BY IAN THORPE
We’re on the road again this week, racing to acknowledge top local runners who took part in the second half of the Island Race Series.
Nanaimo’s Bastion Run Club is always well represented in the Island Series and this year was certainly no exception. We’ll pick things up with the fifth race of the set, the Port Alberni Paper Chase 15K. A field of 234 runners took part, including nearly 40 Bastion members. First local to the finish line was Jonathan Behnke, fourth overall and first in the M25-29 division with a time of 54:27. Erin Burrett was 14th in the field and first in the F35-39 group, finishing in 57:51. Jordan Brietzke had a time of 58:51. Then came Patrick Dwyer, second among M45-49 in 59:53. Matthew Ness was third in the M25-29 class with his time of 1:04:24, Carolyn Swanson took first in F45-49 in 1:06:37 and Jessica McKierahan was second among F35-39 in 1:07:04. Olivia Lundman was first in the F01-15 age group in 1:08:25 and Bill Hollingshead was first in the M75-79 division with a time of 1:27:18.
Next came the Comox Valley RV Half-Marathon, where more than 30 Bastion runners were part of the field of 372 competitors. Again Behnke and Burrett were the two fastest locals. Behnke placed 10th overall and second in the M25-29 group with a time of 1:21:03, while Burrett was first in the F35-39 division in 1:21:11. Behind them came Dwyer in 1:27:18, Ness in 1:28:16, Brian Curley in 1:28:49, Mark Blackell in 1:29:16 and Darren Frey in 1:29:29. Swanson claimed first in the F45-49 division with her time of 1:33:14, Holly Pirozzini was second among F55-59 in 1:41:05 and Janet Wright was first among F65-69 in 1:52:00.
The seventh race of the Island Series was the Sooke River 10K, which attracted 271 entrants including 30 Bastion runners. Behnke had another fine showing, placing second overall and first in the M25-29 group with his time of 35:25. Burrett was again the quickest Bastion female finisher, first in the F35-39 division in 37:06.
Dwyer placed second in the M45-49 group with a time of 38:52 and Swanson was first in F45-49 in 42:44. Then came Jason De Ruiter in 43:50, Olivia Lundman who was first in F01-15 in 44:38, Daniel Frick in 44:55 and Pirozzini who took third in F55-59 with a finish in 46:45. As well, Wright and Hollingshead once again won their respective divisions.
The final stop in this year’s Island Series was Sidney, site of the Bazan Bay 5K. A large field of 519 runners took part, with over 40 Bastion members among them. This time it was Shelby Drope leading the locals to the line, finishing 12th overall and third in the M30-34 group with a time of 16:09. Next was Behnke, second among M25-29 in 16:17, then Melissa Ross who was second in F35-39 in 17:36. Others in the top 100 were Dwyer, Jake Putz, Neil Gaudet and Swanson, while Hollingshead was again first in the M75-79 group.
Overall it was a great Island Series for the Bastion Run Club, which finished second in team points with 3,131, just 16 behind the Ceevacs club from Cowichan Bay. Club president Jane Campbell and race director Jim Rutherford send word that it marked the strongest Bastion showing in almost two decades. Bastion had 235 runners finish a race in the series and averaged 29 runners in each competition. Plenty of personal best times were recorded and Bastion runners placed in the top 10 of most age groups. Drope was named the overall series champion thanks to his three race victories during the season. Ross was the top female Bastion runner.
Next up for Bastion members will be assisting with the return of a Nanaimo trail race in the Island Trail Racing Series on June 9.
Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.