A review of my 2016 running goal

Back in February I laid out my 2016 running goal: finish in the top three in my age division in a timed 8k or 10k race. Since 2016 is done (at least for me for races I’m going to enter) let’s see how I did!

I registered for five races this year but only ran in four. I missed the modo Spring Run-Off 8k in March because I was coming off of a case of bronchitis. The four I ran were the Vancouver Sun Run (10k), the BMO Vancouver Marathon 8k, the Granville Island Turkey Trot (10k), and the Fall Classic (10k). Here are my times:

  • Vancouver Sun Run: 48:11 (4:49 per km)
  • BMO Vancouver Marathon 8k: 36:42 (4:35 per km)
  • Granville Island Turkey Trot: 48:12 (4:49 per km)
  • Fall Classic: 47:43 (4:46 per km)

Now if you read the original post you’ll see that I was targetting a top-three finish in the BMO Vancouver Marathon 8k, as the M40-44 times were rather slow. The fastest in that category last year did it in 38:07.

And look! I crushed that time this year! Beat it by 1:25! So I made my goal, right?

Well, not quite. You see this year for some reason the M40-44 field was tougher. The top finisher in my age category did it in 29:37, over seven minutes faster than me. He finished third overall! I ended up sixth in my age category, which considering the field, is pretty respectable.

In the four races my age category positions were 175/1667 (Sun Run), 6/52 (BMO 8k), 34/151 (Turkey Trot) and 9/58 (Fall Classic).

Two top-ten finishes, every race was faster than a 5:00/km pace, and the rainy Fall Classic was a personal best 10k time. I’ll take it!

My 2016 Running Goal

I like personal goals. I like targets. And, most importantly, I like them being public.

Last year I had a goal of running a total of 500 kilometers in the ten and a half months before I turned 40 in mid-November. On November 15, I crushed it.

For 2016 I didn’t want to have the same goal. I wanted something a little more ambitious, but still achievable. This year’s goal?

Finish in the top three in my age group in an 8 or 10 kilometer race.

Does that sound too ambitious? It probably does, but let me explain why it actually isn’t.

Last year I ran in three races: the Modo Spring Run-Off 8k, the Vancouver Sun Run 10k, and the BMO Vancouver Marathon 8k. I’m 40, so I’m in the Mens 40-44 age group. Here are the top three times for those races, along with their 1k pace:

modo 8k: 28:53 (3:36), 29:08 (3:38), 29:50 (3:44)

Sun Run 10k: 31:39 (3:10), 31:50 (3:11), 32:38 (3:16)

BMO 8k: 38:07 (4:46), 38:33 (4:49), 38:49 (4:51)

I haven’t run an 8k or 10k race in under a 5:00/km pace yet. I came close at last year’s BMO 8k (41:14 chip time, 5:09 pace), but close isn’t good enough.

But since then I’ve been running. My fastest pace has been 4:36, albeit over only 5k, but that run was flat and felt really good. I could have gone farther but needed to get home. And that pace would have crushed the M40-44 category in the BMO 8k with a chip time of about 36:48, over a minute faster than the top finisher. Running around New Westminster is great training too, as the vast majority of the routes I run have decent hills in them, and hill training is a great way to become a better runner. For once New West’s hills are actually a good thing!

I don’t stand a chance of getting in the top three in the other two races because they’re stand-alone races. But the BMO 8k isn’t stand-alone, it’s run at the same time as the marathon and the half-marathon, so it doesn’t attract the same calibre of long-distance runners (they’re more likely to go for the half). It’s a fairly flat circuit through Stanley Park, and flat means fast.

So can I do it?

That’s the goal!