Snow hardly slows runners

NANAIMO – Local Bastion Running Club members are competing in the annual Frontrunners Island Race Series.

Among those affected by our surprise snowfall two weekends ago were local Bastion Running Club members who compete in the annual Frontrunners Island Race Series.

Co-ordinated by the Vancouver Island Runners’ Association and hosted by community running clubs, the Island Series consists of a set of eight road races of varying distances held at different spots on the island between January and April. Individuals are welcome, but most participants are members of established running groups. In Nanaimo the most notable of those is the Bastion Club, which sends a contingent of runners to each event.

First race of the series was the Prairie Inn Harriers’ Pioneer 8K, held in Saanich in mid-January. A field of 623 runners completed the course, including 27 Bastion Club entrants. Of those, first to the finish line was Erin Burrett, whose time of 27 minutes, 13 seconds made her the first female to finish.

Then came Byron Trajan, seventh in the M30-34 division thanks to a time of 28:06. Damian Allen was second among M35-39 in 28:55. Neil Gaudet was 10th in the M40-44 division in 31:30, while Philip Birrer with his time of 31:50 and Cheryl Davies with a time of 31:58 were also in the top 100.

The second race in this year’s Island Series was the Cobble Hill 10K at the end of January. Some 577 runners completed the course, including 25 Bastion members. Top performance came from Jeremy Clegg, who was fourth overall and first in the M35-39 division with his time of 34:04. Davies was the first female Bastion runner to finish, coming first in the M40-44 group with a time of 40:08. Marita Deschiffart finished in 41:01 to claim first in the F16-19 division.

Last month the Cedar 12K, hosted by the Bastion club, marked the third race in the series. John Durkin was race director and he oversaw 418 participants complete the course. The host club was well represented with 30 runners taking part. Trevor Ruck was the fastest of those, reaching the finish line in 43:09 to place fifth overall and second in the M25-29 division.

Second in the M30-34 category was Trajan with his time of 43:37. Darren Seaman finished 12th, second among M40-44 in 44:41, while David DePasquale was fifth in M45-49 at 46:55. Birrer was seventh in the M30-34 division with a time of 48:00; Gaudet finished sixth among M40-44 in 48:28. Davies was the Bastion Club’s first female finisher, claiming first in the F40-44 class in 48:29. Orph Bernard was eighth among M40-44 with a time of 49:55. Quentin Proud finished in 50:04, good for ninth in the M45-49 division.

Unfortunately, the Island Series was then disrupted by the late winter snowfall. The Hatley Castle 8K had to be cancelled due to unsafe weather conditions on Feb. 23. The race was rescheduled to this past Sunday, but few runners were able to attend. Leading the way was Arjan Gelling, a division winner with a time of 35:34.

Bastion Club runners will be in action again this Sunday (March 9) at the next race in the Island Series, the Bazan Bay 5K in Sidney.

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

Ian Thorpe writes about sports Thursdays.