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Vancouver Island Race Series eyes January start date

Cobble Hill 10K named provincial championships in series
Runners race in the 2023 version of the Sooke 10K. The Vancouver Island Race Series begins its 2024 season in January. (Courtesy: Vancouver Island Race Series)

The Vancouver Island Runners’ Association has announced the event schedule for the iconic Vancouver Island Race Series.

The 45th running of the series takes place from January to April with eight races ranging from five kilometres to a half marathon.

Races in the series include:

• Harriers Pioneer 8K - Jan. 14

• Cobble Hill 10K - Jan. 28

• Cedar 12K - Feb. 11

• Hatley Castle 8K - Feb. 25

• Westcoast Sooke 10K - March 10

• Comox Valley RV Half Marathon - March 24

• McLean Mill 10K - April 7

• Synergy Health Centre Bazan Bay 5K - April 14

B.C. Athletics, the provincial athletics governing body, has awarded the Cobble Hill 10K the provincial road running championships.

The course was modified last year by removing three hills and adding a 3K flat and downhill finish.

“This will make for a great provincial championship for all age groups,” said Christopher Kelsall, president and general manager of the series.

The race series is a Vancouver Island tradition dating back to the late 1970s.

Founded by John Crouch, president of the Vancouver Island Runners’ Association, the series was patterned after the Lower Mainland Grand Prix Series of five races.

Since its inception more than 110,000 runners have participated in the series, which has varied between six and 10 races.

The uniqness of the races is they’re open to runner of all abilities, including Olympians.

In this running series, runners earn points for each race. Final rankings are based on the average of their best five results, with at least one race over 10K. Clubs can earn points, too.

Kelsall said each year there are multiple age-group records throughout the series.

The fastest women’s time in Canadian history over the 8K distance was set at the Harriers Pioneer 8K by two-time Olympic runner Natasha Wodak of North Vancouver. Her time of 25:28 still stands.

The 2024 season pass campaign launched on Oct. 6 and will continue until early January. It costs $210 and includes all eight races, including the Comox Valley RV Half Marathon. Individual race packages are also available.

“We are on track to surpass last year, which was our biggest year in the 44-year history of the series,” Kelsall said. “Our organizing committee is working very hard to find fresh and unique ways to improve the race experience each time out.”

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Kevin Laird

About the Author: Kevin Laird

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