Runners set pace in Island Race Series

We passed along congratulations last week to Nanaimo athletes who took part in the Times Colonist 10K event in Victoria. Now, let’s acknowledge local runners who have been competing in this year’s Frontrunners Island Race Series.

The Series is a set of eight road races held during the first four months of each year. The events are of varying distances and each is held at a different location on the island. Some of the local runners who took part in one or more of the races were unaffiliated with a club, or were connected with Frontrunners, Running Room, or Runners of Compassion. But most were members of either Bastion Running Club or Westwood Running Club. Some weeks ago we covered results from the first four races in the Series, so now we’ll review the second half…

The fifth race of the Island Series was the Bazan Bay 5K in Sidney, where a number of local runners finished in the top 200 of the field of 742 participants. Quickest of the Nanaimo contingent was Joel DeSchiffart, whose time of 16 minutes and 20 seconds rated him as 22nd overall. Byron Trajan was close behind in 25th spot with his time of 16:29. Then came Trevor Ruck, 54th in 17:31 and Philip Birrer who was 63rd overall in 17:50. Scott Jones was 71st in the field with a finish in 18:04 and Travis Pirozzini finished 82nd in 18:23. Also in the top 100 were Sean Reilly, 95th in 18:45, Nathanael Wood, 97th in 18:56 and Kyle Bohn, 98th in 18:59. Alex Counsell’s time of 19:46 earned his 141st place and Matthew Allardyce was 158th with his time of 20:09. The first Nanaimo woman runner to finish was Cheryl Davies, who placed 175th thanks to her time of 20:26.

Longest event in the Island Series was the sixth race, the Comox Valley Half Marathon. Of the 509 people in the field, Byron Trajan was the fastest local, 20th overall, completing the course in 1:20:17. Sean Reilly was 36th in 1:25:08, Simon Weber 38th in 1:25:50 and Scott Jones 40th in 1:26:28. First Nanaimo woman to the finish line was Ceri Jakobsen, who placed 42nd overall with her time of 1:26:50. Then came Edwin Johnston, 45th in 1:26:59 and Travis Pirozzini 49th in 1:28:15. Norm Olson’s time of 1:31:46 gave him 66th position and Jane Campbell Arnold was 75th in 1:33:05. Others Nanaimo runners finishing in the top 100 were Cheryl Davies who was 83rd in 1:34:11, Kyle Bohn 86th in 1:34:27, Alex Counsell 87th in 1:34:28, Brad Holmes 90th in 1:35:02 and Mike Thibodeau who was 98th in 1:35:51.

Next competition was the Merville 15K held near Campbell River. Some 332 runners were in the field for that one, with Philip Birrer leading the locals with a finish of 19th overall and a time of 57:33. Travis Pirozzini finished 30th thanks to his time of 1:00:03 and right behind him was Sean Reilly, 31st in 1:00:04.

Matthew Allardyce posted a time of 1:02:31, good for 40th position. Next local to finish was Cheryl Davis, who was 56th in 1:05:05, followed by Brad Holmes, 58th in 1:05:09. Zlatko Zvenich was 74th in 1:07:20, Stacy Wallington 81st in 1:07:42 and Monica Rush 96th in 1:09:42. Also making it into the top 100 were Nanaimo’s Bill Hollingshead, who won the M70-74 division with a fine time of 1:09:43 and Hugh Young who finished in 1:10:02.

The eighth and final race in this year’s Island Race Series was the Sooke River 10K, held near the end of April with a field of 359 runners. Joel Deschiffart was the first Nanaimo runner this time, placing a strong 8th with a time of 35:25. Close on his heels was Byron Trajan, ninth overall in 35:33. Shelby Drope was next for the locals, finishing in 13th position with a time of 36:41. Next came Trevor Ruck, 15th in 36:54 and Travis Pirozzini, who was 18th in 37:11.

Philip Birrer was 31st in the field with his finish in 38:44 and Sean Reilly was 37th in a time of 39:09. Alex Counsell placed 44th thanks to a time of 39:41, Brad Holmes was 68th in 41:51 and Aaron Cahoon was 69th in 41:55.

First Nanaimo woman runner to cross the finish line in Sooke was Monica Rush, who was 78th overall with a posted time of 42:40. Just a step behind her was Matthew Allardyce, who was 79th in 42:41. Nathanael Wood finished 84th in 42:54, with John Durkin getting in at 101st with his time of 44:02. Other local runners who showed well in the final race of the Series included Andrew Bartram, Warren Cronan, Marc Lippingwell, Christine Rodgers, Ross Palfrey and Heather Lippingwell.

For runners affiliated with clubs, points for participation in any of the series races were then tabulated to determine final club standings. Again this year the powerful Prairie Inn Harriers took first place, but local entrants from the Westwood and Bastion clubs combined to place third in the team competition.

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

Ian Thorpe writes about sports Saturdays.