Runners tend to obsess over their ‘personal best’ times, but I’m ridiculously proud of my ‘personal worst’ time on the Emperor’s Challenge. With an official distance of 20km, it’s just shy of a proper half marathon, but my finish time was a good two hours slower than my best half time of the past year. What made this race special was that I ran it with my 66-year-old mother — her first (and unless I can somehow sweet-talk her into joining me for a RunDisney event, last) race EVER!
The Emperor’s Challenge takes place on Babcock Mountain, south of Tumbler Ridge, BC — about an hour south of my parents’ farm. With a total elevation gain of 2,000 feet from the start line to the summit before you head back down to the finish, you get some amazing views to distract you from the uphill slog.
Going into the race, my main goals were to 1) finish within the 4:30 course time limit, and 2) not be last. (And secretly I hoped to pace my mom to an age group medal, but alas, northern BC has some fast old broads in the 65+ Super Masters division.) My mom and I crossed the finish line — hand in hand — at 4:17:12! Cutting it a bit close, but I’ll take it!
One good thing about running a half marathon at half my usual pace — lots of time to stop for photos: