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Port Alberni start 2017. Photo by Lois DeEll

 

© Copyright – 2018 – Victoria Sports News

A 15K race distance isn’t very common – except when it is part of the Vancouver Island Race Series. With the inaugural Port Alberni Paper  Chase 15K running on Sunday it is a welcome return to this popular distance. This is the fifth race in the Island Series that attracts over 400 participants per race.

In the early days of the Island Series there was the Bastion 15K. That started in 1987 and then was renamed Cedar 15K in 1992, the same year that Merville 15K was first run. There were two 15K races in the Island Series until 2000 when Cedar became a 12K, which it is today. Merville 15K continued until 2015, when worries over traffic congestion closed the race down. The Paper Chase was revived last year as a 10K after 15 years, but VIRA organizers felt the race series needed a 15K and so the course was tweaked and extended to the 15K distance.

“The organizing committee for the Paper Chase 15K is thrilled to welcome VIRA athletes to Port Alberni on Sunday for this new distance,” says race director, Bill Collette. “The course is awesome including a short trek through the McLean Mill National Historic Site.”

Runners can register online until 6 pm Friday, March 2 at www.islandseries.org. Race registration until March 2 is $30 for adults and $25 for students, and on race day the fees are $40.

On Sunday the main race starts at 11 am from the Cherry Creek Community Centre, 3720 Moore Road, Port Alberni. There will be a 10:30 am start for walkers and runners anticipating finishing in approximately two hours.

Dusty Spiller winning in 2017. Photo by Lyndon Cassells.

 

Hosted by the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce, Collette boasts about the post-race food. “Like last year we will have food prepared by The Starboard Grill, one of our finer local restaurants. Their Candied Salmon Chowder is sure to warm up the runners.”

The club championship is currently led by the Prairie Inn Harriers with 1,697 points, second is Bastion Run Club with 1,442 points and third is Ceevacs with 1,406.

To qualify for the series awards participants have to run in five of the eight races, with one being over 10K. Following Port Alberni Paper Chase 15K will be the Comox Valley RV Half Marathon on March 18, TriStars 10K on March 25 and the Synergy Health Management Bazan Bay 5K and Series Awards on April 8.