from the finish line, I snuck up behind him and grabbed his hand. To which he promptly let go, leapt forward, and imitated a salmon by using his hands as fins. Leaving me with a “WTF?” expression on my face. Thinking that he was trying to beat me, I instantly leapt forward too (and almost into another runner)! Damned if I was going to let him beat me after all that!
If there had been photographs at the finish line, I’m sure that shot would have been priceless!
My friend ended up crossing the finish about five minutes after us. We all got some well-needed water, food, and coffee and decided to head home.
On the way, I checked our results online. As it turns out Jesse and I finished at exactly the same time, down to the second!