Bastion club sets blistering pace

Let’s acknowledge local Bastion Running Club members who have been competing in this year’s Frontrunners Island Race Series.

Last week we passed along congratulations to Nanaimo athletes who took part in the Vancouver Sun Run and the Times Colonist 10K event in Victoria. Now, let’s acknowledge local Bastion Running Club members who have been competing in this year’s Frontrunners Island Race Series.

The series is a set of eight road races held during the first four months of each year. Each event is held at a different location on the Island and the distances vary with each competition. Some weeks ago we covered results from the first four races in the series, so let’s now review the second half…

The fifth race of the Island series was the Bazan Bay 5K in Sidney, where a number of local runners finished in the top 100 of the field of 748 participants. Fastest of the Bastion crew was Joel DeSchiffart, whose impressive time of 15 minutes and five seconds rated him 10th overall. Byron Trajan was next, 34th with his time of 16:14. Then came Erin Burrett, 54th overall and first in the F30-34 division in 17:03. Damian Allen was 64th in 17:24, Holden Gill 88th in 18:00 and Gareth Saunders 90th in 18:01. Special mention also goes to Arjan Gelling, first in the M65-69 division with a time of 18:31 and Bill Hollingshead who was first in the M70-74 group thanks to his finish in 22:34.

Traditionally the longest event in the Island Series is the sixth race, the Comox Valley Half Marathon. Of the 512 finishers this year, Trajan was the fastest local, 14th overall, completing the course in 1:17:37.

David Depasquale was 37th in 1:22:42, with Scott Jones 56th in 1:26:46. First Nanaimo woman to the finish line was Wendy Simms, who placed 64th overall and first in the F40-44 category with her time of 1:27:29. Also in the top 100 were Sean Reilly, 88th with a posted time of 1:30:27 and Norm Thibault with a finish in 1:31:54 for 95th in the field

Next competition was the Merville 15K held near Campbell River. Some 345 runners were in the field for that one, with Trajan again leading the locals with a finish in 57:26 to earn him 13th overall.

Depasquale finished 18th thanks to his time of 58:29 and then came Gelling with a strong finish in 59:59 to place 25th in the field and first in the M65-69 division. Allen posted a time of 1:02:35 for 43rd overall. First Bastion female runner to the finish line was Cheryl Davies, who was 45th in total and first in the F35-39 division with her time of 1:02:43.

Also in the top 100 was Reilly, 48th in 1:03:24. Yanna Debelic was first in the F40-44 category and 61st overall with a time of 1:04:48. Placing 67th was Bastion runner Darren Katila thanks to a time of 1:06:38 and in 87th overall was John Durkin in 1:10:57.

The eighth and final race in this year’s Island Race Series was the Sooke River 10K, held near the end of April with a field of 389 competitors. Allen was the first Nanaimo runner this time, placing 22nd with a time of 38:19, Gelling turned in another strong performance to finish 29th overall and first in the M65-69 division at 39:09. In 37th spot came Karl Nykwist, thanks to his recorded time of 39:38.

As in the Merville race, Cheryl Davies was the quickest female Bastion runner to the finish line. Davies claimed 46th in the field with her time of 40:12. Next local to complete the course was Stephen O’Brien, who finished in 42:37 for 71st overall. Also in the top 100 were Nanaimo sisters Marita and Erica DeSchiffart. The two siblings placed first and second in the F16-19 race division and 73rd and 83rd overall, with times of 42:43 and 43:36 respectively.

Following the Merville race, points for participation in any of the Series races were tabulated for runners affiliated with organized clubs and individual and club standings were determined. Again this year the powerful Prairie Inn Harriers Running Club took first place, racking up a total of 3,939 points. However, the local Bastion Running Club did extremely well to finish second overall among all the clubs taking part with 2,169 points. Individual standings saw Trajan place sixth in the overall points count for men. In the women’s standings, Davies was fifth and Erica DeSchiffart eighth overall. Congratulations go to all the runners who competed and contributed to the Bastion Club’s success.

Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.

Ian Thorpe writes about sports Saturdays.