Five University of Victoria Vikes athletes dominated the Bazan Bay 5K road race on Sunday.
Sidney-by-the-Sea skirted the proposed monsoon that Environment Canada was forecasting all week, giving way to filtered sun for the 519 runners and walkers who took in the road race.
It was race number eight of the eight-event Island Race Series that capped the January-to-April sequence of runs, providing a near perfectly flat and straight course for participants to enjoy emoting their inner speed demon, including 95-year-old Jim Silverster of Shawnigan Lake. He mastered the course in the time of 1:14:07. Silvester took an early start option and was escorted by teammate Sheron Chrysler of the Ceevacs Running Club of the Cowichan Valley. He was all smiles at the finish and received a standing ovation during the awards ceremony that took place in the Mary Winspear Centre.
The front of the race was won by a pair of University of Victoria Vikes in fifth-year students Ben Weir and Alison Hooper.
Weir narrowly took out defending champion and teammate Josh Kozelj as well as fellow Vike Derrick Evans. The trio could be seen leading from the gun and were still together with 400-metres remaining in the race. The finish order would come down to a sprint finish.
“I knew if Ben was with me near the end, he would take the race because he has a better kick,” said Kozelj, who is a second-year athlete. “I thought I pushed him hard throughout the race, to take away some of his kick, but he was still there. I am really happy that he won it though and that we finished 1-2-3.”
“He ran well,” said Weir. “I think we are going to see good results from him going forward.”
The three will be starting their outdoor track season May 5th at the University of Victoria’s Centennial Stadium. They will also compete in the Portland Twilight Track Meet. First, though, each will run one or both of the TC10K and Vancouver Sun Run.
Hooper led the women with a finish time of 16:47, over teammate and second place finisher Chloe Hegland who crossed the line in the time of 17:15 – both raced well; however, they both expected to be a little faster.
“We were hoping to be about 15 seconds faster,” said Hooper.
Hooper will also take in the TC10K and possibly the Sun Run but will represent the Vikes in Portland.
Hegland has different plans. She will be racing the TC10K, but will also move into the longer half-marathon distance with the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon that is part of the Scotiabank Canada Run Series. The race starts at UBC and finishes in Stanley Park. The race goes in early June.
“I am not sure what to expect, as this will be my first half-marathon,” shared Hegland. “I think a 78 or 77-minute result would be a good start.”
Hegland moved into new territory in January when she finished the Cobble Hill 10K – the second event of the Island Series – with a full minute personal best of 36:03. For the TC10K, she is looking for 35-mid.
The first masters runner was James Richardson of Duncan, who crossed the line in the time of 16:01. Richardson finished nine seconds ahead of Craig Odermatt, who was competing in the 45-49 age-group. Richardson is in the 40-44 category. Campbell River’s Mark Cryderman was credited with third place at 16:39.
Victoria’s Marilyn Arsenault not only won the masters division (40-plus), she also took the Canadian 50-54 age record with her finish time of 17:43. Arsenault owns several track and road age-group records including the 40-44 and 45-49 5,000-metre and 45-49 3,000-metre best times. She is an assistant coach with the Vikes.
Heather McDonald finished as second master in 17:48, while Vancouver’s Katherine Moore was third in 17:56.
Sam Seshadri of Saskatoon won the 16-19 junior age-category in the time of 16:32. Collette Reimer won the girls 16-19. The Victoria area runner crossed the line in the time of 18:55.
Full results are available, here>>