Nanaimo’s Bastion club wants to get off to a running start

Bastion Run Club members embarking on Island Race Series

BY IAN THORPE

Snow and rain have made outdoor activity difficult this past month and runners have been especially challenged to maintain their training.

Full credit, then, to dedicated members of Nanaimo’s Bastion Run Club who find a way to keep fit all year long. Established back in 1981, the local club for recreational and competitive runners has been a mainstay in our community ever since.

The Bastion club held its annual general meeting near the end of last year. With Jane Campbell deciding to step aside as head of the club, members welcomed new president Patrick Dwyer. Vice-president is Barry Becker and Denise Bonin continues as treasurer and membership chair. Carene Booth is the club’s social coordinator, Sean Sherstone is social media coordinator and Jim Rutherford returns as race director.

During Campbell’s two-year tenure as president there was a conscious effort to re-establish and re-educate what the club stands for and what members do in the community. The ‘3C’ motto was developed, standing for the club’s commitment to community, camaraderie and competition. In her final president’s report, Campbell reported on those three areas.

Related to community, the Bastion Club last year presented the third annual Arjan Gelling Scholarship of $500 to a graduating student. Named to honour a popular former club member, the award was awarded to Makayla Mitchell, who as part of her application wrote an essay on how running has impacted her life. Among other community contributions, the club has volunteered at the Westwood Lake Triathlon, donated money to a local mountain bike club, supported local athletes and sponsored two needy families at Christmastime.

Camaraderie is an important component for Bastion club members. Each January begins with the New Year’s Day Run and Dip at Westwood Lake, with Christmas goodies supplied for all to enjoy. There is an annual spring social held at the Nanaimo Hornets RFC rugby club, a Christmas Light Run followed by socializing held each December and running clinics and practice sessions offered throughout the year for members to train and socialize.

For those so inclined, that training can lead to opportunities for competition. Each year numerous Bastion club members represent their club in the Island Race Series held between January and April. Last year, the Nanaimo club placed a strong second overall in team points earned during the series and seven members were in the top forty individual standings. Leading the way was Jonathan Benke, fourth overall in point standings and first in his age group. Jackson Isnor, Jaydon Watson and Sheila Dorman were also tops in their respective age divisions. Holly Pirozzini and Jake Putz were both second in their age groups and Neil Gaudette third.

The Bastion club each year hosts one of the runs in the Island Series and this year’s event is approaching quickly. The Cedar 12K will be run on Feb. 9, at 11 a.m. It takes about eighty volunteers to stage the race, which serves as a fundraising event for the club as well as an opportunity for competition. So again this year race director Jim Rutherford is looking for volunteers, whether they are club members or not. Help is needed for course marshalling, course setup, registration table, food preparation, parking, water table, award presentations and other areas, with a time commitment of approximately two hours.

If interested, e-mail racedirector@bastionrunclub.ca. And to become a Bastion club member, cost is just $20 for an individual or $30 for a family and registration can be done online through www.bastionrunclub.ca.

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

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