A fun 10k run, racing against Port Alberni’s No. 7 Steam Train

LP1010923Last Saturday, about 30 racers lined up alongside Port Alberni’s steam train or a 10k race! Yes, really! It’s a fun race, organized by local runner and physiotherapist Brian Callender, modelled after a race in Australia. The conductor lined up with us, and counted: “On your marks… get set…” and then “toot toot!” The train’s whistle sounded, and we runners took off, as the conductor took off in the other direction, back to his engine, and started chugging forward.

Kevin the conductor sets out the challenge.

Kevin the conductor sets out the challenge.

There were some very fast runners in the group! I was quite impressed by both the number and the quality of runners who turned out.  We were taking roads, mostly alongside the train’s route, to run the 10k (uphill, with 150 m of elevation gain) to the train station at McLean Mill. There were two places along the way where our path crossed the train tracks. Brian warned us that most of us would make the first train crossing, but the second (on the uphill) would be harder. Flaggers were posted at the crossings – if the train was approaching, and the flagger put up their stop sign, we would have to wait until the train passed.

We ran along 3rd, alongside the river. I pushed harder than I normally do running (that’s why I like to go long – you have an excuse for being a slow runner!) and Dave went at my pace, since he is mostly resting his legs in preparation for his upcoming Ironman (swim then 180k bike and then a full marathon!). We were both still fatigued from having run our 60k only 6 days before. So those are all of my excuses for why we only barely made the first crossing ahead of the train… and didn’t make the second crossing!

Running along Kitsuksis Ck before the climb starts... no time to stop and compose my photos on these short races!

Running along Kitsuksis Ck before the climb starts… no time to stop and compose my photos on these short races!

NOOOO!!!! So close.... but we didn't make the second crossing.

NOOOO!!!! So close…. but we didn’t make the second crossing.

Kevin grins as he chugs past us...

Kevin smirks as he chugs past us…

Water station at the top of the hill - thanks, Kristi!

Water station at the top of the hill – thanks, Kristi!

Around the 7k mark: the big climb behind us, now in the rolling country at the top of Kitsuksis hill (one of Dave's and my favourite cycling routes).

Around the 7k mark: the big climb behind us, now in the rolling country at the top of Kitsuksis hill (one of Dave’s and my favourite cycling routes).

Last few hundred m... wow, it even looks like I am going fast!

Last few hundred m… wow, it even looks like I am going fast!

First overall:

First overall: Claire Morgan receives her medal and conductor’s cap.

This was a totally fun event! It was great to see so much spirit in our local running community. Briam is planning to make this an annual event – perhaps taking place earlier in the summer, though. And some impressive times… The train came 7th overall – which means that 6 runners received a medal saying “Faster than a train.” Especially impressive was Claire Morgan’s performance, finishing this uphill 10k in 41:17, 3 minutes before the next runner in, and 8 minutes ahead of the train!

Thanks to Brian and Kristi Dobson for organizing! Here are full results:

NO. 7 Challenge, Aug 17th, 2013, Results List:

Place Name Bib Gender Time

1 Claire Morgan 279 F (1) 41.17
2 Lonny Johhston 276 M (1) 44.04
3 Todd Daradics 281 M (2) 45.28
4 Brian Callender 251 M (3) 45.51
5 Russ Kristensen 282 M (4) 46.41
6 Richard Giele 261 M (5) 49.04
7 No. 7 Train 250 Train 49.05
8 Julian Munson 285 M (6) 50.14
9 Paul Brandl 252 M (7) 50.38
10 Isabel Ostrom 258 F (2) 51.16
11 Brad Fowler 284 M (8) 52.01
12 Rachael Haegert 271 F (3) 52.04
13 Haley Giele 260 F (4) 53.53
14 Marc Fryer 274 M (9) 56.28
15 Lisa Fryer 273 F (5) 57.03
16 Rebecca Haegert 272 F (6) 57.08
17 George Arbanas 280 M (10) 57.42
18 Greg Herringer 253 M (11) 57.52
19 Arthur Lander 275 M (12) 59.56
T20 David Gilbert 267 M (13) 61.04
T20 Jacqueline Windh 269 F (7) 61.04
22 Kelly Fines 256 F (8) 62.34
23 Natasha Dalziel 264 F (9) 65.05
24 Debra Hallworth 262 F (10) 65.24
25 Jeff Hallworth 263 M (14) 66.07
T26 Emma Rozeveld 254 F (T11) 66.25
T26 Katie Connah 257 F (T11) 66.25
28 Colin Banks 270 M (15) 66.50
29 Chelsea Olsen 268 F (13) 84.20
30 Jane Downs 283 F (14) 84.21
31 Ocean Barkhouse 278 F (15) 89.50
32 April Barkhouse 277 F (16) 91.43
33 Ashley Davies 265 F (17) 94.12
34 Marissa Balahura 255 F (T18) DNS
35 Fiona MacIntosh 259 F (T18) DNS
36 Marc Puts 266 M (16) DNS

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  1. #1 by Jacqueline Windh on July 6, 2014 - 9:37 pm

    Just got notice – the 2014 10k Steam Train race is this Saturday July 12th, departing at the train station at the bottom of Argyle Street 10 am. Show up at 9:30, your $10 fee includes the return ride on the train for your family and your return trip on the train, what a deal!

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