Race Reports

Vulture Bait 50k

It was mid-October and the Ontario Ultra Series was coming to a close for 2010.  I have had an incredible year, completing bigger goals than I ever thought possible.  All I had to do was finish the two laps around Fanshawe Lake in order to capture the prize for Top Male, Under-39 in the series. 

I was starting to feel like I could run a bit harder again after struggling through the last couple races after the 100-miler.  I knew my body was a bit beaten up, but I thought I would at least try to better my time from 2009, about 4:31’. 

The trails around the lake were in great shape, and the weather was beautiful.  I really love running in the woods in the fall. 

I started off running with John, who had been running lots of fast miles with the SDCI Cross-Country team throughout the fall and was ready for a fast 50km.  All was good for the first lap, and I thought I had a pretty good chance of a 4:15’ finish. 

Somewhere around 37km, my quads started to cramp up really bad.  I was forced to slow down.  I told John to go on ahead, since he was still feeling quite strong.  I took several walking breaks, to try and alleviate the cramps, but I think my legs had had enough. 

I lost at least 25 minutes of time on the last 10km of the route, but was able to muster a shuffle to the finish line.  My official time was 4:46:56”.

I was a little bit disappointed in how I finished the race, but glad that I made it to the finish, and was able to celebrate my accomplishment at the Awards Banquet that followed the race.  It meant a lot to me to receive the plaque for winning my category, along with a really cool hat that I wear proudly. 

Afterwards, I calculated that I had run 619km, just in the ultra series alone in 2010.  I knew it would be hard to top that, if I ever decided to do it again. 

As I looked back on the year, I couldn’t help but feel grateful for all the great people I have met through the OUS, as well as all the supporters I had, cheering me on with all of my running goals.  There is no way I would have been able to do it all on my own.   

Run for the Toad 50k

I had been looking forward to this race for a couple years, since it is such a well-known and popular trail race in Ontario.  I had no idea when I registered back in March, that I would be fresh off of running 100 miles.  I was comforted to meet a few other runners, such as Ken Moon, who not only ran Haliburton, but also the 24-hour indoor race in Ottawa only a week before Run for the Toad.   

Going into the race, I knew I would not be running any fast times, I would be happy to finish.  I figured I could just chat with some of the regulars and try and let the miles pass, without thinking of how tired my legs were.

It was a cool October morning start for the race.  Good temperatures for running, but as the race progressed, the rain started coming down, making the course a very slippery mess in many parts.  Since I was running fairly slowly, I started to get quite cold in the rain.  I pushed my way through, using all that character I had built earlier in the summer.

The course was a nice blend of single-track, grass, asphalt and gravel.  Only when it got wet and muddy, did some parts become quite challenging (relatively speaking). 

As I ran and talked to a few different runners, I soon realized that this race has become a popular token trail race for many road-running regulars.  It was interesting to see the very different cultures of serious (road) marathon runners mix with the pretty easy-going/hardcore community of ultra-runners (I consider myself somewhere in between).    

I finished in 5-hours, 13-minutes and 40-seconds. 

I was happy to be done, and to be able to warm up a bit in the post-race tent.  Run for the Toad did an excellent job feeding everyone and thanks to Tim Horton’s for supplying fresh coffee to keep us warm. 

I ate my post-race meal in the company of some of the regular OUS runners, who were starting to feel more like my running family, after such a great season together. 

I knew I wasn’t going to be anywhere close to winning any awards, but I figured I better stick around for the draw prizes.  I t was a good thing I stayed because my name was pulled out of the hat for a brand new pair of Montrail running shoes!  That seemed to make the whole experience a little more worthwhile. 

While walking back to my car, with barely functioning legs, I somehow managed to get lost.  I was shivering a fair bit by the time I finally found my car.   Even with the heat cranked in my car, it took awhile for me to start to warm up. 

The details are a little fuzzy, but I’m pretty sure I passed out for a nice long sleep once I got home that day.  I will hopefully return someday with fresher legs and a more positive spirit to tackle the Run for the Toad. 

© Brian Groot 2020