The running journey started on December 1st for me, but the actual travel journey started last Thursday night when Phil Dalton and I set out from Goderich to the Toronto airport. We had a Friday morning, eight o'clock flight. We'd be joined by Rich Tremain and Mark Kiteley for the first leg of the trip, then picked up Nick Best as we made it to Sydney, NS by noon. Off to pick up the rental vehicle.
We got into Baddeck by mid afternoon on Friday. We had arrived a few hours after an intrepid crew of four from Windsor got there. They had driven! 2000km straight. Unreal! They must have been very happy to see fresh faces as there were many hugs, high fives, and back-pats. The mood was excitement all around. By and by, the rest of the team arrived via Halifax and the team was set.
The race is 280km long, has 17 races, and takes over 27 hours to complete by the time it is all said and done. We had 15 runners so 2 people ran twice. We had 3 cars, so we staggered our entry and participation based on the schedule and when people ran. Once it got going though we all sort of hung out and followed the action. This time I stayed up the entire time and didn't sleep at all, however the race started at seven am, and a few of us didn't leave the hotel under ten thirty to join the team up the road. So I was basically there for it all....
I ran the fourth section starting at noon on Saturday. It was 20k long. The first nine was rolling, then a 2.1 climb up Old Smokey rising 400m I think. And then a downhill, and finally rolling again to the finish. It was difficult enough, but it was a leg I wanted to do and signed up for. I was sooooo happy with the way I ran and hung tough on it. I battled with a runner for the entire distance, finishing runner up to his 1:10.20 to my 1:10.40. I gave it all I had, and left a bit behind on Smokey..... Running that time for 20k, over that terrain, made me very satisfied and pleased with how I had trained and prepared for the race.... Like the last 5k I was in, I was beat by a better man. But not too disappointed. Great run Rajean Chaisson. Good luck with the running and the coaching in the future.
We had 14 other super runners who left it out on the road. We brought former Lancers Alex MacLeod, Rich Tremain, Mark Kiteley, Andrew Coates, Phil Dalton, Drew Patterson, Matt Sinclair, Dave DiPiero, Taylor MacArthur, Andrew Kellar, and myself. We were joined by Nick Best, Matt McNeil, Doug Vincent, and Graydon Snider. There are countless All-Canadians in that list, a number of CIAU champions, a sub four minute miler, national team members, Windsor graduating years stretching from 1993 to 2014, world record holders (100x1 mile relay, and juggling/joggling world record holder), and all sorts of other weird and wonderful stats represented. I had a fantastic time with them all. I new most of them, and got to know a few more and was instantly impressed by what they were able to bring to the race.
We had two other minders and coaches. Dave Weston and Rich Johnston. They were part of the driving crew from Windsor and just drove the entire race, dropping us off at check points, gathering our gear, getting beer or food for us, and just taking care of what we needed.
I would have to type continuously to describe the stories and the revelry/festivities that ensued post race. We partied it up at the Baddeck Yacht Club fairly hard. We were joined by most of the other members of the 70 teams competing.... Surprisingly I saw a few people I recognized, whom I hadn't seen in 6 years or more, so I kept it tame and caught up with friends of yesteryear, and also tried to have some good meaningful conversations with guys on the team who I don't get a chance to talk with that much.