2017 Pioneer Start. Photo by Lois DeEll


© Copyright – 2018 – Victoria Sports News

It’s time for runners to plan their 2018 running schedule and for many it is taking part in an Island tradition – the Vancouver Island Race Series. The 37th running of the series kicks off in January with a race every two weeks until April 8. Eight races comprise the series which is hosted by running clubs all over the Island.

New this year is the addition of a 15K distance in Port Alberni and a new host club for Sooke 10K – TriStars Training. “We are delighted to welcome TriStars to the VIRA family and we look forward to the new 15K course,” said Jonathan Foweraker, President of the Vancouver Island Runners’ Association. “Having a 15K gives participants another option to run a distance over 10K, which is a requirement to qualify for the series awards.”

The series has seen some strong competition over the years with many runners coming from the Lower Mainland to participate. The kick-off race is the Harriers Pioneer 8K on January 7th which is part of the BC Super Series and so attracts many elite runners. Rio Olympian Lucas Bruchet won the 2017 Pioneer 8K, running six seconds shy of the course record. Previous winners have included Rob Watson and Theo Hunt and in the women’s field Rachel Cliff, Natasha Wodak and Lucy Smith are past winners.

The 2017 series was won by Nick Walker with Melissa Ross winning the female title. Top Male Master was Mark Cryderman, and top female Master was Yanna Debelic. The club standings were won by the Prairie Inn Harriers, second was Comox Valley Road Runners and third was Ceevacs Road Runners.

Both Walker Ross sealed their victories in the final race of the series – Cedar 12K. “At 5k I pulled away and I am really pleased with the result,” Walker said after the race. “There has been more excitement with the series this year and there has been some good competition.” Ross was a late entry but had a tactical plan in mind. “My coach had planned a tempo run for me so I did a progression run, where I treated it as a workout. I love the course – it is so good for building strength.”

Returning for a fourth year as Charity Partner is Victoria Hospitals Foundation. When registering participants will have the opportunity to top up their registration and support the many rehabilitative services at Victoria General Hospital and Royal Jubilee Hospital. To date $4,500 has been raised by participants for the VHF

Registration fees for the whole series are $150 until December 1. From December 2 until January 4 the fees are $175. Registration is also open for individual races.

The eight races comprise the Harriers Pioneer 8K on January 7, Cobble Hill 10K on January 21, Cedar 12K on February 4, Hatley Castle 8K on February 18, Port Alberni Paper Chase 15K on March 4, Comox Valley RV Half Marathon on March 18, TriStars Sooke 10K on March 25, and the Synergy Health Management Bazan Bay 5K and Series Awards on April 8.

To register online for the series go to: www.islandseries.org

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