Monday, 29 September 2014

Oasis Zoo Run 10K Race Recap


I was asked to run this race for a friend who was not able to run and I gladly accepted the bib. The race take place at the Toronto Zoo which happens to be right around the corner from my home. This is a very popular race in Toronto as it has races for the whole family and at the end of the races, most family stay and enjoy a day out at the zoo.

We were having my son's birthday party the same day of the race, so I knew that it was going to be an in and out kind or race for me. It took me only 10 minutes to get to the zoo and I had loads to time to spare. It was an 8:15 start for the 10K runners. Parking was plentiful and race volunteers were eager to help guide us into the right spots. I prepared all my race essentials in the car and headed to the start line which I could see from my car.  It was a cool Saturday morning, so I had decided to run in a long sleeve, but in the end I realized that this was a big mistake.

I recognized a lot of runners from the local run clubs wearing their singlets. Two in particular were right by me when the gun went off. They joked about running and exchanged some very humorous banter once we were off. I was going to try to keep up with them as for as long as I could because I knew that they were speedy dudes. Between trying to not laugh and not tripping over my feet, I felt like I was starting off at a steady pace. The race starts inside the Zoo and takes you out off to some back roads and back into a scenic loop through the Zoo grounds.

This was my first time running this course and was told that the course would get slightly hilly as we entered the Zoo and they were right. I was keeping a steady pace and hoped to finish under 55 minutes. The two jokers that I was running with at the start had taken off after the 3 kilometre mark. I tried to catch them, but every time I got close they would dash off. Once in the Zoo property, we were greeted with the animals as well as the many friends and family that had come to cheer on the runners. At this point we were running on the Zoo paths, which didn't allow for more than 3 runners across, but was never crowded because of the corralled starts. I settled into a comfortable pace 5:30. I reached the 5km mark at 26 minutes. I was feeling pretty good and was looking forward to a decent finish.

I ended up chasing the same few runners. We would pass each other at different parts of the race as our paces were fairly close.

My running group 
I chased the girl beside me for the last 3 kilometres of the race. She motivated me to run faster and it was very healthy competition to get me over the hills. I looked down quickly at my watch at 8km and I was just under 42 minutes. I knew I would not get my sub 50 finish, but pushed onward. The finish line came quickly as it is around a quick turn and down the finishers chute. I was happy with my finish. I finished ahead of the girl that I had been running with in the photo and she came up to say hello afterwards and we congratulated each other on a great race. 

Overall, this is a wonderful race. It was a great course that attracts many runners. We were able to watch the elite runners including Canadian Olympian Eric Gillis loop us, but totally humbling to see them racing in the flesh. The post race party is well organized with many sponsors and volunteers out handing out goodies. If you have children, please bring them. It's a great day out for them. They had jumping castles among other activities to keep them busy. There are races for the little one as well dubbed the "Cub Run" and for parents that want to run with their babies, there is a stroller run option. After the race, you can spend the day checking out the Zoo.

Results 
 
Time -  52:51.4
Pace - 5:18
Category Place -  31/275
Gender Place - 163/1556




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