The start of the Bastion Run Club’s Cedar 12K race on Sunday. (Ross Palfery/submitted photo)

Home-course advantage helps Nanaimo runners win Cedar 12K

Current Bastion club runner Melissa Ross and former Bastion runner Jonathan Behnke winners Sunday

The Bastion Run Club’s signature race was a competitive one this morning.

The Cedar 12K, part of the Vancouver Island Race Series, drew nearly 400 participants to town.

Jonathan Behnke and Melissa Ross were the winners, with Behnke finishing in 40 minutes, six seconds to hit the tape 15 seconds ahead of runner-up Mark Crydeman of Campbell River. Sean Chester of Victoria was third in 41:47.

Nanaimo’s Ross was first woman to finish, crossing in 46:15, ahead of Victoria runners Patricia Roney and Tara Tudor.

Behnke ran with the Bastion club for four years before moving to Vancouver, and Sunday’s result marked his first win on the Island Series.

“I had a 3:20-per-kilometre goal pace going in. Mark was ahead of me but [I] knew after the turnaround that I could catch him,” Behnke said in a press release.

Ross said in the release that she was “stoked” to win her club’s race on Sunday.

“Patricia and I are rivals going back and forth on trail runs,” said Ross. “We were neck and neck for most of the race but I pulled away over the last five kilometres, and I had to put in a hard effort to finish.”

Another noteworthy time came in the men’s 50-54 division, in which Craig Odermatt of Victoria set a course record of 42:25 for his age class.

More than 80 volunteers helped host the run and Jim Rutherford, race director, congratulated all participants.

“It was a perfect day for running and resulted in many outstanding performances,” he said.

The next race in the series is the Hatley Castle 8K on Feb. 23. For more information about the series, visit

READ ALSO: Cedar 12K run is this weekend

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