(ISN) – (Victoria, BC) – Damp, misty conditions greeted participants yesterday in the first race of the Frontrunners Island Race Series – the Harriers Pioneer 8K.
The race started and finished at Saanich Fairgrounds, and was hosted by the Prairie Inn Harriers (PIH). It was designated the BC Athletics Road Race Championship for all age categories, and the first race in the Timex BC Road Running Series. There were 606 finishers.
Vancouver’s Theo Hunt won the 36th Annual event in 24:59, 47 seconds off his personal best. Second was Port Moody’s John Corbett in 25:02 and third was Victoria’s Jim Finlayson in 25:47. Finlayson was also the top Master.
Hunt – who runs for Point Grey Track & Field Club – was pleased with his race. “I felt good and ran smooth from the start. John was with me until around 7 km, then I pulled away,” he said afterwards. He plans to run the Lower Mainland Race Series and to qualify for the World University Games in South Korea in July. “I run distances from 1500 metres to 10K, but by far I am successful in cross-country,” he added.
The women’s race was won by course record holder Natasha Wodak in 26:37. She dominated the field beating out last year’s winner Erin Burrett, who finished second, in 27:16. Burrett runs for the Bastion Running Club in Nanaimo. Third and top women’s master was Victoria’s Marilyn Arsenault, finishing in 28:19.
Wodak, who lives in Port Moody, set the Pioneer course record and a Canadian 8K record of 25:28 in 2013. She was never really challenged today. “I decided to go out with the boys and I felt really good,” she said. “I love this race – it’s a favourite of mine.” She has a busy year of racing: “I want to run the 10,000 metres at the Pan Ams, participate in the world cross-country championships in March and also do a fall marathon.
Three new age category course records were set. Finn Battersby in the Boys 1-15 (29:35); Marilyn Arsenault in W45-49 (28:19), and Mark Bennett in M55-59 (26:49). In the new M85-89 age category Maurice Tarrant finished in 50:02.
“The weather was a balmy 7 degrees with no precipitation, so perfect conditions for racing,” said Race Director, Kathleen Birney. “46 clubs were represented by racers with the largest contingent coming from the Prairie Inn Harriers with 64 runners.”
In the club standings the Prairie Inn Harriers lead with 811 points followed by Comox Valley Road Runners with 270, and Salt Spring Sneakers with 179.
Full race day results are available on: http://pih.bc.ca/results/Series.php
Eight races make up the Frontrunners Island Race Series. The Harriers Pioneer 8K will be followed by Cobble Hill 10K on January 25, Cedar 12K on February 8, Hatley Castle 8K on February 22, Synergy Health Management Ltd Bazan Bay 5K on March 8, Comox Valley RV Half Marathon on March 22, Merville 15K on April 12, and Sooke River 10K on April 19. 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.