The Hatley Castle 8k is the 4th race in the Vancouver Island Race Series. Despite it being a challenging and hilly course, I enjoy running through the beautiful area.

This is not a race that I do for setting personal records, but it’s certainly nice to get out there and hang out with other runners.

Since there are many people at the race, the start can get a bit crowded (it’s a popular race).

So, I found my spot towards the front, but not right at the front. Not quite fast enough to start with the speedsters yet.

With that in mind, I ran a very conservative first 3km because I wanted to feel stronger on the hills that awaited us further into the race.

When I approached the first big hill, I honestly didn’t feel as strong as I would have liked. Some days hills definitely feel easier than others.

Regardless, I still maintained a fairly good pace up the hill.

After the first big hill, I knew that the hardest part of the course was over. However, I felt pretty comfortable at the pace I was running, so I stuck with it.

Above: Sprinting to the finish. Photo by Brian Domley

Then, it came time to run through the trail portion of the race. In general, the trail portion is ankle-friendly.

However, I stepped on what appeared to be a pine cone and almost took a tumble. Luckily, I managed to stay in an upright position and continued making my way to the finish line.

This was probably the first time I’ve ever come close to wiping out in a race, even though I’ve done almost 100 races and it was my 3rd time doing the Hatley Castle race.

As I comfortably approached the last 100m to the finish line, another girl attempted to pass me. All of a sudden, I stopped feeling tired and felt super awesome sprinting the last 100m.

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Above: Age group awards. Photo by Brian Domley

The last 100m was my favorite part because I still had energy. Sometimes, it pays not to start too fast, as it did in this case.

I finished the race in 34:06, which is slightly faster than last year. My average pace was 4:16 per km (6:51 per mile), which is actually slower than my 12k pace from a couple weeks ago. This is due to the difficulty of the course.

This time, I ended up being 4th in my age category and 10th female overall (out of 231). Sure, I could have placed better, but there are some very strong runners in my age category this year.

Definitely looking forward to the next race soon.

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