Over the many times I have attended the Victoria Marathon running festival held annually on Thanksgiving weekend, one thing always seems the same. No matter how miserable the weather might be leading up to the event, participants on the morning of the run always seem to be rewarded with clear skies and near-perfect conditions. That was the case again this past weekend, where heavy rains and windy conditions Saturday night gave way to clear and dry weather on Sunday morning. Thus giving the several thousand entrants in the marathon, half-marathon and 8km races something extra to be thankful for. Certainly the ideal weather added to the breathtaking views along the Dallas Road waterfront. Or in my case maybe it was just the effort of running that took the breath away…
Obviously breathing wasn’t a problem for Alberta’s Daniel Kipkoech, who defended his Victoria Marathon title by racing the 42.2-kilometre distance in just two hours, 25 minutes and 40 seconds. In the field of 1,200, winner of the women’s title was Nanaimo’s own Erin Burrett, who posted a fine time of 2:39:17 in her first-ever marathon race.
Other top local results saw David Depasquale third in M50-54 in 2:59:00. Robert Shurniak crossed the line in 3:13:33, Dan Tietzen was second among M55-59 in 3:20:49 and Christopher Schuld finished in 3:22:55. Rhonda Wilbey’s time of 3:48:22 put her just ahead of Jorgen Jensen who was first in the M65-69 division with a time of 3:48:35.
Also finishing the marathon in less than four hours were local runners Kevin Stedmon in 3:53:50, Paul Ferguson in 3:55:05 and Gerry Boutin in 3:56:31.
Meanwhile, another 3,259 athletes competed in the half-marathon event. First to the finish among Nanaimo runners was Edwin Johnston, seventh in the M45-49 category with a time of 1:27:49. Owen Scadeng finished in 1:28:41, Jon Hillier in 1:29:47, Mike Greenaway in 1:30:23, Sean Hilhorst in 1:30:30, Darren Frey in 1:33:20, Rob Vanden Elsen in 1:35:05 and Malcolm McAdie in 1:35:07. Kevin Palmer claimed fifth in the M55-59 division with his time of 1:35:44,
Next to the finish line were several local women runners, led by Stephanie Layfield in 1:37:20. Carly Falck finished in 1:38:13 and Elizabeth Manson in 1:39:26.
Another large crowd, 2,352 to be exact, took part in the 8km race. The Nanaimo contingent did very well, with several locals placing in the top 10 of their respective divisions. Bryan Portman led the way, 11th overall and first in the M40-44 category with a time of 28:28. Nate Seaman was second in M13-15, at 32:05, with Mitch Couch ninth in M30-34 at 34:01.
Quickest local female runner was Mandy Zapshala, who reached the finish line fourth in the F25-29 category in 34:08. Jake Seaman was third in M01-12 at 34:53. Breanne Manson was eighth among F30-34 in 35:10, while Hannah Bassett was just behind, fourth in F20-24 with a time of 35:12.
Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.