The Great Race 2006

Here is a link to the history of the Great Race, sponsored by the Los Gatos Rotary Club.

This is the 5th consecutive year running the Great Race and the first year as a resident of Saratoga. It’s a fun little race with a real community feel. There are usually about 1500 people who line up in downtown Saratoga on Sunday morning. Some are there to race, some just to enjoy the run/walk from Saratoga to Los Gatos along Hwy 9.

The route is 4 miles of rolling hills with a net altitude decline. If you drive the course you wouldn’t think there any hills worth mention, but at mile 3 when you are running at top speed you are bound to notice the uphill grade!!

Heather and I got up early Sunday morning and drove over to Los Gatos to drop off a car at the finish line. We actually got up REALLY early, since we turned the clocks forward the night before to adjust for daylight savings time.

After driving back home we got ready and started the 2 mile run from our new house to the starting line in downtown Saratoga. The sky looked a bit threatening, but then it has looked like that every morning for the past month. We arrived at the starting line in Saratoga with about 20 minutes to spare before the start. We immediately realized that they were using timing chips and that we need to go pick ours up. After getting the chips we said our goodbyes until the finish line. Heather says I’m “funny and weird” before a race. I say I just have my “routine” and I need to warmup, use the bathroom and FOCUS….not necessarily in that order 🙂

With 3 minutes to go before the start I jogged down Big Basin Way to the front of the pack. I knew where to line up based on previous years finishes. With 1 minute to go they asked anyone who seriously thought they were going to attempt winning the race to move forward 10 feet. About 1 dozen folks ended up in the “elite” corral, a little funny since only about 2 of them ended up in front of me at the finish line. Heather experienced the same thing back were she lined up. There are markers for your expected min/mile pace…but nobody ever lines up where they should.

The gun went off and there was a little shoving as everyone sprinted down through Saratoga. There are always the rabbits who go out really fast and fade just as fast. There were about 30 people in front of me at the start and that was down to about 10 people by the 1/2 mile mark. The first mile is always fast but your fresh so the effort doesn’t seem quite as bad as the 4th mile. I managed to be running with a group of 4 or 5 guys through the first 2 miles. Everytime one of them would start picking up the pace I managed to hang. It wasn’t until the first major downhill at mile 2 that they started getting away. I seem gain some of the distance back on the uphill sections.

The second half is always hard, you are running at faster than 10K pace and there is a long gradual uphill around mile 3 where you really need to focus. After that hill is a big downhill into town, you turn right on Santa Cruz avenue and you have about 1/2 mile to go. At the bottom of the hill some young high school kid passed me and I tried to hang on his heels to the finish line. I envisioned myself running an 800 on the track…a familiar feeling where I’m trying to hang on the heels of my super fast track friends.

I finished faster than the previous year, which was my main goal for the race. I met Heather at the finish line and after a little post race recovery I ran the course backwards and continued all the way back to our house.

Below are our Great Race results for the last 5 years and here is a link to the online results for this year.

First
Name
Last
Name

Place
Sex
Place
Div
Place

Age

Time

Pace

Date

Dave LeRoy 10 10 5 42 0:22:47 5:42 4/2/2006
Heather LeRoy 239 45 15 32 0:31:05 7:46 4/2/2006
Dave LeRoy 16 16 9 41 0:23:02 5:45 4/3/2005
Dave LeRoy 15 15 8 40 0:22:40 5:40 4/4/2004
Dave LeRoy 14 14 3 39 0:22:29 5:38 4/6/2003
Dave LeRoy 20 19 9 38 0:22:25 5:36 4/7/2002

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