The Marathon start line. Photo by Jessica Jefferson.
The Marathon start line. Photo by Jessica Jefferson.

Yesterday was a race full of drama for the elite athletes, but for the majority of the 9,000 plus participants it was a glorious day to set personal goals in the 36th Annual GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon. The 2014 marathon winner Daniel Kipkoech successfully defended his title, albeit in unexpected circumstances, while first-time marathoner Erin Burrett from Nanaimo, BC sprinted to a spectacular finish. The Marathon had 1,484 registrants, the Half Marathon: 3,808, the 8K Road Race: 2,688 and the Thrifty Foods Kids Run: 1,087, for a total of 9,067.

Marathon elite athletes. Photo by Jessica Jefferson
Marathon elite athletes. Photo by Jessica Jefferson

The men’s race was fast and furious with sixth seed Tisia Kiplangat taking an early lead. Clocking a 1:06 at the half way point, the course record of 2:13:42 was there for the taking. Second seed and course record holder Lamech Mokono, and Kipkoech were hanging on, but it was Kiplangat who was blazing the course and recorded 1:41 at 32km. But his pace started to slow and at 40km he started cramping and was clearly struggling, collapsing in the last kilometre. Kipkoech passed him and finished in 2:25:40. Mokono was second in 2:30:22, and Oliver Utting, from Burnaby was third in 2:34:39 and was the top Master.

Kiplangat took an early lead
Kiplangat took an early lead. Photo by Jessica Jefferson

The favourite in the women’s race, and 2014 champion, Lioudmila Kortchaguina, was leading for the majority of the race with Burrett and the 2013 champion Catrin Jones close behind. But with just a kilometre to go Burrett attacked and in the last 300 metres passed Kortchaguina to win in 2:39:17. Kortchaguina, finished in 2:39:37 breaking her own Masters record from 2014. Jones was third in 2:44:28. “My goal was 2:40 and I felt very strong out there,” Burrett said. “At three kilometres to go I had a few hip issues, but I had enough left for a sprint finish.”

Marathon runners in the inner harbour. Photo by Jessica Jefferson
Marathon runners in the inner harbour. Photo by Jessica Jefferson

The Marathon hosted the BC Marathon Championships, with Burrett and Utting winning the 2015 titles. “In a deep field of extremely talented and seasoned Kenyans, Ethiopians, Americans and Japanese, it was Canadian athletes that surged to the front of the pack in an entertaining and competitive day of racing,” said Bob Reid, Dairyland High Performance Director. “Burrett and Utting get top marks for their overall positions and outstanding times. Burrett, in her marathon debut, finished 8th of 1,204 finishers to establish the highest ever position by a female in the 36 years of the race. She only led for the final 300 metres with a ferocious kick to surpass last year’s champion. For Burrett, running a 1:15 half marathon is rewarding, which she has done this year so for her to run a 2:39 marathon is ten times more difficult. Considering the course record of 2:37:56 was set in 2011 by Kenyan Lucy Njeri, there is a bright future in Burrett’s marathon opportunities. Utting was the top Canadian master and he beat all other open runners (under-40) by over two minutes. He is a deserving BC Champion.”

Half Marathon start. Photo by Christopher Kelsall
Half marathon start. Photo by Christopher Kelsall

The Half Marathon was won by top seed Paul Kimugul in 1:05:00. Second was Benard Ngeno in 1:06:01 and third was the 2014 winner, Willy Kimosop in 1:07:53. Top master was Victoria’s Jim Finlayson finishing in 1:09:15. The women’s race saw some surprises with late registrant, Malindi Elmore from Kelowna, winning in 1:15:35, setting a W35-39 age group record. Second was Kristen Rohde from Portland (1:16:06) and third was fellow Portland elite team-mate Lauren Johnson in 1:17:24. Lucy Smith was the top female Master winning in 1:20:42.

Elmore, who now is transitioning to triathlons after a successful track and road race career, was delighted. “I did the Half Ironman in Vegas last weekend and so came here and thought I would give the half a try,” she said. “I was on a 1:15 pace for a while and led all the way so very pleased with winning.”

3,800 participated in the half marathon
3,800 registered for the half marathon. Photo by Christopher Kelsall

“Finlayson and Elmore proved to be the shining Canadian lights,” Reid commented. “Finlayson was fourth overall and Elmore was 17th of 3,257 finishers. “Honourable mention goes to 21-year-old Logan Roots, of Whitehorse, who finished eighth with a personal best time of 1:10:56.”

The 8K Road Race was won by Victoria’s Nick Walker in 26:16, closely followed by Craig Odermatt (Victoria, BC) in 26:22 and third was Robin Poirier (Duncan, BC) in 27:03. Odermatt was also the top Master. Lindsay Carson from Whitehorse, YT defended her 2014 title, winning the women’s race in 27:32. Second was Victoria’s Hilary Stellingwerff in 27:40, and third was Cindy Crowther (Vancouver) in 28:42. Crowther also was the top female Master.

Roslyn Smith from Comox, BC set a new age-category course record in the Marathon W65-69 with a 3:39:35. In the 8K, Lenore Montgomery, from Vancouver, BC set a course record in the W85-89 finishing in 55:25.

There were 6,819 finishers – 1,204 in the Marathon, 3,257 in the Half Marathon, 2,358 in the 8K, plus 1,087 in the Thrifty Foods Kids Run, for a total of 7,906.

For full results from the 36th Annual GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon go to:

The 37th Annual GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon will take place on October 9th, 2016.

The home stretch. Photo by Christopher Kelsall
The home stretch. Photo by Norm LeBus