Club News

Sunday’s Fairhaven 15K race in this funky historic town near Bellingham proved to be more than a just an interesting road trip for a small group of VFAC’ers. It was more like the Fairdinkum 15K for Katherine Moore, as she ran away with the women’s title by almost 5 minutes in a very good 58:01. (See the accompanying story in the Bellingham Herald). Katherine is on a roll with with 1st, 2nd, and 1st overall female finishes in her last 3 races, over the past month. Chris Brandt also ran very well to place 8th overall and 2nd 35-39 with a time of 56:13. Also amongst the 596 finishers were Walter Kwan, who was 4th in the 50-54 and Andrew Kamara. Natalie Closs was entered, and off recent workouts was certainly ready to produce a good one, but unfortunately the plantar problems she has been hobbled by this year returned just 3 days before the race, so she was relegated to support status. From all accounts a race (and nearby pubs!) well worth the trip stateside.

The website is runcim, and run it she did and then cim. Yesterday in Sacramento, Rita Ivanauskas ran yet another huge PB at the California International Marathon, with an amazing 2:48:56 in windy conditions. This makes her the 7th fastest woman any age in Canada this year, and less than a minute behind Lucy Smith as the 2nd fastest master. Running a very evenly paced race, she also ran her 1/2 marathon PB en route of 1:24:10. She finished as 13th woman in the race behind Poland’s Wioletta Kryza’s 2:39:19, and collected another $300 as 2nd Master. Paul Krochak had a bit of an off day peaking wise (probably ran a week too late), but still ran a very solid 2:34:05, a tribute to his gutsiness in giving everything he had on the day. He was 18th overall behind Kenyan Laban Moiben’s winning 2:14:30. Chris Brandt ran within a minute of his PB earlier this year with a 2:57:38. Kris Bangma had a very good debut, easily breaking her sub 3:30 goal with a 3:23:53.

Also in a couple of other notable performances the last 2 weekends, new member Brad Cunningham placed 3rd in both Gunner Shaw Cross Country Races, but in a major breakthrough was only 39 seconds behind winner Jim Finlayson’s 30:36 in Victoria. In the Vancouver version Saturday, he was 2 minutes back of a visiting Swede in 35:27, while another new member, John Atkinson, also had a breakthrough race, finishing 12th in 37:53.

Now, to all of you, please take a well earned break from racing, so I can take a break from writing!

Victorians may claim it rains half as much over there, but on the other hand, can anyone tell me if there were any new windstorms in Vancouver yesterday. On a otherwise beautiful Times-Colonist 10K weekend, a strong headwind still managed to blow solidly from halfway to almost 9km along waterfront Dallas Road. Combined with a gradual but steady climb for about half of that stretch, all hopes of PB’s were blown away. Its too bad, because the new course seems potentially quite fast, and with 8533 finishers, the race has almost the same “buzz” as the Sun Run.

Even BC’s next great, Ryan Hayden, despite pacing well for a change and winning easily, had to settle for a time (30:41) 78 seconds slower than his Sun Run. Lucy Smith, who turned 40 days earlier, won the woman’s overall in 34:24. Bob Wade was the first VFAC runner in a very credible 37:52. Rita Ivanauskas ran 38:54, placing 9th overall woman and winning $300 with only Lucy ahead of her among the masters. Trefor Smith ran very well to beat his Sun Run time by 9 seconds in 40:30. Laura De Munain also ran solidly to place 13th woman overall in 40:56. Kirsty Siemens just missed the money, placing 4th overall masters woman (and 3rd 40-44), with a 41:33. Sharon Emslie beat her stitch-slowed Sun Run time easily, with a good 45:38.

So, wind or not, the Times-Colonist is still worth the excuse to take a road (well, ferry) trip to Victoria.

Marathon (and other) Post Script

Graeme Wilson was 1st Canadian and 50th overall in the prestigious but too hot (18-24 degree) London Marathon last weekend in 2:33:40. Yesterday, in the resurrected and fast Eugene Marathon, Chris Brandt convincingly overcame his 3 hour marathon jinx with a 2:56:55. Finally, congratulations are also due to 17 year old Shaun Stephens-Whale, who finished first overall in the Golden Ears 5 Peaks Trail race in 1:07:24.

Shu Boston RunningWhile VFAC had a strong showing at the record-setting Sun Run, a small but determined group watched the continuous local weather updates in their Boston hotel rooms. The rain was torrential outside on Sunday April 15, 2007, and the winds were picking up. Gusts up to 50 miles per hour were expected for the next 24 hours. On the morning of April 16th, the weather for the 111th Boston marathon remained the top local news story (the Virginia Tech story had not broken yet) with flooding, rain and gusts of wind. The temperatures with the wind chill were a paltry 3-4C in the morning. The race had been filled with over 23,500 registrants but about 10 per cent chose to stay away, or were kept away, by the conditions.

Shu_Boston_GrimmaceThe new 10AM start time seemed unfortunate given the ongoing storm. Nonetheless, it was business almost as usual and the buses began their pilgrimage to the town of Hopkinton for the start of the race. The athlete’s village tents were battered with rain and winds, while people waited on a muddy field to use the port-a-johns. The obsession with the weather provided a unifying purpose and a nice distraction from the usual time goals and splits. However, by the time the elite women started at 9:35, the conditions were improving. Apart from occasional gusts of wind and intermittent rain, the weather settled, giving way to ideal Vancouver-esque running weather for much of the midday.

The greatest hazard, apart from the alluring downhill start, was the layers of clothing and garbage bags that were being shed in the first few miles of the course. One man ran by in shorts and sheer black nylons – not tights – while others stuck doggedly to their singlets. Despite the weather, the girls at Wellesley College could be heard from a mile away. More children than seen during the entire Vancouver marathon were in each of the small communities the historic race winds through, exchanging orange slices for “high fives”. For any one who has run up Prospect point or the Spanish Banks hill, Heartbreak hill is hard to spot (I had to ask someone if we had passed it).

Shu_Boston_FinishThe constant headwind may have affected the elite runners more than the general masses and their times were slower this year compared to last. The winning woman’s time was 2:29:18. The winning man’s time was 2:14:13, about 7 minutes off his preceding year’s record winning time. VFAC participants included Ernest Hawker, with even splits to run a 2:57:54, Shubhayan Sanatani (2:58:43), Brian Kuchinka (3:23:19) and Walter Kwan (3:37:58).

It’s definitely a spectacle that’s an important stop in the marathoner’s travels. And the weather will always be the unknown.

For the second time in history, all the VFAC participants in a race came away with medals. OK, so both times were in the Kamloops Spring Run-Off 10K….we only made the trek to get out of sodden Van. Indeed the weather there was almost perfect : warm, sunny (well, partly), and no wind! There was also a new, fast course along the North Thompson River.

“Prospective” member Philip Rist ran solo most of the way to win the race in 32:46, the day after running 15:25 to place 2nd to Steve Osaduik in the St. Paddy’s Day 5K (don’t try this at home!!).

Rita Ivanauskas (38:49) and Katherine Moore (41:15) placed 1-2 on the woman’s side.

Ernest Hawker (37:12) was 2nd M40-44 and 6th overall , Chris Brandt had a big 30 second PB in 38:05 to place 2nd in the M35-39 and 9th overall, while Sharon Emslie (46:11) won the F45-49, to complete the medal haul.

Fun times, a chance to dry out (no, I’m not referring to my previous night’s birthday antics), and great Timex Series points. Lets go for an even bigger haul next year!

Weekend P.S.

Katrina Driver set a club 5K record in 17:35, finishing only 9 seconds back of winner Tina Connelly in the St. Paddy’s. Hubby Simon was 5th overall and Graeme Wilson 6th in identical 15:50′s, while new member Chris Drozda was 12th in 17:01, Kirsty Siemens 1st master and 9th overall woman in 20:12, and Kim Jow ran a solid 20:17. A great weekend wet or dry!

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