A new name and a new date has helped rebrand and grow the Navy Run.
More than 650 runners attended the seventh annual run at CFB Esquimalt Naden base on Sunday, up from 502 last year.
“It’s by far the biggest turnout,” said Navy Run race director Danielle Sutherland. “People are (better) associating with the name and we’re planning on keeping it as (the fourth weekend in June) for next year as well, so runners can keep us in their schedule.”
The top three finishers in each category were given medals by Rear Admiral Bill Truelove, commander of the Maritime Forces Pacific/Joint Task Force, including local runner Jonathan Gendron, who was first overall in the 10 km run with a time of 33 minutes and 21 seconds.
“We had a lot of people from the outside community come and run, and that’s another thing we try to promote, having civilians run the race as well,” Sutherland said.
But the biggest reason for the jump in numbers likely comes from moving the race to June in 2012, after five years as an August run.
“There are a lot of naval exercises demanding the time of base personnel so June accommodates more, and it showed with a substantial increase in both years.
“We also acknowledge that August is near the end of the race season for a lot of runners. Even in June we’ve made sure to have it on a different weekend than the West Shore’s Goddess Run, which we conflicted with last year.”
New to the Navy Run this year was the Fleet Challenge, which allowed base employees to sign up for the Navy Run under their ship name or for their non-seagoing support unit on base.
Winning the inaugural Fleet Challenge was HMCS Yellowknife in the sub-100 category, while the Joint Pacific Support Unit won the 100 to 200 category and HMCS Algonquin took the big category of over-300 personnel. Winners were based on percentage of runners per unit.
Also new was the Navy Run’s Kids Run, for ages two and up. It ran unofficially in the past, but is now an official event with staggered distances based on ages. Fifty-five kids registered, which is excellent for its first year, Sutherland said.