We’re hitting the road this week in order to acknowledge top local runners who took part in the second half of the 35th annual Vancouver Island Race Series.
The Island Series was originally founded by John Crouch, president of the Vancouver Island Runners’ Association. The concept is that participating runners earn points in each race for overall and age category prizes. Running clubs can also accumulate points in a bid to win the overall team title for the series.
This year’s series consisted of seven races, with the first four held during January and February. Those were the Harriers Pioneer 8K in Saanichton, the Cobble Hill 10K, the Cedar 12K hosted by Nanaimo’s Bastion Running Club and the Hatley Castle 8K in Colwood.
More recently, the series continued with the Bazan Bay 5K held in Sidney. About 550 runners took part, including 20 from Nanaimo. A few of those were unaffiliated runners, but most were members of the Bastion Running Club. Fastest of the locals was Aaron Sellers with a time of 17:57 which placed him 45th in the field. Then came Amy Morris, second in the F16-19 division and 80th overall with her finish in 19:17. Yanna Debelic was third in the F45-49 category in 20:32, Jeffrie O’Donnell posted a time of 21:31 and Jorgen Jensen was second in the M65-69 class at 21:58. Dave Shillabeer was third for M65-69 in 22:35, John Durkin was fourth in the same age division at 23:07 and Denise Bonin placed second for F60-64 in 23:59. Jim Rutherford crossed the finish line in 24:18 and Bill Hollingshead was first in the M75-79 division with his time of 24:29.
Courtenay was the site of the sixth and longest event in the race series, with the running of the Comox Valley Half Marathon. My thanks to Ross Palfery of the Bastion Club for sending word that 15 club runners took part. First to the finish line was Kevin Stedmon, then Carolyn Swanson who was first in the F40-44 age division. Jeffrie O’Donnell was next, then Amber Henderson, Sarah Zubkowski and Dave Shillabeer who was second in the M65-69 category. Then came Dominique Roelants, John Durkin who was third in the M65-69 division and Lori Warwick. Denise Bonin was third in the F60-64 group, followed by Daniel Frick, Hugh Ovens, Jim Rutherford, Ross Palfery and Darcie Nolan.
The final stop in this year’s Island Series was in Sooke for the Sooke River 10K, followed by the Series’ award presentations. Nearly 20 local runners were in the field of 356 competitors and the fastest of the Nanaimo group was Jason Wright. Wright’s time of 38:14 earned him 12th place overall and first in the M35-39 age division. Winner of the F30-34 category was Melissa Ross, whose time of 38:48 put her 16th in the field, while Amy Ross was first in the F16-19 division and 41st in total with a time of 41:58.
Also in the top one hundred was Jeffrie O’Donnell, 81st in 46:33 and Jorgen Jensen who finished 82nd and second in the M65-69 division with a time of 46:37. Dave Shillabeer was third in the M65-69 group at 48:30, John Durkin was fourth among M65-69 in 48:55 and Paris Gaudet finished fourth among F45-49 in 49:16. Madelaine Lavis crossed the line in 52:16 and Hugh Ovens in 52:49. Bastion’s Janet Wright was second in the F60-64 class at 53:00, Denise Bonin took third in the F60-64 division in 53:37 and Bill Hollingshead was third in the M75-59 division at 55:40.
Based on their finishes in the races of the Island Series, Amy Morris was 14th in points among all runners, with Mark Blackell 36th, Paris Gaudet 89th and Amber Henderson 100th. In team standings, Nanaimo’s Bastion Running Club racked up 1222 points to finish fifth overall.
Whatever your sport, a reminder in closing to play your hardest, play fair, and show good sportsmanship.