By: Matt Setlack
This article will outline my experience at the Edmonton Army 10k, which took place on Sunday, 19 August 2018.
I have competed in this race a few times before but last year, the race course was different as there was road construction being carried out. In terms of race courses go, this is an extremely fast race course; there are minimal turns (two right turns, two left turns, one 180 degree turn), the course is very flat, the elevation of Edmonton is 645m ASL, the wind is typically minimal in the morning and also blocked by the tall buildings and trees, and the temperature is nice and cool in late August.
I drove to Edmonton on Friday 17 August 2018 and arrived at the race hotel, the Chateau Lacombe, which was right downtown and about two blocks from the race start (at the Shaw Conference Centre). The hotel is cylindrical in shape and the hotel rooms are pie-shaped. There were a few treats waiting for me in the hotel room.
As you can see in the photos below, I was very concerned about the air quality with the extensive and widespread smoke coming from the BC forest fires. Many racers did not race because of the poor air quality and the race organizers gave racers the option of shortening their race distance for free.
I was an ambassador for the Edmonton Army 10k so on Saturday 18 August 2018, I worked the race expo for a while in the morning before attending the Running Room Friendship Run. Unfortunately, because of the smoke, the Friendship Run was cancelled and instead John Stanton did a Question and Answer period with a few of the runners including myself.
The night before every race, I always lay out my race uniform to ensure that I have everything. I then place my race kit in a running backpack. The black Ronhill backpack is the Ronhill Commuter Xero 10L + 5L. I have been using the grey older version of this backpack for several years and it has been working out well. The nice thing about having your race kit in a backpack rather than a fabric shopping bag is that you can do you warm-up and warm-down while wearing the backpack rather than having to stash/check it somewhere.
I really liked the bright yellow/lime green New Balance race t-shirts this year. All race distances received the same shirt, which I think is a good idea. I do a lot of running on austere roads in northern Alberta and having a bright shirt to wear helps motorists see me better.
The Edmonton Army 10k started at 10:30 am on Sunday, which is a lot later than most running races I have done. A few runners expressed their displeasure with the late 10k start time to me at the race expo. I personally don’t mind running a little later but running earlier is a little cooler.
Thankfully, the smoke cleared on Sunday morning.
As usual, I ran the treadmill for my warm-up of 35 minutes easy. I run on the treadmill before I race because I like being away from the nervous energy of the start line, having a washroom nearby, and running in a place where I do not have to run about dodging people and vehicles.
I started the race at what felt like a decent pace and splits were very even throughout the race. 100m into the race I looked to my left and saw Jevin Monds running next to me. When I saw about five people in front of me, I got a bit concerned but my race experience kicked in and I told myself not to panic and to be patient. As we raced down Jasper Avenue, the front runners began to spread out and Jevin pulled ahead.
From approximately 2-5km into the race Jevin and Dejene Guililat ran together about 20 meters ahead of Jesse Bauer and I. Throughout this time, Jesse and I raced one another and shared the lead. Around 5km I managed to break away from Jesse and slowly closed the gap between Jevin and Dejene. At about 7km, I caught up to them and felt a rush of excitement and energy. I tried to maintain my pace and gradually inched ahead of them. Dejene put in a strong surge and put a few meters on Jevin and I. I maintained pace and caught back up Dejene when the pace settled. At roughly 8.5-9km I managed to break away from Dejene. At this point, I ran as hard as I could and did not look back. My final kilometre was my quickest at 3:00 minutes per km.
I crossed the finish line in second overall in a time of 32:22. Although it was not my best time, it was a tactical race and I was very surprised by my result because there were so many strong runners in the race and had been running in fifth place for most of the race.
I would really like to thank all of the volunteers and organizers who volunteered their time to help out with this race. Also, big thanks to Brian Torrance, the elite coordinator for providing amazing support over the entire weekend. Thank you to the members of the Loyal Edmonton Regiment the excellent race expo displays, for marshalling during the race and for handing out medals at the finish line. Thank you for everyone who cheered for me during the race; I heard everyone and it gave me a burst of energy. Thank you!