Rob Reid and I at Frontrunners
What a gorgeous city Victoria, BC is! I've been to the Royal Victoria Marathon three times now to speak, but it was my wife Jill's first time and she also loved it! We took off from Austin last Thursday morning and flew to Denver, then onto Vancouver, then finally landed in Victoria. My good friend and race director Rob Reid picked us up at the airport and we headed to the VIP reception. Rob is one busy guy! He owns Frontrunners Footwear, a running specialty store, the New Balance running specialty store, and is also running for Mayor of Victoria! I've known Rob for a number of years, and he would be a outstanding mayor for the City of Victoria!
After the VIP reception, Rob took us back to our hotel to check in. We stayed at The Fairmont Express Hotel, what a beautiful place!!!
Friday morning Rob and I went for a nice easy run along the ocean front then after breakfast, Jill and I went to Rob's Frontrunners store where they were having a press conference for the race.
Afterwards, one of Robs good friends, Brian, took Jill and I to Butchart Gardens.......unbelievable! If your ever to Victoria it's, the gardens are a must see!
At 3, I helped Rob open the beginning of the expo, there were people lining outside the door waiting to get in! I gave my first talk at the expo at 4:30 and it went very well! Friday evening Jill and I went out with our good friends Mark and Jenny Stinson from Chicago/Boise. Mark was getting ready to run his first marathon in almost 5 years, we enjoyed a great meal and even better conversation.
Saturday morning up early for a easy run, then over to Frontrunners where I delivered a talk to some of the folks that were in a training program to get ready for the race. We had a lot of fun and took lots of pictures. After our talk, we went over to the showing of Spirit of the Marathon. What a great movie this is! Afterwards, Jill and I found a nice little cafe where we had breakfast. There are neat little cafes on every corner and they all seem to have great food!
I gave my next talk at the expo at 12:45 to a full house, the crowd was wonderful, afterwards I spent about a hour at the Russell Books booth and signed books and took pictures with folks, really enjoyed that!
Jill and I had a little time to explore downtown Victoria before we had to be at the pasta dinner at 6. You talk about a incredible pasta dinner, I think its probably the best one I've ever been to! It was sold out with about 300 people. New Balance provided over 30 door prizes and I also gave a short 15 minute talk and had everyone fired up for the race on Sunday.
Sunday morning I got up early and did a easy 5 miler and met Jill back at the hotel at 7AM to get her warmed up for the 8K race she was going to run. They had almost 2500 runners in that race. Jill wanted to break 50 minutes and she smashed it with 47:17, and I am very proud of her! I ran it with her and she did awesome! She was racing her friend in Austin, Laura Nye, who was doing a 5 mile race at the same time. Laura had her game face on and beat her, running 45:41.
After the 8K, we had a quick breakfast then headed on over for the start of the kids 1K run. They had over 900 kids on a perfect morning for running! We then went down to the finish area and helped with making sure all the kids got paired back up with their parents.
We then spent some time at the finish line watching the marathoners and half marathoners come in.
Jill and I had a wonderful time and would like to thank everyone that made our visit such a special one! A very special thanks goes out to Rob Reid, Cathy, Laura, Brian and Norma, Steve King, and of course the great folks at New Balance for making our trip all possible!
If you're looking for a beautiful fall get away to run a marathon, the Royal Victoria Marathon is the place to be! Next year will be their 30th anniversary so I'm sure it will be extra special!