Fa­mil­iar faces show up at Sud­bury Rocks marathon

The Sudbury Star - - SPORTS - RANDY PAS­CAL

Fa­mil­iar faces were ev­i­dent ev­ery­where at the Sud­bury Rocks!!! Marathon on Sun­day, not only in terms of the local run­ning elite, who con­tin­u­ally grace the up­per ech­e­lon of the stand­ings, but also through­out the masses, the walk­ers and jog­gers who have made this an­nual tra­di­tion part of their Mother’s Day fes­tiv­i­ties each and ev­ery year.

A previous win­ner in both the half-marathon and full marathon, Pas­cal Re­nard opted to take a crack at the Con­ti­nen­tal In­su­la­tion 10-kilo­me­tre race, mak­ing a seam­less tran­si­tion to the shorter dis­tance, win­ning in a time of 35:48.

“I went by feel to­day, I didn’t look at my watch,” noted the 43-year-old run­ner. “I hadn’t been on the road rac­ing in a long time, so I was out en­joy­ing the scenery. It was a lovely sunny day.”

It was in­deed.

And while Re­nard may not have been cruis­ing full torque, there is cer­tainly that el­e­ment of com­pe­ti­tion that likely never sub­sides for those at his level.

“You’re still very focused on what you are do­ing, even if you’re not at the top of your game,” he said. “I could still feel the stress at the start line, which is a good sign, the adren­a­line com­ing in.”

This was the first time that Re­nard com­peted at this dis­tance in this event, al­low­ing him to garner an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for a whole other lay­out of the race cir­cuit.

“It’s a chal­leng­ing course with some hills,” he said. “I went on some roads that I have never ex­plored in Sud­bury, lovely, quiet roads. On Notre Dame, on the way back, it’s all kind of down­hill a lit­tle bit, which is pleasant.”

Af­ter cap­tur­ing the five-kilo­me­tre race com­fort­ably one year ago, Western Mus­tangs track and field veteran Brendan Costello (17:19) was in for much more of a push this year, as cur­rent Lo-Ellen Park Knight Ni­cholas Lam­bert (17:27) man­aged to fin­ish just eight sec­onds back of the tal­ented school alum­nus.

“It was a lot closer than I ex­pected, I’m not go­ing to lie,” said Costello. “Nick made me earn that. There was a lit­tle bit of strat­egy in play, in that he took it out re­ally fast to try and get my legs out of me early, so I couldn’t kick him down in the last kilo­me­tre. I think he kind of suf­fered for it, but I was hurt­ing, too.”

En­ter­ing his fourth year of post-sec­ondary stud­ies, Costello has light­ened the train­ing load just a lit­tle as he plans out an­other sea­son of OUA com­pe­ti­tion.

“I’ve stopped do­ing cross coun­try in the fall and I am just do­ing track,” he said. “I’m fo­cus­ing on just build­ing a lit­tle more mus­cle and get­ting my speed up, rather than try­ing to put in junk miles.”

If all goes well, Costello will take a shot at the pres­ti­gious sub 2:30 one-kilo­me­tre run dur­ing the in­door sea­son, hav­ing just nar­rowly missed out on the goal that equates, roughly, to a subtwo-minute 800-me­tre race on the out­door track.

A fel­low com­peti­tor in the OUA, Lau­ren­tian Voyageur Jared Mil­ford was more than a lit­tle pleased with a sec­ond place fin­ish in the 10-kilo­me­tre event, overcoming some health chal­lenges in the weeks leading up to the Rocks.

“I ran just twice in the past two weeks,” noted the 20-year-old bio­chem­istry ma­jor. “I’m happy. I didn’t ex­pect to run a 37:00 — I ex­pected some­thing in the 38s.”

“My plan was to cruise the first cou­ple of kilo­me­tres around 3:45s or 3:40s, go up the hill (near Bo­real) and then take off and go faster, because af­ter that, it’s all flat. I was close to ex­e­cut­ing the game plan.”

All of which should lay the ground­work for what Mil­ford ex­pects to be a pro­duc­tive summer.

“My plan is first to get 100 per cent healthy,” he said. “I’ve been deal­ing with some knee and foot prob­lems, but af­ter that, I’m go­ing to start run­ning more, do­ing some long dis­tance run­ning, and do­ing some track events, as well.”

Fifty-six-year-old long­time Sud­burian Gilles Lafrance is like most of us, not about to pose any kind of se­ri­ous threat to the podium place­ments of Re­nard, Costello, Mil­ford and their ilk. He is also among the sev­eral dozen of race reg­u­lars, the folks you will catch here in May, and out at LU in Septem­ber, site of the Ramsey Lake Tour.

Un­like ev­ery­one else that com­peted on Sun­day, how­ever, Lafrance can lay claim to hav­ing rep­re­sented Canada on sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions at the Par­a­lympics: 1984 in New York, 1988 in Seoul and 1992 in Barcelona (though it wasn’t un­til the mid­dle of this troika that the term “Par­a­lympics” ac­tu­ally came in to ac­cepted us­age).

These days, Lafrance con­tin­ues to run, even if the de­ci­sion on a race dis­tance are not con­firmed un­til the very last minute, at times.

“I’m part of the run club on Wed­nes­day nights,” he said. “I had planned to run the five kilo­me­tres, but I guess I got inspired last Wed­nes­day, because I had a re­ally good run. I got to the race Expo yes­ter­day and de­cided to sign up for the 10 kilo­me­tres.”

While this de­ci­sion might back­fire on oc­ca­sion, the strat­egy change worked this time around.

“Ac­tu­ally, I felt very re­laxed,” said Lafrance, who chugged home just over the one hour mark. “It’s such a nice day, I fig­ured I would just go out and have fun. I wasn’t huff­ing or puff­ing. I wasn’t sore, or any­thing.”

Equally as pleased with the state of af­fairs Sun­day morn­ing was Ma­rina McComber, the com­mu­nity health nurse who has gath­ered the forces within the Atikamek­sheng Anishi­naabe for the past 15 years, mak­ing their pres­ence felt at this event.

“We’ve been here, rain or shine, snow, what­ever,” said McComber, over­look­ing a turnout that num­bered more than 40 folks from the area. “We have re­ally good par­tic­i­pa­tion.”

Like Lafrance, there are no il­lu­sions of race vic­to­ries within this par­tic­u­lar crowd. “I think it’s just good for the com­mu­nity, it gives you a sense of com­mu­nity to be in this group as you head out on the road,” ac­knowl­edged 30 year-old Lian­nissa Cor­biere.

Even the ul­tra-young have a game plan in place.

“We were do­ing both walk­ing and run­ning,” noted eight yearold Kierra Pheas­ant, who ac­com­pa­nied her aunt, the chief, on the five-km jaunt. “Ev­ery two poles, we would switch. We would run for two poles and then the next two poles, we would walk.”

And if that’s what it takes to make sure that Pheas­ant and com­pany are main­stays at the Sud­bury Rocks!!! Marathon, each and ev­ery year, then so be it.

RaNDY PAS­CAL

Brendan Costello, left, and Pas­cal Re­nard pose for a photo at the Sud­bury Rocks!!! Marathon in Sud­bury, On­tario on Sun­day, May 12, 2019.

JIM MOODIE

Weary run­ners cross the fin­ish line on Minto Street.

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