Early this year it was decided by my friend Tom Cornthwaite that we would do a trail race in Canada called run for the Toad, which was part of the 50k Canadian national championships
Also doing this race was my bird Dionne and Lizzy Adams, we all decided against the 50k and decided to do the 25k which sounded more fun and well less painful!
Anyway I'm going to come back to this race as I don't want to make this a running blog, if you are a big fan of running blogs look no further than Ben Fish's blog http://www.eightlane.org/training/author/ben-fish/ here you will get to read about lots of miles, epic sessions and confrontations with dog walkers. All in all a good read!
When it was decided we was going to do this race, Tom got in touch with the race organisers George & Peggy enquiring about the race and managed to get us free entry and accommodation for 3 nights which was greatly appreciated!! I must say George and Peggy are by far the best organisers I've ever come across, passionate about what they're doing and very helpful.
The second thing we needed to do was look into the flights, we needed to fly into Toronto and then head up to Cambridge where the race was near.
I saw this as a good opportunity to visit New York somewhere I've always wanted to go! Early June Tom had booked his flights to Toronto with Lizzy and then a few days later I booked mine and Dionne's flights to New York.
The only person yet to book his flights was Nick Swinburn
Nick was honoured when we asked him to come
A few months later and the trip had finally arrived, me and Dionne was boarding a plane in London, New York bound and Tom and Lizzy where in Manchester ready to fly to Toronto. We arrived on the Tuesday and the plan was to fly to Buffalo Niagra on the Thursday and Tom had kindly offered to pick us up from the airport.
So when me and Dionne arrived the plan was to do a bit of sightseeing, on the Tuesday evening we went to the top of the Empire State building which was pretty epic
On the Wednesday we went to Madame Tussauds which was good fun, upon arriving there to our surprise we were greeted by the actual Nicholas Cage who has been finding it difficult getting filming jobs due to his bad hairline and his ability of not being able to act
Thursday had arrived and it was time for us to fly to Buffalo where Tom would come and pick us up
When he arrived the plan was to cross the border to Canada and then go to Niagra Falls, upon arriving we were greeted by a singing Elvis and a epic view! we decided to do the Maid of the mist tour which takes you right up the the falls on a boat
By this point you might have figured that Nick Swinburn didn't come on the trip, the reason being was family commitments and I'm pretty sure his trying to discover who he is as a person
I will admit I was a little disappointed that he couldn't come as it would of been nearing our 4 year anniversary and with him due to be getting married soon and not to mention all the kids his going to have it would of been good to share another adventure together. I think the only adventure I will be going on with Nick will be to Ikea to look at furniture.
So skip a few days and it had finally arrived, Race day!! The day before we went to pick our number up and also the press conference for the 50k which Tom was apart of
On that day we finally got to meet George & Peggy the race organisers and some of the other race competitors who were all very friendly, and lived up to my reputation of Canadian's being the friendliest people in the world!!
Another thing to mention is Skechers were kind enough to sponsor all of us for this race by supplying us the smartest and best trail shoes I have ever worn and some amazing green jackets that when we wore them people wanted to stop and talk to us because we looked proper fashionable like the movie star Ryan Gosling or Tom Selleck
Right back to the race, Tom had set off 10 minutes before us in the 50k (4 laps) looking good in his Skechers Gobionic trail shoe and me Dionne and Lizzy were ready for the 25k (2 laps)also looking good in our Skechers Gobionic trail shoe. As the gun went off my plan was to set off really fast to test out the field and then to settle into a group and try and maintain a good pace, however I managed to have about a 150m lead after 1k and was commited to staying there as only 2 people had gone off with the pace. At this point I was feeling good and really enjoying running in the Skechers shoes which made me feel strong like Susan Boyle hitting a high note.
When I was picturing the race route beforehand I was expecting flat fast trails around a forrest but I was wrong! it was very hilly with some good climbs little bits of road sections and some great fast downhill sections, all in all it was a brilliant course well organised and perfect for my Skechers Gobionic trail which are available now to buy http://www.skechers.co.uk/style/53610/skechers-gobionic-trail/orbk.
By the first lap I had about a minute lead, I wouldn't exactly call it comfortable as the course really was tough!
At the end of the second lap I managed to extend my lead by about 3 minutes and come 1st place which I was extremely happy about! I think the Skechers shoes helped, I think it's like the same feeling Tony Stark gets when he puts on the Ironman suit.
Also to make things better Dionne also came in 1st place and manged to break the course record which earned her (us) a $500 bonus which massively helped out for the rest of the trip. Lizzy also had a decent run considering she's been injured pretty much all year and it was good seeing her race again!
After the race me and Dionne had to make a speech to a few hundred people about the race which I was very nervous about as I'm not exactly a public speaker!
About 45 minutes after this speech Tom had finished in 5th place to a class field, which was pretty good for his first ever ultra!
After the race there was food on for all the runners in the giant tent, it was pretty amazing as George & Peggy had managed to cater for over 1000 people! It really was such a brilliant well organised race and the course is probably one of the best I have raced on. As a group were already thinking of coming out again next year to do this and I really do highly recommend buying some Skechers Gobionic trail and feeling dead powerful like Ironman and taking part in this great race!
The evening had arrived and it was the post race party, we started off at a pizza place meeting all of the friendly Canadian and American runners we had met. After a hour or so of talking and eating pizza or cheesecake like I did, things started to get more lively and Tom decided to show everyone a tradition that we like to do in Britain that our friend Steve taught us, CHOPPING. The picture below is self explanatory
Tom had pretty much set the standard for the night, and after this it got canny wild! After the pizza we headed to a karaoke bar which was a 20 minute drive away. One of the Americans who wasn't drinking drove a few of us there and that's when it went uphill for me and then a few hours later massively downhill!!
It was pretty steady when we got in there, just a typical karaoke bar with girls trying to sing Adele songs the best they can maybe hoping Simon Cowell is hiding in a bin waiting for the next big thing.
A few chops later it was mine and Tom's turn to go and sing. We sang Don't stop me now by Queen, this was a very lively performance with lots of dancing and even more shouting. I'm pretty sure we did a good job and everyone clapped when we had finished, not because we had finished but because it was the best performance they had ever witnessed.
I used a lot of energy in that performance and after that it went downhill for me, this didn't stop me chopping away though. I think I must of chopped at least 8 pints that night and not long after that it took a turn for the worse. Lot's of throwing up, down the rental car and the next day a hangover to remember!
Despite that I still enjoyed the night and had a great time with some great people.
I could go on and on about how good this trip but I would like to keep this short, I'm happy with the ratio of running/non related running in this blog.
I hope after reading this you decide to buy some Skechers Gobionic trail and maybe consider doing Run for the Toad next year.
I'll finish off by putting some nice pictures up that might make you do this