by Louise Hodgson-Jones
January 13, 2014, Victoria (ISN) – The first race in the Frontrunners Island Race Series – the Harriers Pioneer 8K – took place yesterday. The race started and finished at Saanich Fairgrounds, and was hosted by the Prairie Inn Harriers (PIH). It was also the first race in the Timex BC Road Running Series. There were 625 finishers.
The 2013 Pioneer and overall series winner Geoff Martinson won in 23:41 – eight seconds faster than last year and a personal best. Vancouver’s Rob Watson was second in 24:02 and third was Australian Adam Byles in 24:40. Victoria’s Jim Finlayson ran 25:17 to win the Masters category.
Martinson – who runs for the Prairie Inn Harriers – had set himself a sub-24 minute goal. “I had a fairly conservative start. Rob (Watson) went out hard but I was able to catch him. He was on my tail until about 6k but he was never far behind me,” Martinson said. “There was awesome competition out there today.” He isn’t planning on running the whole series this year but has set goals for the Bazan Bay 5k in March and then hopes to break the TC10K course record in April.
The women’s field was equally competitive with the top three women all finishing within 44 seconds of each other. Erin Burrett from the Bastion Running Club in Nanaimo ran the race of her life to win in 27:13. It was her first-ever Pioneer victory and the first time she has defeated BC Athletics Road Runner of the Year and Canadian 8K Record Holder, Natasha Wodak. Wodak came second in 27:21. Third was Vancouver’s Sabrina Wilkie in 27:57. Top female Master was local favourite Lucy Smith finishing in 28:27 a new age category course record (F45-49).
“The 35th annual Pioneer 8K was designated by BC Athletics as the 2014 BC 8K Road Race Championship which brought a wealth of high performance athletes from the Greater Vancouver area to join the hundreds of Vancouver Island runners,” said Bob Reid, Elite Athlete Director. “At the finish of the race it was Vancouver Island athletes that collected the championship medals and prize money in all junior, senior and master age categories.”
The top female junior set a new age category course record (1-15) – Desirae Ridenour in 31:17, and Yonden Sherpa won the junior male title in 30.22 (16-19). Three other age category records were set – in the Men’s 60-64 Chris Peterson (27:35); Women’s 65-69 Roslyn Smith (36:43), and in Women’s 70-74 Jill Davis in 44:00.
In the club standings the Prairie Inn Harriers lead with 654 points followed by Bastion Running Club with 279 and Comox Valley Road Runners with 228.
Full race day results are available on: http://racedaytiming.ca/results/Pioneer2014
Eight races make up the Frontrunners Island Race Series. The Harriers Pioneer 8K will be followed by Cobble Hill 10K on January 26, Cedar 12K on February 9, Hatley Castle 8K on February 23, Synergy Health Management Ltd Bazan Bay 5K on March 9, Comox Valley RV Half Marathon on March 23, Merville 15K on April 6, and Sooke River 10K on April 13. Synergy Health Management Ltd Bazan Bay 5K and the Comox Valley RV Half Marathon are also part of the Timex BC Series. All races are sanctioned by BC Athletics.