By Ambassador Holly Pinto
When I first read Hatley Castle 8K, I immediately thought like anyone would; of magic and folklore. And while indeed it’s a beautiful architecture; magic quickly transformed into adventure. With a 95 per cent chance of precipitation, I anticipated a wet, west coast running race.
Like any quest, Hatley promised an “over the hill and around the bend” course. I started the course with a gentle decline slope leading to ocean views. Headwinds on that moody February morning combined with rainfall set the scene for a J.R.R. Tolkien quest more than a Disney fairytale. Then suddenly at 2K the course took a rolling incline; with a baby hill and then a mama hill. In my peripheral I viewed stone walls with vines as the castle awaits at the bottom, connecting one hill to another. Perfect placement to occupy my thoughts as I climbed and climbed. If magic was really here, there would have been a unicorn ride with a catchy soundtrack. Yet, this is a running race and I kept perspective and pulled one foot up after the other. Trumpets sound triumph as raindrops trample trees; the beast of a hill has been slayed. And soon the summit brought me into the forest.
By this point, I am drenched from torrential rainfall. Washing away all that sparkly sweat. And the only twinkle was that of a wiggle in my toes to keep warm. ‘Are we having fun yet?’
Well, this was Hatley Castle and I was on an adventure.
I sloshed through muddy puddles which I didn’t care to miss because Hurricane Hatley had left me already soaked. Around 6K the wind picked back up like a big ugly monster. As the fauna ahead led to the end of this quest, I took time to enjoy the eye of the storm. As the path was smirking with pools of rainfall and paces were withheld by potentially slippery corners there is something. Something in lieu of a rainbow and sunshine. And it’s you, my running friend. Sometimes, the prize is within the adventure.
You see, I set to make my best 8K time on this day. But fate had otherwise. I knew that morning weather would withhold my goals. Like any true adventurer, I adapted… Close to me from the starting line was a team of runners. Their goal: to finish. More than that. To finish happily. While I was caught up on the weather and the letdown by the downpour they offered an opportunity. And that is the heart of VIRS. The eye of the storm; the beauty within. Showing up and completing the adventure with your team. Coming together to cheer each other on despite coastal conditions and soggy socks. Chasing personal best times is rewarding. Seeing the race through with the team is the trophy.
Now I’m left wondering, will the next race recap be named “Soggy Sooke 10K” from winter weather on Vancouver Island. Or perhaps “Sunny Sooke 10K”?
See you there!