Runners reach finish line at big race

Nanaimo was well-represented when nearly 10,000 runners went out pounding the pavement two weekends ago in Victoria.

Nanaimo was well-represented when nearly 10,000 runners went out pounding the pavement two weekends ago in Victoria.

The occasion was the 35th annual Victoria Marathon, an event held every Thanksgiving weekend in the capital city. The event also included half marathon and eight-kilometre races on scenic courses along the waterfront.

In ideal cool and overcast weather conditions, the winner of the full 42.2-kilometre marathon event was Alberta’s Daniel Kipkoech with a time of two hours, 20 minutes and four seconds. Capturing the women’s title was Lioudmila Kortchaguina from Ontario in 2:41:39.

An international field of over 1,500 runners completed the marathon distance, with 26 participants from Nanaimo among them. Leading the way for the locals were Kieran and Trevor Ruck, whose identical times of 3:20:53 earned them 143rd and 144th overall. Glen Reed placed 223nd in 3:29:06 and Steven Johns was 345th in 3:42:57. First Nanaimo female to the finish line was Helia Sillem, who took 10th in the F45-49 age division with her time of 3:47:56. Tanya Kormendy finished in 3:48:12 and then Judy LaBelle, whose finish in 3:48:15 gave her 410th in the F50-54 division. Other local runners who completed the marathon distance in less than four hours were Ferenc Stefani in 3:51:37, John Surtees in 3:51:38 and Randy Smith with a time of 3:52:29.

Close to 3,800 participants competed in the 21.1km half-marathon race. Fastest of the Nanaimo runners to the finish line was Yann Bernaquez, whose time of 1:17:29 gave him 22nd overall and fifth in the M30-34 class. Christopher Redden placed 73rd in the field at 1:26:42 and Robert Shuniak was 78th in 1:27:29. Eighth in the M40-44 division and 87th overall went to Neil Gaudet with his time of 1:28:09. Tyler Huston was next in 1:29:34.

Jane Campbell was the first local female to finish, placing fourth in the F45-49 division with a time of 1:31:58. Spencer Rispin reached the finish line in 1:34:32 and Jeff Taylor in 1:36:45. Bob Saunders’ time of 1:36:53 earned him fifth in the M55-59 division. Mary Son ran the route in 1:37:27 and Ken Hewer in 1:38:15. Special mention should also go to Henry Wiebe who was first in the M70-74 age group with a time of 1:51:42.

Meanwhile, over 2,300 other people completed the 8km distance, including nearly 100 Nanaimo entrants. Fastest of those was Byron Trajan with a time of 28:24, which put him in 18th place overall and third in the M30-34 division. Carter Higgins was 29th, fifth among M16-19 runners with his time of 30:41 and Mike Thibodeau was 69th and fourth in the M45-49 group at 33:36. Also in the top 100 of the field was Fred Douglas, 85th overall and fifth in the M50-54 group in 34:33.

Stephen Johnston was ninth among M25-29 in 35:40. John Durkin won the M65-69 division with his time of 36:34 and right behind him for second in that same age division was Arjan Gelling in 36:36. Top Nanaimo female in the 8km distance was Paris Gaudet, fifth in the F45-49 division with a time of 38:49.

Congratulations to the above runners and to the many other local athletes who took part in one of the races.

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