Canadian Half Marathon Champs, the Recap

Courtesy: The Calgary Herald
Courtesy: The Calgary Herald

I’m still living in a surreal moment. It’s tough to put words together, so bear with me. To start out, I want to give a big shout out to Jessica Mueller and Justin Kurek for winning the 50K Ultra. Jess is a nicest woman I have ever met. Her passion and excitement towards the sport is endless. It inspires me everyday. Justin is a local athlete who, like myself, balances a full time job and life with running. I met him the day before the race during our Elite Q&A. Another genuinely nice guy who rocked the course! Over in Austria, Jessica O’Connell crushed another 5K in 15:32. Like I say “if you ever think you’re fast, there’s always a Jessica O’Connell faster than you”. Calgary runners, give yourselves a huge pat on the back. Everybody that I know ran really well and it’s amazing to see the community come together for this race.

Onto the race weekend. What a cool experience it has been. Almost 90% of my time was spent with some sort of record holder/olympian. On Friday evening after the VIP dinner, I had the pleasure of eating dinner with Calum Neff, Jessica Mueller, Polly Moody, Kip, Lanni, and Natasha. There was a moment walking down the street when I looked up and realized that it wasn’t a dream. Heading for dinner with that group literally blew my mind! The next morning, I went for a run with Cal, Nathan, JD, and Reid. After that, we had Elite Q&A in the afternoon and then Dawn had me over for dinner. She is so sweet. The next morning was race time, so lets get to it.

3:15am – Alarm goes off. 3:30am – downstairs, making oatmeal, having a banana, drinking water and G2. NO ADVIL (some dude heckled me for that one). 4:00am – playing video games. What game you may ask? NBA 2K15, Clippers vs. Hawks. 5:00am – off to the race start and in the area by 5:30am. My pre-race warm-up was “on point” (as the kids would say nowadays). My head was down and I was so zoned out, right up to the start. It wasn’t until 10 minutes before the race that I actually talked to a person. Jordan Bryden was running around in a Superman costume and that broke my silence. At the startline, it was packed with superstars. After seeing the elite start list, I was sitting out of the top 10 based off of personal bests, but my goal was to win the damn thing, so I only focused on Reid, Kip, and Kelly. They were the men to beat. We stood there in a line, count-down was on: 3-2-1, Go!

For the first 3.5K, there were 4 guys at the front (Coolsaet, Kangogo, Weibe, Hofbauer). We were strong, averaging around 3:04/K as Reid was mentioning afterwards. Kip and Reid started to pull ahead of Kelly and I. Kelly had run about 3 races in 4 weeks, so I figured he could have been fatigued. At about 4k, Kelly dropped right off. I literally thought he dropped out of the race, that’s how quickly it went. Now I was running all alone, like always. I had the choice of sprinting to catch up, or hold my pace and rock it out, so I decided to sit back and watch.

For the next 4K, I kept the same distance from the leaders, continuing to feel strong. At the 8k mark, I heard footsteps right behind, which really confused me. It was Kelly, and he was on a mission. He sprinted right past me and managed to catch up with Reid and Kip! Out of nowhere, I thought he was done, but somehow now back in it. From about 10K to 12K, I managed to close the gap between Kelly and myself to take over that third spot. We continued onto Memorial drive, now against wind until the turn around. Just before the turn, I had one of my coolest race moments – I looked up to see Reid and Kip coming the other way, and that’s when I gave Reid a big thumbs up and he responded with a wave. It’s a small moment, but sharing it with a 2012 and future 2016 Olympian made it so, so special. Kip had his serious face on and didn’t have fun with us.

After the turn around, I ran past Coach Jamie for the third time. Throughout the race, all I could hear was “looking strong/good turnover/push it!”. At this point, I had a huge gap on Kelly, so I put it on cruise control, just incase something were to happen over the last 7K. To back track a bit, I’ve had some stomach issues over the past 2 weeks and I was cautious of that. Reid and Kip were still out front, picking up the pace and looking strong. I wanted to get up there, but fatigue was playing in. Crossing the Centre Street Bridge, I passed by Ashley and Polly, gave them best wishes, and proceeded to go. A KM later was Lisa Harvey, given ‘er hell! Again, best wishes and proceed.

Now, with about 19.5K left, Reid and Kip were too far ahead to catch at this point. I had a gap on Kelly (or believed I did), and everybody else was way back. At the underpass before 20K, footsteps were behind me, and again, it was Kelly. I couldn’t believe it. 20K of hard work and he was going to come out of nowhere to beat me? That deflated me, so I looked over and said “man, you really love your surges. Go get ’em”. No response. 30 seconds later, who do I pass again, yelling; Coach Jamie Grant. “Go get him! Run with him! Get him Trevor! Go!”. That’s all I heard for 30 seconds, behind me off in the distance. I was givin’ ‘er and that’s all I could hear, as Kelly was pulling away. Still, the thoughts were free and I couldn’t believe what was happening. At about 20.5K, I took a deep breathe in and started to find that final gear. I looked at my wrist, where there was no watch, but I had written one word: Believe. It wasn’t a Vancouver Sun Run kick. but nonetheless, it was a kick that ended me up in 3rd overall.

Over the last 100m to the finish
Over the last 100m to the finish

Words can’t express how I felt crossing that line. I immediately dropped, kissed the ground, thanked my guardian angels, cried, and got up with a medal and a Canadian flag around me. All I wanted was a fricken bagel! Bagels for days! I didn’t even know my time. All I cared about was having a bagel in my hand and that New Balance swept the podium on the National stage.

So how did I get to this point? By now, I think it’s cliche to say “hard work”; but it’s the truth. Everybody has seen me grow over the past few years, and one thing that has stayed consistent is hard work. Put in the work and your dreams will come true. Yesterday, I ran without a watch. That’s the first time EVER, and it was amazing. The new slogan is “train with your watch, race with your heart”. I hate this whole technology thing with paces and distances. Races are usually long so they can be certified, so don’t get caught up in the hype of a stupid GPS watch. After the work, believe in yourself and go.

What’s next for the youngster? Sinister 7 relay in July, maybe one of the Edmonton races, then XC, a training camp in Flagstaff, then San Diego. I’m still working out the money situation, but San Diego sounds like a place to chase sub 65.

To my friends, family, the Calgary Running Community, supporters (Stoked Oats, New Balance), random stalkers (Tina Garstad, that’s you), thank you for the continued love and support. Yesterday afternoon, I had over 300 notifications from a combination of calls, texts, Facebook, and Twitter. It took me an hour to go through them all and it brought tears to my eyes. Be humble, stay modest, and work your butt off!

The only time you'll see us wearing a cowboy hat
The only time you’ll see us wearing a cowboy hat

6 thoughts on “Canadian Half Marathon Champs, the Recap”

  1. Amazing work Trevor! I got to see you fly down 17th and it was absolutely amazing to watch. Love the slogan may have to adopt it for much slower runs!

  2. I finally had a chance to read this. Trevor, I am so proud of you. You are amazing. This day was the culmination of all your hard work and positivity. You are both a gifted athlete and a generous role model. I am grateful our paths crossed. There is always a seat at our dinner table for you. I just hope you don’t mind being gawked at by a nine-year-old, who believes the sun rises and sets on you.

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