2017 Pioneer Start. Photo by Lois DeEll

© Copyright – 2017 – Victoria Sports News

The Prairie Inn Harriers Pioneer 8K road race that takes place every year on the first Sunday of January, has a brand new course that will start and finish near the Tourist Information Centre off Hwy 17 (Pat Bay Hwy).

The Pioneer 8K is the first race of both the Vancouver Island Race Series and the British Columbia Super Series.

The route will start on John Road, which runs parallel to the highway, head north for 180-metres before turning left or west and continue on John Road for 1.4-kilometres of straight and flat asphalt surface to Wilson Road. Runners will turn left on Wilson (south) for 1.2-kilometres to Mills Road.

Runners will turn left (head east) on Mills to Littlewood Road, 300-metres eastward and then turn left (north) on Littlewood. Runners will follow Littlewood for 400-metres before turning right (east) onto Glamorgan Road to the 180-degree turn-a-round and the 4K marker and will re-trace their steps back to the start.

The route will be virtually traffic-free. The environment is rural, farmland and fairly flat.

There are a total of nine turns two soft curves, which is unchanged from the old course. There is the 180-degree turnaround on Glamorgan Road.

“The first mile is a nice gentle downhill,” said Gary Duncan, certified course measurer. “The climb along Wilson, an old railway route, is less intense than West Saanich (on the old route), and there is no traffic circle. The turnaround is just before halfway at about 3.89km at the driveway to the old Sandown race track. Spectators can easily get there from the start/finish.”

The Pioneer 8K has had many variations over the years. The latest version which ran from the Saanich Fairgrounds was a popular route; however, vehicular traffic became heavy over the past few years, while certified flaggers and law enforcement were required to be in attendance, which cost the race a significant amount of money.

The new route will have nearly zero vehicular traffic and less need for certified flaggers.

The Landsend Half Marathon and 10K routes – an event currently not active – was run on a similar route in the past.

The seven other races in the series include the Cobble Hill 10K, Cedar 12K (Nanaimo), Hatley Castle 8K, Port Alberni Paper Chase 15K, Comox Valley RV Half Marathon, TriStars Sooke 10K and the Synergy Health Management Ltd. Bazan Bay 5K & Series Awards.

The 2018 edition will be the 38th running of the event, which started in 1980.

Note: the nature of the type of elevation graph the changes are greatly exaggerated. The Route is quite flat.

Entry Fees

Early entry fee

Adults $25 – No shirt (to December 10, 2017)

Students $20 – No shirt, all full-time Students (to December 10, 2017)

Regular entry fee

Adults – $30 (December 11, 2017 to January 4, 2018)   Students – $25

Late entry fee

Adults – $35 (January 5 to January 6, 2018)   Students – $30

$40 (all entrants) on Race Day (January 7, 2018)

BC Athletics Members: Deduct $3

Entry fees are non-refundable and non-transferable

Entry Deadlines

$25 early-bird: Up to Thursday, December 10, 2017

$30 regular fee: Up to Thursday, January 4, 2018.  Online Entry closes at midnight Thursday, January 4, 2018

$35 late fee: Up to Saturday, January 6, 2018

Race day $40 fee: Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018 – accepted until 10:30 a.m. at the Registration Hall near the Start Line.

Race Package Pickup

Will take place Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 (the day before the race), between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. at Frontrunners Footwear and on race morning from 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. at the Registration Hall.


Five-year age-groups from 20 to 90+, plus 16-19 and under-16

Awards and Presentations

Medals will be awarded to the top three runners in each five-year age-group and ribbons to the top-10. Draw prizes will be presented at the awards ceremony. Some draw prizes may be pre-drawn.

Prize money and Harriers travel mugs to the top senior runners, male and female, and to the top master male and female (40+ on race day).

High-Performance Athletes

Event records are 22:58 by Carey Nelson in 1985 and 25:28 by Natasha Wodak in 2013.

Complimentary Entry Standards: Men’s Open: 25:00; Women’s Open: 29:00; Men’s Masters (40+): 27:00; Women’s Masters (40+): 31:00

Ferry costs may be subsidized for off-island athletes. Transportation is also available to and from the ferry.

2017 Complimentary Standards and Prize Money

To apply for high-performance consideration, please complete the 2017 High-Performance Application Form

The Harriers Pioneer 8K is the first race of the BC Super Series of 12 races throughout the province. Check the BC Athletics website for more information and the full race schedule.  It is also the first race of 8 races in the Vancouver Island Race Series.


Online results will be posted on the Harriers website the day of the race and also on the RaceDayTiming.ca and RaceStats.org websites. Post-race story, video and images will be available at www.victoriasportsnews.com and www.athleticsillustrated.com.

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