MEC Langley Race 5 – Williams Park 5k

This was run on Saturday November 12, 2016.  Why a Saturday ?

Windy, light spitting rainy day.  Lot of people running this one.  There’s a long hill in the first kilometer with an equally long descent, then a lot of flats.  Two dips, down to bridges over the Salmon River and then back up to level.  Then the last 500m was trail and grass/mud (very slick and mucky) and a steep STEEP uphill in the last 100m, with a sharp left and then a sprint to the finish line.

Framed, with a GREY background !

Framed, with a GREY background !

For some reason I was all nerves before this race, and I felt it in the first k.  Made it to about the halfway mark before I started rest intervals.  This did not feel very successful.  And with back problems last week I didn’t do a run since that weighted 1.6k on Nov 3.

But once again, MEC organized a really good race, there was a lot of snacks available afterwards and some free schwag, and they did well to get everyone checked in (there was no pre-pickup at the store).

So Race 4 was short by about 200m, this one went over by about 75m.

Under 29:00, that’s something.  Knew afterwards it wasn’t going to be a PR.  Endurance needs to be something I work on…

Looking at the official numbers … I ran a 28:26 for what they claim to be a 5:41 pace.  This puts me 12th place of 23 on the mens’ side :

This was a very strong field of runners this time out.  Even if I had pushed a PR, I’d only have moved up four rankings overall.

There were 65 women in the race :

Then of (23+65) 88 competitors, I came in 26th overall.

And it looks like MEC’s 2017 run series has ten (10) events !  Cool.



MEC Langley Race 4 – Campbell Valley Speedway 5k

This was run on Sunday October 30, 2016.  It was supposed to be October 16th but bad weather closed the course.

Unfortunately, there’s no “Race FOUR” poster to post here !

Cold morning, got to the Speedway around 8:30.  Strange place – a ‘forgotten’ sprint-car oval in the middle of a forest, only recently “rediscovered” and brought back into occasional use.

The morning, and the day on the whole, was very nice –  better than the rainy day before, better than the rainy day that Monday was going to be.  The course itself wasn’t all that great – the first (and last) 3/4 of a kilometer was forest trails, and I mean forest trails – roots and rocks and mucky spots, no pressed navvy-jack trails.  Got caught behind a couple runners and couldn’t find a way to pass for 100m or so.

And my Video iPod (b-day present 7-8 years ago, has all my music on it and my best playlists) decided to run dry halfway thru the second song.  And my lungs were not in the mood for this adventure.  So all told this was shaping up to not be any kind of winning effort.

It's already framed !

It’s already framed !

There seemed to be a lot of confusion on this course.  The half-marathoners left at 9:00, the 10k’s at 9:15, and the 5k’s at 9:30.  I think at least 5 people in each class went off-course; in some cases just a wrong turn quickly corrected, in others a much, much longer delay.

For most of the course there was a woman in a Batgirl costume (day before Halloween, remember) who was pushing a decent pace.  I fell in behind her, usually within 6-10 ft until I’d take a 20-30 sec resting walk interval, then resume running and catch up.  Well, as we finished our loop and doubled back on our original track, she was ~100m ahead and going down a hill out of sight.  I didn’t see her again for the rest of the race, which at that point was about the last 1.5k.

I cross the finish line (the race started and ended on the oval racetrack) and am standing these about 4-5 mins later when I see Pace Batgirl again – but she’s running in from the finish-side of the oval, and crosses the finish line from the wrong side.  Turns out, I overhear, she was following another runner who turned the wrong way at a fork in the path, and they ended up doing an extra 2k loop before stumbling back onto where the finish line was !

Sounded like more than a few people missed the turns.  It seemed marked well enough, I thought – orange pylons ‘blocking’ the wrong way, if not volunteers pointing the right way.  Allegedly there was a water station for the 5k’s but I don’t recall seeing it, just hearing a mention of it from a volunteer at the point on 216th where the 10k’s went right and the 5k’s went left.

Oh, and the organizers’ generator crapped out for 5-10 mins, deflating the finish-line arch as people were coming in, and raising fears that the chip-times would be lost (they weren’t).

The MEC races seem to draw a friendly, easygoing crowd.  And given the race is $15 (for 5k’s at least) and not for ‘points’ or prizes, no-one has much reason to be irate.

Well-organized as usual, from the ‘front office’ side – MEC even phoned me on Oct 15th to inform me the race was postponed.  Their e-mails were very informative :

Hello runners,

Good News!

Race Four Campbell Valley has been re-scheduled for October 30th.  If you have not already returned your race package, please return it before package pick up on Saturday, as we will need to re-assign bib numbers. We are also allowing runners to transfer their registration to Langley Race FIVE on Saturday, November 12th, with a 5K and 10K option in Williams Park if they are not available next Sunday.

Who loves Halloween?  We do! Show off your running friendly costumes on race day with us!



Race Four is fast approaching, so here are a few tips and reminders for the Campbell Valley Run.

Package pick-up is at MEC Langley on Saturday October 29th from 9am – 4pm or at Campbell Valley Park on Sunday October 30th from 8am – 8:45am.

To access the start/finish area, take 208th St. south from 16th Avenue.  It is a dead end road, but go to the very end and there will be a lane that takes you to the Historic Langley Speedway.  Because of the high fire risk, cars must be parked on the pavement of the Speedway.  There is NO parking on the grass.

Start times are as follows:

Half – 9am

10K – 9:15am

5K -9:30am

The race is chip timed and the timing chip will be given to you at package pick-up.  The chip is to be worn on your shoe.  If for any reason you don’t do the race, the timing chip must be returned to the store.  Results after the run can be found at:

The route is on a variety of surfaces.  It is a combination of pavement, single track trail, horse trails, and foot trails.  There are some areas where you may encounter equestrians.  Proper etiquette is that you WALK past the horses and avoid any sudden movements.  The local community has been notified about the run however we are sharing the trails so please be considerate.

There will be one water station for the 5K, three for the 10K, and six for the Half.

There are washrooms at the start/finish,  and a washroom close to the 10K turnaround which the Half Marathoners will go by twice.

Stick around at the finish line for some refreshments and cheer on your fellow runners.  It’s pretty cool that in the middle of a beautiful big park there is this historic Langley Speedway.

Thanks for participating in our event and for your patience while we re-scheduled.


Kara Power

Mountain Equipment Co-op


As to the outcome – the course was actually 4.8k, not a full five, so this throws matters off a bit.  What the Garmin GPS shows is this :

27:23 on an incomplete 5k, with a lousy pace of 5:44 min/km.  Which I get; there were a lot of walking intervals in there, out of necessity.  It’s a time under 28 mins, tho.  And in the last ~150m there was a 5k runner coming up behind me, on the oval.  I shifted ‘outside’ to give him the inside track, not wanting to be rude.  As he pulled alongside I realised we weren’t that far out from the finish, so I apologised to him and turned on the jets, sprinting in the last distance (Lap 19, above).

Looking at the official numbers, I ran a 27:18 for what they claim to be a 5:26 pace.  This puts me 9th place of 20 on the mens’ side :

And considering the top finishers of the 38 ladies who ran it :

Then of (20+38) 58 competitors, I came in 16th overall.

Next event, Nov 12th.


Rugged Maniac, August 13 / 2016.

Mud Angels and Demons, 2016 crew

Mud Angels and Demons, 2016 crew

We’re back at it again this year.  Me, KH, FT, and MP joins us while on his visit here from Ontario.  CM and AT weren’t with us this time, nor was CB who’d joined our team then injured himself a month ago and had to bow out.

Here’s the course this time around :

RM 2016 Course Map

RM 2016 Course Map

Changed some stuff up, wisely moved ‘Beam Me Up!’ out of the indoor arena with the invitation-to-death concrete floor.  We ran at 10am, which was smart given that it got over 30°C by 2pm.  Thankfully we were done around 11.

In the mud, under the barbed wire.

In the mud, under the barbed wire.


Ringer - made it halfway across this time !

Ringer – made it halfway across this time !





...into the wash.

…into the wash.


Good times, yo.

Good times, yo.


Let's do this again in '17.

Let’s do this again in ’17.



MEC Langley Race 3 – Runway 5k

This was run on Sunday July 10, 2016.

Felt pretty good going into this one.  Some pre-race nerves, to be expected; and I made a full-dose, two-scoop, 400-mL ON Amino drink, only to manage perhaps 150mls of it in the hour before race time.  And two PURPLE K tabs about 45 mins before.  Didn’t bring my iPod, not sure if they were ‘allowed’, but others had them so it’s something to remember for Race 4.

Weather was just about perfect; breezy, overcast, warm enough but slightly chill.  Odd for July, but it was also early.  10k left at 8am, 5k went at 8:15.  Perfectly level course, a long loop for the 10’s and a cutback at the 2.5 mark for the 5’s.

This is the first time MEC has done the ‘Abbotsford Runway 5/10k’ but it seemed well-organized.

Very happy with my outcome.  Only walked briefly, 2-3 times for 15-20 sec each, in around the 4km range.  Passed a lot of people, only passed by 3-4 others in the 5k set.

Garmin GPS data said this :

Recorded short 250m intervals to get a sense of my progress over time.

My official time was 27:10, as shown here :

…putting me in the middle of the pack for the Mens’ group.  Womens’ results :

So of (16+40) 56 competitors, I came in 17th overall.

Very pleased.  Next 5k, in October.



MEC Langley Race 1 – Langley City 5k

This was run on Sunday March 6, 2016.

Have been anxious about this one for a couple weeks now; worse in the days leading up to it.  Went for a simulation run last Sunday (here) and it didn’t turn out so well.  I don’t run mornings so it’s an adjustment I will have to make for future events.

This race was under indecisive weather; it was cold and windy and pelting rain up until almost the start (10k went at 9:00, and 5k left at 9:15) and then it was just grey and on the chilly side.  Which, actually, isn’t bad conditions under which to run.  Just hurt to discover that the clockwise route I was expecting was, in fact, a counterclockwise route.

Which is not significant unless you know the route.  203rd street south from 53rd avenue is one long, gradual uphill.  Not a bad one, wouldn’t rank against the stretch of 208th street from 96th avenue south to the Freeway, but still a hill in the last 2km.

Because...ASCII ?

Because…ASCII ?

Stayed running all the way to the corner of 53rd avenue and 204th street, where I walked the length of the water station, then found myself needing 6-8 more brisk walking breaks between there and about 200m out from the finish line.  Nerves were really draining me, something I’ll have to work at in future.

That said, happy enough with the outcome.  Here’s what the Garmin GPS said :

My official time was 28:45, as shown here :

21st out of 45 male 5k runners.

There were 86 women running the 5k as well, and 28:45 would have put me in 16th place on that side.

So of (45+86) 131 competitors, I came in 36th overall.

First officially-timed race !  Now to train for the next one.