© Copyright – 2019 – Victoria Sports News

Race start from 2018. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

Watch race video, here>>

The TC10K (Times Colonist 10K) race – a community event and a source of pride for Greater Victoria runners and walkers, for the first time in a decade experienced growth in registration numbers as well as race finishers.

With new race management in place, the event saw 9,722 registrations, 3,879 individuals signed up and 4,654 registered through the team event program.  The Thrifty Foods 1.5K Family Run was up too with a whopping 817 taking in the race. Eight in the wheelchair event were registered. According to Sportsats.org even more registered with 9,876 indicated [results: https://www.sportstats.ca/display-results.xhtml?raceid=103763].

Typically, anywhere from 10 to 20% in certain categories will not participate due to weather, injury, sickness or other commitments. The 2019 edition had 7,574 finishers in total. This does not include the Thrifty Foods Family run.

TC10K Individual 3879
TC10K Team Event 4564
TC10K Wheelchair 8
Students & Teachers on TC10K School Teams 454
Thrifty Foods Family Run 1.5K 817
Create a Team 0
Elite Runner 10K 0
Guide Participating with Visually Impaired registrant 0
Total: 9722

This is an increase of 826 finishers from 2018 and over ~1200 more registrants.

For the 2018 edition, the race, according to the website RaceStats.org saw a continuation of the trend towards lower participation levels. Just 6,748 people walked or ran the 10K event. According to BC Athletics (the provincial governing body of athletics), the number is slightly higher at 6,796.

In 2017, the TC10K had a total of approximately 8900 registrations (10K + kids), there were 6,832 timed 10K finishers. In 2018, there was ~8800 total registrations (10K + kids) and 6,796 timed 10K finishers.

According to Racestats.org, the 2017 race saw 886 less than the 7,724 who participated in 2016 and 715 fewer than the 8,439 that crossed the finish line in 2015. The race had shrunk every year for nine consecutive years, dropping from its peak of 10,615 from 2010.

Organizers this year were within ~800 of their all-time high.

During the highest participation years, the race held steady for four years with 9,942 participants in 2009, 10,615 in 2010, 10,151 for 2011 and 10,004 in 2012.

According to a Sportstats.ca (official results site) representative in an email, “The numbers published by the events [themselves] include all participants regardless if they are timed are not. For TC10K and Sun Run there are kids events that attract several thousand kids that are not published anywhere. Sportstats.ca reports all the registered timed runners and eventuality removes the DNS participants.” [DNS: Did Not Start].

What is the trend across the running community?

Maurice Wilson, a BC Athletics representative, told Victoria Sports News, “A number of media pieces over the last couple of years have highlighted declining numbers in our sport. But what they have primarily focussed on is the Running USA numbers from events south of the border, with an emphasis on Competitor Group events and similar. In BC, the market share held by the largest events has shown a decline, but when you look at the total number of finishers across all road and trail races in BC, that’s not true. In 2016 there were record numbers. Last year saw a drop in overall numbers, explained by a combination of cancelled events due to bad weather and the loss of events like Rock ‘n’ Roll and CRS Spring Run-Off, but holding steady for other events. And numbers through the first four months of 2018 were similar to 2014 and 2015.”

In addition to BC losing the Rock ‘n Roll Vancouver race and Harry’s Spring Run-off 8K, there were cancellations due to snow and forest fires including the popular First Half, Half Marathon as well as the Kamloops Marathon.

The above-mentioned loss of events represents a 7.4% decline in recorded finishers in road and trail races in BC in 2017, after hitting record numbers in 2016, so it is likely that the 2018 numbers will rebound; there appears to actually be more people running and walking events.

Below: Number of races and number of participants across the province for four years 2014-2017, 2018 is trending up again (source: BC Athletics)

The TC10K may be affected by the growth of other races locally. The MEC Race Series has enjoyed increased popularity, perhaps affecting more established events that take place in and around the city.  For 2016, a total of 2,020 runners finished their series, while in 2017, MEC experienced growth to 2,370. The 2018 figures were up yet again.

Island Race Series since 2013 has held its own, but there has been some minor growth in 2019 – a small decline annually before that. (source: RaceStats.org).

The TC10K offers a beautiful course and a stunning start and finish backdrop, prize money for top performers and entertainment in front of the stately Empress Hotel, Parliament Buildings and the Inner Harbour. Some vistas are priceless, but sometimes participants prefer smaller events with more affordable price tags.

With the competitive year-round race schedule on Vancouver Island and throughout the province, the good news is racing may be on the rise again.

Watch race video, here>>