Going Long

Hamilton Road to Hope Marathon

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Garson - Sudbury,ON,Canada

Member Since:

Apr 20, 2013



Goal Type:


Running Accomplishments:

I ran my first marathon in 1998: "The Friendly Marathon" in Massey, Ontario.  I was 32. I had never raced in a shorter event, and I trained really poorly - ended up running it in 4:00:30.  After that, I gave up running for the most part for 6 years.  I got into karate a bit more seriously, until I got my knee kicked out and had ACL surgery.  Then I became a 'fair weather runner' and started to run half marathons every so often.  As a priest, entering weekend races always meant having to book a holiday, so it just didn't happen much.  My holidays were primarily focussed on various canoe and kayak trips.

At some point, I started training more consistently, and started to think of myself as a runner.  I guess doing that in your 40's is better than never doing it at all.  I even started to wonder if I had it in me to qualify for Boston.  Well, I did - twice.  First time didn't count, I suppose, since I didn't make the "cut".  But the second time was a charm, and on my sixth Marathon, run in Chicago in 2015, I beat my BQ by almost 6 minutes.

Through it all, I've made tons of mistakes - and have had lots of injuries to show for it.  Hopefully, now that I'm in my 50's, I'm a bit wiser and can use that to my advantage to continue running for a very long time.

My PRs:

5k (11 run):      Guelph, ON.     October 10, 2016   (50 yrs.)   20:10

10k (9 run):    Collingwood      October 5, 2013  (47 yrs.)  43:37

Half Marathon  (22 run): Cleveland   May 18, 2014  (48 yrs)  1:33:08

Marathon (8 run):  Chicago       October 11, 2015   (49 yrs.)  3:24:07

Ultras (4 run):   

Run for the Toad 50k Trail   September 30, 2017 (51 yrs.)  5:31:23

Niagara Falls 100k   June 17, 2018 (52 yrs.)  12:26:30

That Dam Hill 24 hours   September 15-16, 2018  Completed 100 Miles in 23:20:44

Sulphur Springs 50 mile Trail   May 25, 2019  10:37:27

Click for Options

Pacing my sister in her 1st Half Marathon.

Short-Term Running Goals:

The Disney Dopey Challenge in January, 2019.   That was fun

Sulphur Springs Trail Ultra (50 miles) in May, 2019.   That was muddy

The Haliburton Trail (100 Miles) in September 2019.

A1A Fort Lauderdale Marathon in January 2020 (qualify for Boston)

The Toronto Marathon in May 2020 (qualify for Boston).  A maybe.

The Sinister 7 Trail (100 Miles) in July 2020 (big maybe).

125th Boston Marathon on April 19, 2021.

Long-Term Running Goals:

Run until this old body of mine won't let me run any more.  I was inspired in the Spring of 2016, watching the start of the Ottawa Marathon.  Near the back of the pack was an 'old man', running with his walker.  I loved it!  I thought ... there's me in 20 years.  Maybe.  


I am a Roman Catholic priest of 25 years, ministering in the Diocese of Sault Ste. Marie.  I spent 8 years ministering in the small town of Wawa (where I helped establish the annual Blackfly Run) and 9 years in Sault Ste. Marie.  I have been in the Sudbury region now for 8 years.  Currently I Pastor 2 small Parishes:  St. John the Evangelist in Garson, and St. Bernardine of Siena in Skead, covering the area just Northeast of the city, surrounding the Sudbury Airport.

Favorite Blogs:

Miles:This week: 14.00 Month: 95.00 Year: 1241.92
Mizuno Wave Sayonara 2 Lifetime Miles: 270.00
Brooks Cascadia 11 Lifetime Miles: 167.50
Triumph ISO 3 Treadmill Lifetime Miles: 371.00
Saucony ISO Triumph 4 Lifetime Miles: 140.00
Total Distance
Mizuno Wave Sayonara Miles: 26.00
Weight: 0.00
Race: Hamilton Road to Hope Marathon (26.2 Miles) 03:28:08, Place overall: 190, Place in age division: 30
Total Distance

I nailed it! Got my BQ. I just got home a short while ago.  Here is how it all unfolded:

On Friday, I drove the 6 hours from home to Hamilton.  It was snowing hard, windy, icy.  Just a miserable day.  I had decided to not run that day.  On Saturday, it was very windy and rainy.  I ran 3 miles on the treadmill.

On Sunday, hurray!  The sun was out - not a cloud in the sky.  It was -3C/27F at the starting line, and it got up to about 7C/45F by mid-day.  So, it was cold, but nothing I was not used to, and great for running.  The only problem was the North wind which was gusting up to 33km/hour or about 20 mph.  I was a bit concerned about that.

Just over 1,000 runners in the Marathon.  The closest pacers to my goal time were 3:15 (too fast) and 3:35 (too slow).  So, I knew I was on my own for pacing.  I placed myself just behind the 3:35 pacer and ended up passing him on my 1st mile.  I did everything right leading up to this re: nutrition and hydration.  I didn't know how my body was going to react, so I just made up my mind to follow my game plan, start off slow, and hopefully pick up the pace later on.

The wind was out of the Northwest, and the 1st mile headed North and had pretty much the steepest and longest hill of the entire course (up).  After that, we turned East for about 5 miles (mostly flat, with some rolling hills), then South for 1, and then back West into the worst of the wind for the next 6 miles.  This was mostly flat.  At the halfway point, we entered the expressway and ran North on it for about 3 miles, all downhill.  Then on the off ramp and a tricky mile through some steep climbs and descents for just over 1 mile.  Then, with just over 8 miles to go, we ran along the water and some residential streets into the wind, and then did a turn around with about 4 miles to go.  This was with the wind and was a welcomed relief (although by now, the wind had mostly died down).  At this point, we caught up to the slower half marathoners and that made for some tricky spots when they were walking 2 or 3 abreast.

Okay, my splits.  The 1st 6 miles were bang on pace:

7:50  7:52  7:49  7:48  7:54  and 7:47.  My main concerns coming in were my right piriformis and my left hamstring.  So far, I had no pain.  In fact, my piriformis was not an issue at all during the race.  The hamstring - well, stay tuned.

The next 7 miles were into that wind.  Boy, did it feel bad!  My splits:

8:01  8:01  8:06  8:01  8:04  7:55  and  7:54.  There were no timing mats at the halfway point, but at 13 miles I was at exactly 1:43:00 - basically on pace.  The biggest problem was a side stitch on my left.  I had not had one of those since training for Detroit a few years ago.  It happened as soon as I turned into the wind around mile 7, so I don't know if it's because of the extra strain and effort.  But it was soul sapping I can tell you!  Between that and the wind in my face, I was convinced that my BQ was over.  In fact, I wasn't sure I'd even finish at this point.  If someone I knew was there along the way, I'm pretty sure I would have stopped and rode down with them.  I know that attitude sucks, but man, it hurt.  It wasn't full on pain yet, but I figured it was just a matter of time.  I decided to just keep running until the pain made me slow down or stop.  The only thing that gave me hope was that my pace was not quite as bad as it might have been, and knowing that the downhill section would give me a boost.  I was hoping to make it at least to there.

Well, I don't know how or why, but after running with it for 5 miles, the stitch just faded and went away.  And never came back.  That was a boost for sure, but around mile 12 I started to feel my left hamstring.  It wasn't in the same place as during training (behind the knee).  No, it was a bit higher up.  But definitely hamstring, and the pain was sharp, rather than dull.  So, my brain got all negative on me again and I figured it was just going to get worse as I went.  It didn't, but rather it would go away and then it came back 2 more times during the race, each time worse than the time before.

However, now I was on the downhill section.  And even though the wind was against me, I figured now was the time to make up for the lost seconds on the upper half.  My downhill splits were:  7:41  7:28  and  7:55.  I was actually surprised they were not faster.  I'm sure the wind factored into that, but maybe the hamstring was playing on my mind also.  Still, better than what I was running the previous few miles.

The ramp off the highway led to a dirt trail with some tricky hills.  Really did a number on the quads.  These two splits were:  8:10  and 8:32.  I was obviously not impressed, but I also had expected they would be slower here, and so it didn't throw me off.  Plus, I was now 8 miles from the finish and, despite having gone through another hamstring incident, I was cautiously optimistic now that I might BQ.  

It's not fun running AWAY from the finish line, and the wind was still a bit of a challenge, but I was SO looking forward to that turn around.  These mile splits were:  7:48  7:59  7:58  and  8:12.  Four miles to go.  Wind at my back (even though it had pretty much died down at that point).  And that darn hamstring REALLY got sore at that point.  Just keep running.

My last four mile splits were:  7:53  7:57  7:54  and  7:36.  I ran the final stretch in 2:08, which was a 7:14 pace.  I gotta say, it wasn't until I could see the finish line that I was actually convinced I was going to do it.  Seriously - even with just 1 mile to go, I wasn't sure I could do it.  It was hurting.

I crossed the finish line knowing I had done it though - man, what a feeling!  I slowed down and went to stop in front of a volunteer to get my medal, and I'm glad he was there - my legs just gave out, and he caught me.  Weird feeling.  They just would not work for me for a few minutes.  He was great however - walked me to the food tent and another volunteer sat me down and brought me food.

There were a lot of turns and curves in the course, and I really tried to run the tangents.  Overall, I did pretty good in that department.  My GPS showed me having run 26.29 miles, which is not bad.

So, I beat my Boston Qualifying time by 112 seconds.  That would have been more than enough this year (98 seconds) and next year (62 seconds).  I'll have to wait almost a year to see if it's enough to get me in for 2016.  

190/1044 Runners;  162/517 Men;  30/98 in my age group.

And a big "thank you" to Tom K for your interest and support along the way!



Mizuno Wave Sayonara Miles: 26.00
Weight: 0.00
Total Distance
Mizuno Wave Sayonara Miles: 26.00
Weight: 0.00
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