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Phoenix Running Club - Stories


 This  Summer  we  set  off  for  a  holiday  to  the  U.K.  to  visit  with  family  and  also  to  include  a  journey  over  to  France.  We  planned  to  stay  for  a  few  days  in  the  area  of    Normandy  where  the  initial  landings  of  the  Allied  combined  forces  took  place  which  would  signal  the  invasion  of  Europe  and  the  eventual  defeat  of  Nazi  Germany  and  the  end  of  the  horror  of  World  War  2.

At  this  time  each  year  we  hopefully  give  pause  to  remember  at  least  some  of  the  staggering  statistics  which  resulted  from  the  ambitions  of  an  evil  genius  who  at  one  point  led  his  country  out  of  ruin  but  eventually  to  almost  total  destruction.     

It  is  now  sixty  five  years  since  Hitler  was  finally  crushed  and  I  wonder  just  what  impact - if  any -  these  dreadful  years  have  on  our  younger  generations.  When  you  observe  the  attendance  at  the  various  memorial  services  on  November  11th  -  it  is  encouraging  to  see  the  numbers  of  people  who  turn  out  -  both  young  and  old.

 The  one  statistic  which  beggars  the  imagination  is  the  number  of  total  dead  as  a  result  of  this  five  year  war  -  best  estimates  are  that  forty  million  people  died  and    untold  millions  more  were  left  physically  and  mentally  scarred  by  the  horrors  which  took  place.  These  are  virtually  incomprehensible  numbers.  As  the  dreadful  Communist  dictator - Stalin -  was  once  reputed  to  have  said
“one  death  is  a  tragedy  but  a  million  deaths  are  a  statistic”

 It is  with  pride  that  all  Canadians  should  remember  the  tremendous  contribution  made  by  our  young  men  and  women  in  those  dark  days.  Over  one  million  men  and  women  served  our  country  and  of  those  -  more  than  45,000  lost  their  lives.

 We  visited  a  number  of  memorial  sites  in  France  and  -  just  like  the  sites  for  the  first  World  War – they  are  all  superbly  maintained.  Actual  size  of  grave  sites  vary  considerably  from  perhaps  two  or  three  dozen   to  over  10,000.  Without  exception  they  are  all  in  beautiful  condition  and  are  obviously  lovingly  attended.  It  is  a  very  strange  feeling  to  walk  amongst  such  a  sad  reminder  of  mans  evil  and  stupidity  and  to  read  on  so  many  headstones  that  so  many  young  men  around  twenty  years  of  age  lost  their  lives  so  far  from  home.  As  you  walk  around  these  memorial  sites  there  is  simply  no  call  to  talk  -  respect  through  silence  seems  so  obviously  what  is  called  for.

 I  have  taken  the  liberty  of  adding  a  few  photographs  to  these  thoughts.  Hopefully  it  might  convey  some  of  the  tragedy  and  sorrow  associated  with  this  period  of  history  those  sixty  five  years  ago.

 Jim  T. 

The Victoria marathon and half marathon

A comment from Larry Lorette:

The weather was a bit of a limiting factor for me. I would have traded the wind for rain without a doubt. But still I can't complain while running the most beautiful marathon course around and acheiving a personal best.

Attention phoenix running club

Hi, my name is Joey Gargaro, a member of the Phoenix Running Club. 

On Saturday October 2nd 2010, I ran in the Crescent Park  8km cross country race. I was surprised to see no members of our club so I thought to myself hmm… interesting.  I guess I have to go in it alone and represent and race hard.  I was doing good throughout the whole race until the final 4th lap when my legs started to burn (this is only my 3rd 8km race as I usually run 5 km races), but I thought to myself come on Joey don’t give up now .. almost there, keep it up, you’re doing  great.

All tired and exhausted I finished the race and the results came out that I finished in third in my age group of 19 and under.  Full results are not posted as yet.  Now it’s time for me to train and step it up to the next level and run in 10 km races.

The Wroclaw, Poland Marathon 2010

I have wanted to do some international races so when I found the Wroclaw, Poland Marathon to be roughly on the route of our East Europe trip this fall I made it a goal.

Kit Slade, sometimes Andrew Blabber and I boosted our Monday long runs up to 35K during the spring and summer.  I knew my tapering was going to be tough because we left for a Russia river cruise three weeks before the race.

Once in Russia I managed to get some tiny runs and one 17K run in but also got hit by a cold which knocked me out for a few days.  That is my excuse and I am sticking to it.

We drove into Wroclaw Saturday morning (and spent 3 hours trying to find our apartment) then took a taxi to the Olympic stadium to get my race package.  My online registration had not worked but I was quickly registered and received my marathon singlet and race number.  The race number has the chip taped to it so the receiving mat is actually an overhead wire.  Oh, and the cost of the race was zero because I am old.

Sunday morning Marilyn and I took a taxi out to the Olympic stadium again to join the mass of runners.  It seemed a shame that the stadium was about 800m from the start and finish lines so that would mean a long walk back to collect my kit and have a shower then another 800m back to the centre of action.


The race day was sunny and would reach about 23 to 25 degrees, just the way I like it.  My trusty Garmin heart monitor belt just died so I was going to have to gauge my pace the old fashioned way – start slow then taper.  Fortunately every three km or so was either a water station or a water, Powerade and banana station (indicated by a picture of a banana, oddly enough).  I made sure to walk each station and take all the offerings.  Most of the run was on pavement but some was on cobblestones.  Cobblestones aren’t too bad unless they are uneven.  The course loops around the whole town coming close to the zentrum at about 13K where I saw Marilyn.


Wroclaw has many neat buildings and churches but I was concentrating on the run. 

To no one’s surprise I felt good until about 30 or 35K then the legs started to feel heavy.  I kept on running but I’m sure got slower and slower.  I was glad to see the Olympic stadium area again.  My finishing time on the clock was 5:00:42 but my chip time was 4:57:47 which put me fourth among the over 70 guys.  I let the winner do it in 2:16 because he needed the car.  I was finisher number 1750 so I expect there were well over 2000 runners.

So I’ve done marathons in two continents now.  How about one in Australia next year? Or India?  It’s amazing how soon we forget the pain



                         Behind The Scenes At This Year’s Pinetree Classic

 Phoenix was coasting through a sunny, summer season generally looking forward to hosting our Pinetree Classic cross country meet in September. Some of us remembered last year’s event and the problems we had that were beyond our control. We hoped that this year’s event would run smoothly because we had made notes on improvements that could be implemented. We were wrong!
 As September 18th approached, Jim had to take control of a meet that looked as if it might have to be cancelled. The city told us that we could only use half of field 4 causing a course alteration. Ruby told us that the B.C. Frisbee Championships with 200 competitors would be using the facility and parking lot of which the city had no knowledge. John told Jim that he could not present the awards because he had to run the race in his new 70+ age category and suggested that Heather’s mum could be his replacement. Vic, the race director, had to go and run the Wroclaw Marathon in Poland. Katie Tongue, when asked to help, hurled herself over the handlebars of her bike and broke her collarbone. Gunther, who had already gone on a dozen holidays so far this year, decided it was time for another one. John Woodcock followed Gunther’s lead and went off to sunny Italy on vacation. Matt and Kathryn decided that it would be more fun to run a hundred miles that day and it began to look as if they were right. Poor Jim increased his use of swear words fourfold and, bucking all headwinds, vowed never to be Meet Director again. But, with great encouragement from the rest of the club, he soldiered on and the day arrived. It was pouring, but at least the frisbee crowd had been told not to show up or the police would greet them.

 To cut a long tale of woe short, when the venue was all ready and Jim had fine-tuned the funnel, the cones, the tents, the registration, the food and the coffee- all reminiscent of a Swiss watchmaker- the meet got underway. Jim raised the gun to start the race. God got the message and stopped the rain. From then on, everything ran like clockwork. Nobody took a wrong turn and Jim stopped swearing.

 A huge thanks go to all those club members and parents who worked with a lot of enthusiasm to make the 2010 Pinetree Cross Country race a success for well over 200 participants not to mention the $1000 raised, some of which should go to Jim to help convince him to be Race Director next year.

 John T.


Past stories - stories too good to delete - click here.