It was only fitting that for the most anticipated event we should see the largest showing of athletes at 29, during midterm season no less. All together 17 men and 12 woman toed the line in what would be a race for the books.
Pre race tensions were running high. Matt Reeve, sporting the leaders cape prepared his warmup to perfection after consulting a freelance professional coach in Jerry from Forerunners. With his warmup dialed in, surely he would be one of the favorites. Who else would try and match him in an attempt to take over the overall lead in the UBCTC Fall Classic Series?
Barry Claman, the overwhelming favorite coming into tonight's event was seeking redemption after a disappointing third in the uphill time trial. In a race that was referred to as "meh" last week, Barry promised to make the mile hurt.
UBCTC President and generally good looking guy Vincent Lavallee was staying quiet prior to the event. After all the excuses he used up in the relay and hill time trial, he was running out and was going to have to race with a clean slate. No more sandbagging excuses.
On such a momentous occasion there were many other dark horses who could cause an upset. Flipper, who ran to an impressive 5th in the uphill TT, was ready to move up this week, and Winstorm the universal pace bunny was a marked man by many.
Newcomer to the UBCTC Fall Classic Jared Penner was tapering specific for this event, opting out of the previous 4 events just to be ready. When asked how he thought this would benefit him for the overall title he replied no comment. With $5 on the line for beating Vincent, you knew he was bringing his A game.
After last weeks display of technological advancement in the sport of running, many athletes decided to try their hand at getting an edge. With Andrew Wight sporting a flashy new pair of racing flats (seen above) along with Winstorm and Jared, they were sure to experience lighter feet.
On top of those mentioned, there were many unknowns. New faces to the UBCTC who have not yet had the opportunity to show their skills.
Barry Claman quickly took the lead. Running the first lap in a blistering 66 seconds, followed a few seconds behind by the main pack of men containing Lavallee, Reeve, Guo, Janzen, Penner and Wight.
The second lap showed a big shake up. Winstorm, impatient with the slow pace-setting of Vincent Lavallee took over, followed closely by Matt. Barry by this point had a demanding lead going through the first half mile in 2:24.
Barry surged on, having only the clock to motivate him. Rounding the last corner and racing for a sub 5 minute clocking, he achieved a 4:57. Behind him however the race got interesting. With 300m to go, Penner, running behind Vincent in 5th inquired if this was in fact already the 4th lap. With a grunt, Vincent replied and Jared started his kick as though he had just been cruising to this point. Jared Penner moves from 6th position passing Winstorm, Nathaniel and Matt all over the following 200 meters developing a gap of 10-15 meters on Reeve. Matt won't give up so easily however and gives one final push. With meters to go, the race for second is INTENSE as Matt edges out Jared within the final stride.
Barry pushing to a 4:57 clocking
Jared with a 10 meter gap
Jared and Matt were not the only sprint finish, three more took place between Liam and Tobi then between Ceilidh and Eddie and finally between Derrick and Jesse.
Following the mens race, the Woman had a competition of their own. In a competition even tighter than the men's, the top 3 in the woman's race were only points apart, especially after strong running by both last weeks winner Claire Haddock and runner up Victoria Gilbert. Tonight's race was anyone's game. Lauren Spazadore, who was saving energy for the individual Time Trial this coming weekend, would try to stay close enough to the lead in order to fight another day on her own turf: the bike.
Claire Haddock took off to an early lead followed by Rachel and Victoria. After a short bout of confusion about running in the third lane, Claire moved to the inside lane and really started to push.
Going through the half mile in 3:05, Claire was on record pace holding a HUGE lead. After 800m Victoria Gilbert started to move up, running an impressive negative split.
An artistic shot of Lauren.
In the most impressive comeback of the season Victoria caught up to Claire's shoulder as they came out of the last bend. At this point it was anyone's race. Would Claire repeat, or would Victoria finally see another victory since the opening event.
In what required a photo finish review, Victoria Gilbert captured the win by less than a foot with Greta Raymant finishing off the podium in third.
On a night with many new PB's in the mile, impressive doesn't even begin to describe the events that took place.
During a relaxing cooldown the inevitable began. With Matt's runner up finish and Nathaniel only seconds behind, whispers of the 2010 Storm the Wall competition have begun. I'm sure there will be more to come.
In the end, Matt Reeve was too strong to dethrone from atop the UBCTC Fall Classic Series. Cockiness is building when, during his post race interview amidst coughing fits he stated:
"Well what did you expect? I'm Matt Reeve!"
Stage winner Barry Claman achieved his redemption from last week, however, his press-statement didn't even mention the race:
"I thought there were going to be bagels at the finish! Where's my bagel?"
Another race done. One away from the halfway point. It appears as though Matt Reeve has a sizable lead over second place, however, with many races left and the competition shifting towards longer runs and cycling, everything is still up for grabs.