Sooke runner Bruce Hawkes, 76, broke a record that many think will never be repeated – and he’s pretty nonchalant about it.
By running in a Vancouver Island Runners Association race in North Saanich on Jan. 12, the senior completed his 200th consecutive Island Race Series race, a record 25 years in the making.
“I’m definitely not a real runner,” Hawkes modestly emailed friends before he completed his feat 1½ weeks ago.
“I am a runner but just to prove I’m not really, this Sunday at the Pioneer 8K I’ll be competing in no less than 200 consecutive Island Race Series.”
In the Jan. 12 race, Hawkes finished a respectable 52:47, placed seventh out of 11 runners in the M57-79 age division and 477 overall in a field of 547.
Hawkes ran his first race in the Island Race Series on June 22, 1995 in the M50-54 division.
Vancouver Island Runners’ Association general manager Louise Hodgson-Jones described Hawkes as modest, but his achievement extraordinary.
“He’s very dedicated, obviously,” Hodgson-Jones said.
“”I think it would be pretty challenging. He doesn’t just do [the Island Race Series], but other ones as well, and he runs regularly during the week.
Bob Reid has known Hawkes for more than 25 years, as both a member of the Sooke Trail and Road Running Club and Prairie Inn Harriers Running Club.
Reid, now high performance director of the Harriers Pioneer 8K, predicts no one will ever beat Hawkes’ record.
“It takes 25 years to do it, and I don’t think anybody is prepared to put in that dedication, time, energy and effort into a streak like that.” he said.
It’s the second time the Vancouver Island Racing Series have honoured Hawkes for his longevity and consistency. In 2007, he was presented with the VIRA Century Endurance Award for 100 consecutive races.
In addition to the Island Race Series, Hawkes has an impressive record on other courses, including the Prairie Inn Harriers’ Gunnar Shaw Cross Country Classic, Thetis Lake Relay and Stewart Mountain Challenge, where he’s never missed a race
“He’s very quiet and keeps to himself,” Reid said.
“I think he’s very proud of what he does and doesn’t want to brag or talk about it. He has a lot of determination.”
Also on Jan. 12, VIRA unveiled a new age category: M90. Legendary runner and inductee of the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of fame, Maurice Tarrant completed the course with his daughter and training partner Claire in 1:13:09.
Tarrant is holder of 76 age-category Canadian records.
The Island Race Series is a series of eight races from Victoria to Courtenay. The second race in the series is this Sunday (Jan. 26) in Cobble Hill. The TriStars Sooke 10K is on April 5.
To register online for the Cobble Hill 10K go to: www.islandseries.org.