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Craig Odermatt. File photo.

© Copyright – 2018 – Victoria Sports News

Many Victoria area runners took in the St. Patrick’s Day 5K in Vancouver’s Stanley Park Saturday including the University of Victoria’s Ben Weir, who finished 21st overall in a stacked field. Weir crossed the line in the time of 15:12. Derrick Evans was the second runner from Victoria to cross the line in the time of 15:24. The third male finisher was Vike Matt Noseworthy in the time of 15:37.

Two Victoria masters (40-plus) won their respective categories in Craig Odermatt, who won the 45-59 division, while Marilyn Arsenault won the 50-54 age-group. Arsenault also set a new provincial age-group record in her race today.

Odermatt and Arsenault also defeated everyone age 40-plus.

Odermatt finished in the time of 16:20. Vancouver’s Kevin O’Connor finished as second master and first over 50 in the time of 16:29. Steven Havas of Vancouver was the third master and second in the 45-49 category with his finish time of 16:59. He was the second-to-last runner to get under the 17-minute benchmark.

“I haven’t had much specific speed work since the February half-marathon,” said Odermatt. “I was trying for 16:10 to set up a sub-15 on a faster course. So I was slightly off but very happy to win and beat last year’s time. I feel I handled the uphill well.”

Arsenault finished in the time of 17:50. Vancouver’s Catherine Watkins finished as second master. She competed in the 45-49 age-group, crossing the line in the time of 17:58. Vancouver’s Katherine Moore was the third master (40-44), stopping the clock at 18:16. It was a stacked field as 109 runners ran faster than 18:00, while 184 finished under 20:00.

Two Vancouver-based athletes, Lucas Bruchet and Natasha Wodak, also 2016 Rio Olympians, won in the times of 14:12 and 15:39 respectively, both establishing new course records.

Rob Denault finished second in the time of 14:16. The Aurora, ON native has been training in Victoria with Athletics Canada’s West Hub. UBC Thunderbird John Gay finished third in the time of 14:19.

“I’m really pleased with the showing, we had perfect weather for it and an awesome field assembled so to capitalize on the opportunity feels great,” said Gay. “My time today ties my current personal best from the track which gives me a lot of confidence as I turn my attention towards the oval from here on into the season.  As always, the atmosphere and organization of the St. Patrick’s Day race was amazing, I really appreciate that there’s a chance to shake things up with many of the provinces top guys before our attention turns to the track.”

Fifteen men ran under the 15-minute benchmark. Twenty-three more finished under 16:00, as did two women. Wodak ran 15:39 and Rachel Cliff also of Vancouver was the second woman, finishing in 15:51. A total of 74 of 1404 runners finished the event under 17:00 including eight women.

“I am super happy with that,” shared Wodak. “It is a confidence builder before the Commonwealth Games.”

Asked if she is racing any other events, she said, “No that was it until Commonwealth Games. There will be some big workouts though.”

Wodak will be competing in the 10,000-metre event at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia. She

Jane Murage and Marilyn Arsenault pre-race half-marathon

currently holds the national record in the distance with her 31, as well as many of the athletes in today’s race, today’s race will take in the Vancouver Sun Run in April.

Cliff set the Canadian half marathon record from March 3rd where she set the new national standard of 1:10:08 in Woodlands, TX. It was a breakthrough race for the former 5,000-metre specialist.

Scotland’s Sarah Inglis was the third female across the line. She has been living in Langley, BC and attended Trinity Western University. She finished in the time of 16:27.