In this space two weeks ago we passed along congratulations to Nanaimo athletes who showed well in the Vancouver Sun Run and the Victoria Times Colonist 10K. Now it’s time to get back on the road again and acknowledge top local runners who took part in the second half of the Frontrunners Island Race Series.
The Island Series is a set of eight road races held during the first four months of each year. The races are of varying distances and each is held at a different location on the island.
Sidney was the site for the fifth and shortest race of the series. The Bazan Bay 5K featured 679 finishers, including members of Nanaimo’s Bastion Running Club and Westwood Running Club.
Of the locals, first to the finish line was Joel DeSchiffart, whose time of 15:38 earned him 15th overall in the field and second in the M16-19 age division. In 49th spot was Byron Trajan, fifth in the M30-34 age group in 17:15. Erin Burrett took fourth in the F30-34 division and 76th overall with a time of 18:04, while Damian Allen’s finish in 18:14 gave him 10th in the M30-34 class and 78th position overall. Also in the top 100 of the field were Nanaimo runners Daniel Struthers, 91st in 18:28 and Alex Counsell who finished 93rd with a time of 18:30. In 102nd spot and first among M65-59 runners, was Arjan Gelling in 18:44.
The longest event in the Island Series was the sixth race, the Comox Valley Half Marathon. Of the 431 people who completed the distance, Stephen Struthers of Nanaimo was the fastest local, third overall and first in the M25-29 division with a time of one hour, 13 minutes and 53 seconds. Trajan had another strong race, finishing 11th in the field and third in the M30-34 age group with his time of 1:18:39. Travis Pirozzini was close behind in 15th, third in the M20-24 division at 1:20:01. In 32nd place, fourth in the M40-44 group, was Edwin Johnston thanks to his time of 1:23:51. Placing first in the M65-69 division and 33rd overall was Gelling with a time of 1:24:02. Other locals in the top 100 of the half marathon field were Sean Reilly, Jason Wright, Simon Weber, Allen, Shawn Boyd, Jason Gress, Cheryl Davies, Matthew Allardyce, Victoria Boyd and De Orrell.
Then came the Merville 15K held near Campbell River. Nearly 300 runners were in the field for that one, with Trajan leading the locals by finishing fourth overall and first in the M30-34 age division with a time of 52:57. Also with a top 10 finish was Pirozzini, who ran the course in 54:56 for seventh spot and second in the M20-24 category.
A time of 57:32 was recorded by David DePasquale, giving him 15th overall and fourth in the M45-49 division. Fifth in that same group and 19th in total was Weber thanks to his time of 59:47. Allen had a finish of 1:00:39, good for 25th position and sixth in the M30-34 division. First Nanaimo woman to the finish line was Davies. Her time was 1:04:05, making her 42nd in the field and second in the F35-39 group. Darren Katila finished 54th in 1:05:57, while Deborah Epps was 57th and first in the F40-44 class in 1:06:12. Other local runners in the top 100 were John Durkin in 1:08:40, Al Shirley in 1:09:01 and Bill Hollingshead in 1:11:31, which placed him first in the M70-74 division and an impressive 92nd overall.
The final race in this year’s Island Race Series was the Sooke River 10K, which involved a total of 352 finishers. A number of familiar Nanaimo names were there, led by DeSchiffart who outraced everyone else to the finish line in just 33:28 to claim first place.
Trajan had another impressive showing, earning fourth overall and first in the M30-34 division with his time of 35:00. Also winning his M20-24 age division was Pirozzini, who finished in eighth spot in 35:25. Holden Gill placed 23rd, second in the M16-19 group thanks to a time of 38:40. Finishing 25th and 26th, fifth and sixth respectively in the M30-34 age division, was Allen in 38:47 and Jason Wright in 38:51. Counsell placed 29th overall, fifth among M25-29, with his posted time of 39:00. Weber was 39th in the field at 39:48 and Daniel Struthers placed third among M20-24 and 51st overall with a time of 41:22. Also in the top 100 were Nanaimo female runners Davies and Epps. Davies finished 64th, third among F35-39, in 42:12, while Epps was 74th overall and first in the F40-44 division, at 43:03.
For runners affiliated with clubs, points for participation in any of the series races were then tabulated to determine final club standings. Thanks to the efforts of its member athletes, Nanaimo’s Bastion Running Club managed a strong fourth-place finish.
Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.
Ian Thorpe writes about sports Saturdays.