Race report: 2011 Harry’s Spring Run-off 8k (Vancouver)Posted: 22 March 2011
Harry’s Spring Run-off, a fundraising run in support of prostate cancer research in Vancouver, began in 2007. Its cause was given greater importance for me earlier that year, as my grandfather had recently passed away from prostate cancer. I promptly signed up and began raising funds. And I’ve run and donated to the cause ever since.
For me, the 2011 edition of Harry’s is a little different from past years, when I’ve essentially raced it, and with progressively faster times each year. My nagging injury from the previous week meant I couldn’t run this one fast, but I felt OK enough to treat it as an easy run. I may try to make it an easy run, but the challenge was to do that during an actual race, when the competitive juices start flowing. Starting near the back was a good way not to be swept up with the others who were actually going to go faster than me.
Fast or not, it turned out to be a very great day in which to run. Sunny and not too cool were the conditions at Stanley Park on the last run of winter. It was so nice that I ran in shorts; at least I can say that I did a winter run in shorts! I almost regretted that, however, when the sun disappeared around the north side of the seawall; the gloves I brought with me slightly took the edge off the cold.
Even though I kept an easy pace, I told myself to speed up in the last 2 km, but only if it felt right. After averaging 6:45/km for the first 6 km, with minimal discomfort, I slowly turned it up so that I went 6:31 during km 7. Still feeling good, I increased speed for the last kilometre, which I finished in just over 6:00.
Harry’s is always a great race experience; it’s capped to 2000 runners, and the 8k distance means it can be a good test before the Sun Run or Vancouver Marathon. And who can argue with a run along the Stanley Park seawall? I’m not too keen on the provided lime-green technical shirt (2nd year in a row), but that’s going too much into the details. An off-colour shirt is not going to stop me from coming back to this race and running it for my grandfather.