Letters from Home

Shona’s Run

Super news from my fleet-of-foot Phillips relatives, Greg and niece, Shona, in Kingston …

“This morning, after exactly three months of training, Shona ran the Thousand Islands Parkway Half Marathon (21.1 km). I ran beside her as coach and moral support while Karen played chauffeur, cheering section, and chief photographer.

“The weather was reasonably good: overcast, 19°C, but with 90% relative humidity. Fortunately the threatened showers held off until the drive home. The field was quite small, with only about sixty-five runners entered. At fourteen, Shona was the only runner under twenty — so all she had to do was complete the race to be guaranteed a win in her age category.

“Shona had been training ‘to finish’ but had an unofficial time goal of 2:15. I was confident that she would be able to run the distance — we’d done it in training three weeks ago with no problems in a time of about 2:35 — but I really wasn’t sure what pace she was capable of.

“In the end she had an amazing race, coming in with an official time of 2:11:07. She ran at a nice steady pace the whole way, chatting with me, laughing, and taking only three minutes more on the second half than she had on the first. And she kicked the pace way up at the end, coming across the line at a near-sprint with a smile on her face to a huge cheer from the spectators.

“I’ve attached four photographs: Shona and I before the race at the start line, a shot taken just past the half-way point (note the guy with the juggling clubs — he was juggling them when they were not in use directing traffic), the two of us in the last few metres before the finish, and Shona with her well-earned medal. The eggs in that last photograph were raffle prizes; unfortunately we didn’t win any.

“Shona will be running with the cross-country team at her new High School (KCVI) this year. She was supposed to do two 3 km workouts this weekend, but figures the race can probably count for that, so she’s not going out tomorrow ;^).  She has no plans to run another half marathon any time soon, but is looking at an 8 km race in Sydenham at the end of October. I’ll be running the Montreal marathon next weekend with my friend Pierre Langlois; we’re making our second attempt at breaking 3:20 after missing it by 11 minutes in Ottawa this spring.”

— Greg