Port Alberni start. Photo by Lyndon Cassell


The sun shined right at 11 am on Sunday when over 200 participants lined up to start the inaugural Port Alberni Paper Chase 15K. Hosted by the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce, Dusty Spiller and Erin Burrett were crowned champions.

Spiller, from Duncan, was the clear leader in the men’s race finishing in 52:04. Second was John Vanderveen (53:45). Third and top master was Mark Cryderman (54:05). “I broke away about a mile in and didn’t have any competition,” Spiller said afterwards. “I felt good and really like the course and was pleased with my time.” Spiller uses the races in the Island Series to train for the triathlon season and plans on doing the half marathon in Comox in two weeks, and then the final race in Sidney on April 8.

Coming back from injury, Burrett won the women’s race in 57:51. Second was Kristen Smart, finishing in 1:02:17, and third and top female master was Carolyn Coffin (1:05:05). Burrett, who runs for the Bastion Run Club, is usually a regular in the Island Race Series, but a glute injury put her on the sidelines this year. But she was pleased with her comeback. “I put in a solid effort and felt very strong,” she said. “I missed Merville so it was nice that the series decided to step up and bring the 15K back.” Although she won’t be able to qualify for the final series awards – she needs to do five races – she is planning on doing the remaining three.

Dusty Spiller coming to the finish line. Photo by Lyndon Cassell.

“We hope everyone enjoyed the first 15K Paper Chase in Port Alberni featuring a beautiful run through the rural areas of Cherry Creek, including a short trek into the McLean Mill National Historic Site,” said race director, Bill Collette. “The sunshine was pre-ordered and we’re glad it showed up in time for the start of the race. I would like to thank the volunteers and marshals who did a great job on the course.”

In the club championship Bastion Run Club has taken the lead with 1,918 points second is Ceevacs with 1,822 and third is Prairie Inn Harriers with 1,806 points.

To qualify for the series awards participants have to run in five of the eight races, with one being over 10K. The next race is Comox Valley RV Half Marathon on March 18, followed by TriStars Sooke 10K on March 25 and the Synergy Health Management Bazan Bay 5K and Series Awards on April 8.

Full series results can be seen on: http://racedaytiming.ca/vira/2018

To register for any of the races in the Island Series go to www.islandseries.org