October 11, 2013, VICTORIA (ISN) – There will be exciting competition this year in the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon with the defending champion Thomas Omwenga, back to defend his title and the 2010 women’s champion Catrin Jones returning.
Three Vancouver runners will also be vying to break the 25 year old Masters course record. The 34th Annual event, which takes place on Sunday, October 13th, had 11,374 registrations when online registration closed at noon yesterday. With registration re-opening at the Race Expo this afternoon, numbers will exceed the 2012 total of 11,503.
This will be Omwenga’s third year running Victoria where he set the course record of 2:14:33 in 2011. Early on this year the Kenyan won the BMO Vancouver Marathon. He will be challenged by Lamech Mosoti, who set a personal best of 2:13:28 at the Grandma’s Marathon in 2012. The Kenyan, who trains in Phoenix, was third in 2009 and has openly said he is chasing the record. Hot on their heels will be Gilbert Kiptoo, who was second last year, and who has a PB of 2:14:50, and Kip Kangogo, known for his consistent TC10K wins.
This year could see Tom Howard’s 1988 Masters time broken with three athletes setting their sights on the title – Kevin O’Connor, Graeme Wilson and Oliver Utting. O’Connor and Wilson have dominated this category in recent years with PB’s of 2:26:56 and 2:27:58 respectively. Utting will be debuting as a master and has a PB of 2:21:03.
In the women’s field, 2010 champion Catrin Jones, who was third last year, set a personal best of 2:44:30 earlier this year in Ottawa, and is coming off a trip to the Francophone Games where she represented Canada in the 10,000m. Pushing her will be Katherine Moore from Vancouver who was third in the 2009 event when she set her personal best. She was top Canadian female in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2010 and 2011. Joining her will be Renee Gordon from Eugene who won the Eugene Half Marathon this year and she is projecting a very competitive time.
Victoria’s Geoff Martinson is top seed in the Half Marathon. He was second last year setting a personal best of 1:05:39, and hopes to go one better on Sunday. Geoff has represented Canada in the 1500m at the Track and Field World Championships,was Top Canadian in this year’s TC10K and won this year’s Frontrunners Island Race Series. Challenging him will be Willy Kimosop who was third last year in the Half Marathon and who has had a great record in the TC10K over the years. Kelly Weibe will be running his debut Half Marathon. He was the 2012 Sun Run Champion and CIS Cross Country Champion, and has represented Canada at the World Cross Country Championships.
In the Masters category Jim Finlayson is the clear favourite. He was top master in the TC10K and the Sun Run this year and is a previous champion in Victoria at both the Marathon and Half Marathon.
In the Women’s race, we have another debut Half Marathon runner – 2012 London Olympian, Hilary Stellingwerff. She is an eight-time national team member and recently won the Zoot 10K in Victoria. Pushing her will be Kim Doerkson and Anne-Marie Madden. Both have recently run under 1:19, but will themselves be pushed by local legend Lucy Smith who has a PB of 1:13:35. Smith is a 19-time Canadian Champion and two- time World Championship Silver medalist
Featured in the 8K Road Race are locals Nick Walker, Bruce Deacon and Craig Odermatt. This could be a great Victoria battle – Walker’s PB is 25:06, Deacon has run 23:32 and Odermatt, 25:10. On the women’s side we have defending champion Rachel Cliff. Cliff won last year in her first road 8K in 27:43, but she will be challenged by UVic Vike Brittany Therrien who us running her first road 8K this year. She is the 2013 Canada West 1500m Champion and the 2012 Canada West Cross Country Silver Medalist. As a Master we have former Marathon winner Cheryl Nicholls in contention.
The total purse available in the Dairyland Elite Athlete Program, including incentive bonuses, is $38,800. Registration is still open for all events with late entries being accepted at the Race Expo, at the Victoria Conference Centre, from 3:00pm – 7:30pm on Friday, October 5, and 9:00am – 6:00pm on Saturday, October 6. There is no race day registration.
To date the Marathon has 2,060 registrants; the Half Marathon has 5,393; the 8K Road Race has 2,725, and the Thrifty Foods Kids Run is at 1,196. For more details, visit www.runvictoriamarathon.com.