Runners on the move to start year

Dedicated runners from Nanaimo’s Bastion Run Club participate each year in the Island Race Series.

Dedicated runners from Nanaimo’s Bastion Run Club participate each year in the Island Race Series sponsored by the Vancouver Island Runners’ Association. The series consists of eight road races of varying lengths held in different locations on the island between January and April. With the series now more than half over, we catch up this week with top Bastion club results from the first four races…

Kicking things off was the Pioneer 8K in Saanichton, where 492 runners took part including 22 from the Bastion Club. Of those, first to the finish line was Jonathan Behnke, whose time of 28 minutes and 59 seconds earned him 29th place overall. Also in the top 100 was Yanna Debelic, second in the F45-49 division with a time of 33:15. Jorgen Jensen placed second in the M65-69 group by finishing in 35:50. Next came Jeff O’Donnell in 36:12, Kevin Stedmon in 37:03, John Berger in 37:43, Daniel Frick in 38:07, Dave Shillabeer in 38:35 and Bob Cook in 38:52. Denise Bonin was third in the F60-64 group with a time of 41:33, Janet Wright finished in 41:48 and Bill Hollingshead was first in the M75-59 division in 42:24.

Second race was the Cobble Hill 10K, which attracted 31 Bastion runners among the total field of 424. This time Erin Burrett was the fastest local, earning seventh overall and first in the F35-39 division with her time of 34:59. Jeremy Clegg placed 14th and first in the M35-39 group in 36:17, Behnke was 19th overall in 36:35 and Melissa Ross was 29th overall and first in the F30-34 division in 38:24. Other Nanaimo runners in the top 100 of the field were Mike Gregory in 39:04, Patrick Dwyer in 40:30, Cheryl Davies in 42:15 and Jessica McKierahan who finished in 43:42.

Scheduled as the third race in the series was the Sooke River 10K. Snowy winter weather forced cancellation of the race early in February and it was subsequently rescheduled to a later date. So instead, next race was the Hatley Castle 8K, held on the grounds of Royal Roads in Colwood. Once again Behnke was the Bastion leader, finishing third in the field of 369 runners with a time of 28:23. Debelic was first in the F45-49 group with her finish in 35:03. Next came O’Donnell in 36:55, Stedmon in 38:01, Frick in 39:58 and Ross Palfery in 42:49. Denise Bonin was second in the F60-64 division with a time of 42:53 and Janet Wright was third in the same division in 43:50.

Next up was the Bazan Bay 5K, held earlier this month in Sidney. A total of 15 Bastion runners were in the field of 524, led to the finish line by Robert Brunelle. Brunelle claimed 15th spot overall and first in the M35-39 age group with a finishing time of 16:40. First in the F30-34 division and 46th in total was Ross thanks to her time of 18:11. Next local to the finish line was O’Donnell in 21:14. Frick crossed the line in 21:45 and Kathy Sihota in 21:54. Third in the M65-59 division was Cook in 23:36, while Bonin was third in the F60-64 group with a 24:57 finish. Margaret Merrett reached the finish line in 25:01. Then came Hollingshead in 25:37, good for first in the M75-79 age group.

The Island Series continues on April 2 with the Port Alberni 10K. Then the Bastion club will host the final race of the series on April 9 with the running of the Cedar 12K. John Durkin is race director and volunteers are needed for numerous jobs. If you can help, contact him through the club website at

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

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