Achilles St. Patrick's Day 10K

The Achilles St. Patrick’s Day race traditionally takes place in Toronto as part of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. It happens in March, still during winter time, and it is mainly a charity event in favor of Achilles Foundation. They offer a 5K and a 10K which is basically running the 5K twice. I signed up for the 10K, running in downtown Toronto, surrounded by skyscrapers, in a super flat course.

That was my first Canadian winter. Running under freezing conditions was still strange for me. So, my running volume was low and my last run was a week before the race. I had all the reasons to not be optimistic.

That morning, when I took the lift to leave the building, I met another fellow runner going to the same race. I knew because we both had the bibs attached to the shirt. We started a conversation about the occasion and went running to the race as a way to warm up. He was telling me he used to run a lot and had to stop, then recently resumed running and this race was his first test after returning. I encouraged him and wished him good luck. That day I learned about humility. The guy was among the top ten of the race and he didn’t give a clue about his talent.

I had no expectations about my results. I was there for fun, but I believe a combination of factors made me run so fast that I improved my personal best time to 8 minutes! I finished it before my family was ready to cheer for me. I think a few factors contributed to this:

  1. I was sufficiently rested: I was not very active on the days that preceded the race. I had no injuries to complain about and felt no pain.

  2. Warm up before the race: as most recreational runners, I also warm up during the race, intending to save energy to cover long distances. This time, the race was 2.5km far from home and it was cold, so it was instinctive to jog to the start, warming up my body. I still hesitate to do it before a marathon, but I will certainly do it in shorter distances.

  3. The course was super flat.

  4. I met someone faster than me and I’ve seen him running fast. That pushed me to do the same.

Best 10K Time

In addition to contributing to the Achilles Foundation, we also had a great social gathering with hot soup and beer with the local running community. Lovely!