Written for the 2015 Victoria International Track Classic.
Centennial stadium, located on the grounds of the University of Victoria has seen many dramatic track and field performances over the years. Wednesday, Jun 10th will be no exception.
The Stadium has hosted every level of track meet from annual elementary, middle and high school as well as community meets, charity fun runs, professional meets and played host to the 1994 Commonwealth Games. There were some international-invitational, two and three-country meets hosted here as well, over the years. If only the stadium could talk.
As a child I remember watching district meets and later racing the 800m event a few times; lactic acid streaming into the forearms, harsh breaths with my body failing to supply enough oxygen to get my body around the seemingly massive track twice with a reasonable-looking finish.
I remember the one time I won an 800m race on that track. I was 12 or 13 and won by about 80-metres – a heck of a big distance. I never heard what my finish time was officially, but amongst the cacophony of several classmates and I messily jostling over someone’s very conveniently unattended piece of chocolate cake (he was probably racing), I heard two-twenty-something. I didn’t realize until years later that my race was a pretty fast performance. I also got to watch Ken Whilmhurst run in a different heat that day. He won too. The murmuring about him was that he had everything, good looks, good grades and the under-13 world record, which was 2:18, sans chocolate cake. I was so glad I didn’t have to race him. That was ages ago, when the Fonz made girls swoon with his “whoa” and turning jukeboxes on with a motivating punch or a kick, “eeeeh”.