The race is run entirely through Centennial Park, which means it's pretty much dead flat, with a ton of turns. During the portions with the long straightaways, you can really get moving, but there's too many turns to make it a PR type course.
I've been fortunate enough to win this race the past two years, but you never know who will show up. This year, two guys stuck out to me. Ted Towse is always pretty tough but I knew he wasn't in his top shape. I was hoping that if I set a hard pace and bluffed a bit, he would let me go. The other guy, Max Paquette, is a sub 70 half marathoner who has run a fast 1500m before. I met him a couple years ago at the Crazy 8's 8k and felt like he could be tough to beat. My plan for him was the same....run hard from the gun and hope he focused on his battle with Ted rather than trying to chase me down.
When we got going, I shot out pretty quickly. The first mile makes a loop around the park and is by far the fastest mile in the park. I wasn't feeling too hot but was really surprised when I went through the first mile in 4:42. I had about a 30-40m lead and knew I couldn't get too mentally complacent.
I couldn't remember the course too well and the biker with me wasn't expecting to be the lead biker because the other two shot off like maniacs at the start of the race and they weren't in site at all. Who knows what that was about? He was really nervous because he didn't know the course either but fortunately, there were signs everywhere, which made it easy to follow.
I lost a bit of time in the second mile and came through in 4:56. Well, a lot of time I guess. At this point, I had a somewhat comfortable lead, so I tried to keep it around tempo effort and not overdue things, ran the last mile in 5:06 and finished up in 15:15.
I was happy with my performance because I felt like 15:30 would be tough. One of my favorite things about this race is that they always have decent post-race food. I chowed down on pastries, yogurt and heck, they even had a cotton candy machine which is major bonus points. All in all, this is a fun and well-run race that I plan on coming back to.