Running Wild: Giving a hoot


I started my day listening in the dark to an owl in our neighbourhood (Mill Bay). That got me thinking about birds and those thoughts got me up out of bed and into Duncan, to run on a portion of the dyke trails I hadn’t tried before. I began at the dog park parking lot up from the roundabout intersection of Beverly and Lakes roads. Even though I set out on the trail at just after 6 am and it was still dark, I had company and safety on the path, in the form of two women-walkers and their dog. I followed the trail (which I believe is called “Section One”), from the

judith Belton

Judith Belton

starting point to the Somenos Marsh Society’s bird-watching and nature park. The path provided an easy, dry, flat and scenic route (even though it was dark), behind the Alexander neighbourhood garden, Alexander and Quamichan schools and the school board offices. (You get enough diffused light from the neighbouring streets and, later on, the highway, to see. I also had my headlight.) On the other side of the trail, well below the level of the running route, are the treed and bushed Somenos Flats lands, some of which are furrowed farmers’ fields. How often do you have the opportunity to run or walk through a marsh? I heard the morning air sighing through the limbs of Lombardy poplars and smelled cottonwood resin.

Getting to the bird-watching park via this route and method (running) was enjoyable and much superior to seeing it fleetingly from the highway en route to somewhere else. I always think to myself that I’d like to interrupt my drive and tour the park, but I rarely have time to do so. Though it was still dark when I arrived there and I failed to bring my glasses, binoculars or camera, I was able to utilize another sense. I listened to Canada geese and mallards enjoying the wet pools and ponds in the area. Later I saw a group of geese settling down to breakfast in the stubbled rows of what had recently been a cornfield.

I set out this morning wanting to do a 10 km run and I found by the time I retraced my steps on Section One and then went along Lakes Rd. to Trunk (Section Two) and back, I had done only a little more that half of that. Section One is listed on an information sign at the trailhead as being 1.79 km; Section Two – 1.41 km I filled out my run to 10 km by using the track at the Cowichan Sportsplex and doing slow run/fast run interval training. Someday I’ll find that night-owl and thank it for my great Sunday morning run.



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