Nanaimo runners good sports at major races

It’s on with the running shoes this week as we credit some of the top Nanaimo finishers at the Vancouver Sun Run and the Times Colonist 10K.

Within the past two weeks, two of the largest 10K road races in Canada have been held in our part of the world. So it’s on with the running shoes this week as we credit some of the top Nanaimo finishers in both events.

First came the Vancouver Sun Run, held on April 20. The largest road race in the country attracted an incredible field of more than 48,000 runners and the fastest proved to be Kenyan athlete Paul Kimugul who finished in 29 minutes and four seconds.

Among the runners who packed the streets of downtown Vancouver were 88 entrants from Nanaimo who made the trip to the mainland to take part. Leading the way for the local contingent was Forrest Simpson, who placed 14th in the huge field in 30:53. First in the M16-18 category and 41st in total was Joel DeSchiffart with his time of 33:14. Erin Burrett was the quickest local female runner. Her time of 34:42 gave her 78th overall and third in the F30-34 division.

Brandon Kumar ran the route in 41:50, Neil Gaudet in 43:37 and Adam Inglis in 45:04. Other top local runners were Joanne Douglas with a time of 46:09, Ben Barton with 49:33, Matthys Redelinghuys with 49:59 and Sydney Strenja with a time of 51:17. Rob Lavoie’s time was 51:34, Alli Bach’s was 51:35 and Sarah Laird’s was 52:05. Kevin and Jessica Brocklehurst finished in 52:26 and 52:43 respectively.

Last Sunday, the Times Colonist 10K was held in Victoria. An impressive total of 10,743 took part, including 247 from the Nanaimo area. I was among them and strategically positioned myself near the back of the crowd of runners in the marshalling area near the legislative buildings. The starting gun sounded at 8 a.m. and the pack of runners slowly started to move forward. Just as I shuffled toward the starting line, race announcers informed us that the leaders were already nearing the 3K mark. At that point I realized that my chances of winning weren’t great and decided just to jog/walk and enjoy the sunny morning.

As it turned out, it was Kimugul who was again victorious, crossing the finish line in 29 minutes and 44 seconds despite having to battle fairly strong headwinds along the Dallas Road waterfront portion of the route.

Fastest from Nanaimo was Byron Trajan, whose time of 34:47 earned his 32nd overall and ninth in the M30-34 age group. In 38th place, ninth among M35-39, came Brian Zurek in 35:31. Seventh in the M40-44 category and 51st in total, was Bryan Portman with a time of 36:29. Edwin Johnson finished in 39:02 for seventh in the M45-49 division.

Sean Reilly finished 133rd with a time of 39:17, Neil Gaudet was 328th in 42:46, Kevin Stedmon was 511th in 44:58 and Craig Work was 528th in 45:06. Claiming 10th in the M60-64 division was John Durkin with a strong run of 46:05. Also finishing in the top 1,000 was Brett Johnston, who was 948th in 48:31.

Michelle Krall was the top local female runner in the field. Krall crossed the finish line with a time of 50:14 for 1,233rd spot overall. Close behind her came Charles Wilson in 50:43 and Bill Dawson with a time of 50:54.

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

Ian Thorpe writes about sports Saturdays.