Every year here in my local town of Cochrane, Alberta we have a weekend festival of running, duathlon and triathlon called Footstock. On day one there are the running events. For example in the 2017 edition there was a 5k, 10k, Half Marathon and Duathlon. On day two there is the kids triathlon. In my personal opinion the kids triathlon often steals the show in terms of pure entertainment. A couple of years ago I helped out as a volunteer marshal and spent 3 hours standing in non-stop heavy rain watching kids compete on the bicycle leg completely undeterred by the foul weather. Some of the kids were so young that they still required training wheels. The determination of a number of the kids to finish the course was surprising and some what uplifting. Believe me, cheering supporters needed to be lifted on this day given the conditions.
Both last year and this year were nothing like 2015 in terms of weather, in fact it was much more a case of staying out of direct sunlight, trying not to get your skin burnt and staying hydrated. The key bonus of real summer weather across the event weekend was that the event base could be setup outside with various tents and canopies and an outdoor stage. It also crucially meant that people weren’t so inclined to disappear immediately after finishing their run. And sometimes that’s super important. Having people stay and cheer others on, talk and swap stories or just chill and eat some food. It’s the seeds of building an atmosphere, a vibe, a community.
cheers others on, talk and swap stories or just chill and eat
This year I had my coaching hat on. I did run myself as well but not with full conviction and focus. My number one job was to help one of my runners, Benard get through the half marathon without any residual damage. We decided to use the race as a chance to test out his Achilles after several months of rehabing it. I was also keenly supporting Alex, a young and talented distance runner currently studying at SAIT but originally from Cochrane. Me and Alex have worked together a bit over the past year and I was fired up to give him some support and encouragement during his 5k race. Also running in the 5k race was Neil. I’d worked with Neil all through 2016 to help him run new 5k and 10k PR times. Although we hadn’t worked together in 2017 leading up to Footstock I was curious to see how much running he had been doing and where his fitness level was at.
All in all for our mini-group it turned out to be a good day. Benard easily won the half marathon, but mostly importantly for us he ran 1:22 at comfortable effort without any flare up of his Achilles. I ran with Alex’s SAIT running buddy Sean in the 10k and at the line we came in first and second. A decent run out for us considering neither of us was pushing very hard. In the 5k Alex comfortably won the race with room to spare and plenty of gas in the tank at the end and Neil came in shortly afterwards with a sub 21 time that showed he hadn’t lost too much since I last coached him.
Footstock race weekend has now been running for 14 years. It’s Cochrane’s only running race event in terms of conventional road and trail running (not counting mud and obstacle races). Over the years it has benefited from local sponsorship, particularly from Garmin who still to this day supply the high-end prizes for the race winners. It has also equally benefited from its volunteers who work hard every year to make the event happen and run smoothly. Numbers are certainly not what they used to be and I think a lot of this is to do with increase in the number of competing events in the Calgary area and the explosion in alternative running events such as color runs and mud runs. That said Footstock still is what it has always been for me, which is a really open, super friendly, all levels welcome, Cochrane town community event and hence its something I will strive to support however I can in the future.
open, super friendly, Cochrane town community event
Footstock race weekend typically happens on the first weekend of June each year a week after the Calgary Marathon. As opposed to most local road races, Footstock makes use of the town’s internal trail system including aesthetic gravel and dirt walking paths. For more information on the event check out the website and Facebook page here: