Day 154 October 7, 2011 Vancouver to West Vancouver 9km (13km to home)

1 Dec

Running home

We met at the cauldron around 11:45am and prepared for the run into Ambleside. Shortly after we arrived, a school bus pulled up and 40 Collinwood students and a few teachers began spilling out. They had come to run with me across the bridge into Ambleside. I was also joined by a number of my friends from high school. All in all there were almost 70 of us when we took off from the Cauldron. It was pretty sweet seeing everyone who had come out to run and I was excited to get started.

We had the same escort as the day before including our mustachioed leader, although much abbreviated today. We left at around 12:15 and were escorted from the Cauldron along Pender St to Georgia St. It was fun listening to the kids get excited about running with an escort and I was enjoying what is likely the last time I’ll ever have one. From Georgia we turned onto the path and ran along the Stanley Park Causeway to the Lions Gate Bridge.  I think this is actually the first time that I had run along the causeway, I normally run through the park, and we got a number of honks from passing motorists.

With the exception of a small portion of my run through Winnipeg, stepping onto the Lions Gate Bridge was the first time that I’ve been on a route that I have regularly run and was very familiar with. As we crested the top of the bridge I looked down to where the finishing point would be and could see a huge crowd had gathered. We stopped at the bottom of the bridge for quick photos with all the runners before we continued on down towards the beach.

The West Vancouver Police Department had kindly blocked off the short stretch from under the bridge along behind Park Royal to the trail and it wasn’t long before we were through the dog park and running along the beach. As I approached I was greeted by almost all of Collingwood School, grades 3-12. I looked around and everyone was cheering and holding signs they had made. It’s hard to describe the feeling but it was fairly overwhelming as I made my way through the path to the Ocean that was lined with students.

Again there was a banner at the end, and just like that I was at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Rodger Wright, Collingwood’s Headmaster, and the mayor of West Vancouver said a few words and then I got a chance to address the crowd. I felt a little silly standing there surrounded by everyone cheering but I was having a great time!

At many points during my run I had wondered what I would actually do when I got to the beach. I had envisioned hurling myself into the water and splashing around but I hadn’t envisioned having over a thousand people watch me do it. So I slowly waded in and poured out the bottle of Atlantic water that I had collected at Cape Spear and carried with me throughout the run. When that was done I wasn’t sure what to do next so I began walking out of the water, but I didn’t get very far. Derek, Mike and Russ came running in and tackled me back into the ocean. So I got my dunk in the water after all.

I spent the next hour or so talking to students, friends and family and taking lots of photos. I even got a chance to talk with another school that had come out to watch the run finish as well!

As time went on the crowd slowly thinned, the students having been given the rest of the day off, and soon there were only a few of us left. My house is only about 4 km from the beach and so after everyone was gone Derek, Russ and I took off for the final leg home. It took a little while longer than it might have, as we stopped off at the Red Lion Pub for a drink before continuing on home.

It’s hard to put into words the emotions I felt yesterday and today and this blog seems remarkably inadequate. The last 5 months have been the biggest adventure of my life. I’ve met a ton of great people, seen a ton of great things and hopefully, made a difference in the fight against prostate cancer.

Tomorrow I’m going to …

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