BY IAN THORPE
Each year, dedicated runners from our city participate in the Island Race Series, co-ordinated by the Vancouver Island Runners’ Association. Some of those who take part are not affiliated with any particular running club, but the majority of local entrants are members of Nanaimo’s Bastion Run Club.
The Island Series consists of eight road races of varying lengths held in different locations on the Island between January and April. With this year’s series heading into its final month, we catch up this week with top Nanaimo results from the first races…
Opening event in this year’s Series was the 40th annual Pioneer 8K in Saanichton. A total of 547 runners took part, including nearly 50 from the Nanaimo area. Of those, first to the finish line was Jonathan Behnke. Behnke had a time of 26 minutes and 30 seconds, finishing in ninth place in total and second in the M25-29 age group. Bastion Club vice-president Shelby Drope’s time of 26:37 earned him 13th place overall and third in the M30-34 division.
Five other locals finished in the top 100 of the field. Jackson Isnor was 27th in 28:10, Eric White was 35th in 28:59, Neil Gaudet was 53rd in 30:43 and Cameron Laturnus was 57th in 30:58. Finishing in 61st place overall was Nanaimo’s Melissa Ross, second in the F35-39 division with a time of 31:20.
Second race was the Cobble Hill 10K, which attracted 45 locals among the total field of 455. This time Drope improved to second overall with a fine run of 33 minutes and 16 seconds. Next locals were a pair of younger runners in the M16-19 age group. Keaton Heisterman finished seventh in total and won the age division with his time of 35:05, while teammate Isnor placed 22nd overall and was second in the same division in 36:50.
Trevor Ruck was next, 24th in the field in 37:21, followed by Gaudet, 26th in 37:32. First Bastion Club female to the finish line was Ross, first in the F31-19 division and 37th in total with a time of 39:17.
Another pair of young runners was next to finish. M01-15 age group competitors Jake Putz and Jayden Watson were 38th and 39th overall, crossing the finish line together in a time of 39:29. Other locals in the top 100 of the race were Jessica McKierahan and Tyler Heisterman. McKierahan was 51st, third in the F35-39 grouping, in 40:46. Heisterman, president of Nanaimo Track and Field Club, showed good form with a 69th place finish in 42:18.
Orginally, the Cedar 12K hosted by the Bastion Club was supposed to be the third race in this year’s Island Series. However, snowfall on the February 10 race day caused the event to be postponed. As a result, the third event became the Hatley Castle 8K, held on the grounds of Royal Roads in Colwood at the end of February.
Behnke was once again the Bastion Club’s top runner, taking second place overall in the field of 356 finishers in 27:44. Drope posted a time of 27:48 for third place and first in the M30-34 division. First in the F35-39 grouping was Ross, 18th overall with a time of 31:29, while Watson was 20th in the field and first in the M01-15 division with his finish in 31:36. Gaudet finished 21st in 31:49 and a time of 31:54 gave Putz 22nd and second in the M01-15 age group. Then came Fred Jeffery, 41st in 33:53. Also in the top 100 were Sheila Dorman and Holly Pirozzini. Dorman was 88th, first in the F55-59 grouping in 36:58, while Pizozzini was second in the same division and 96th overall with a time of 37:41.
Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.