Graham Lamb runs shirtless along the Beach Drive stretch of the 2012 Oak Bay half-marathon. This year’s race goes May 26.

Graham Lamb runs shirtless along the Beach Drive stretch of the 2012 Oak Bay half-marathon. This year’s race goes May 26.

Half-marathon planning in home stretch

Ninth year brings with it new 10-kilometre distance

More than 1,000 people have registered to hit the streets in the Oak Bay half-marathon May 26, with 30 runners committed to taking on a new 10-kilometre race. For the first time this year a 10.73-km race has been added to the morning’s 5-km, relay and kids’ 2-km challenge and 400-metre fun run festivities, offered in addition to the half-marathon main event in honour of race title sponsors, 107.3 Kool FM. (Runners will still pass a timing mat at the 10-km mark.)

“It’ll give a bunch of people a new challenge,” said Dave Milne, race organizer and owner of Peninsula Runners.

Racers true to the half-marathon distance won’t have to worry their course will be marginally lengthened come race day.

“It’s the one everybody likes, so we don’t fiddle with it,” said Milne.

The course will once again weave through south Oak Bay and culminate in a grind up Newport Avenue before the big finish at Willows Beach. Catch the first finishers crossing the line just after 9 a.m.

Last year, organizers focused on recouping some of the funds lost in the 2011 event to ensure the races could continue into the future, and although charity wasn’t the focus, they were able to donate $2,000 to breast cancer research and $1,000 to the Help Fill a Dream Foundation. With the books now balanced, proceeds from this year’s event are earmarked for C-FAX Santas Anonymous. Registered runners are encouraged to collect pledges for the long-standing local children’s charity.

Then there’s nothing left to do, but to lace up their sneakers. For the newbies, Milne offers a sole piece of advice: pace yourself.

“If you’ve trained, you should already know what you’re doing, but if you’re a little under-trained, there’s nothing wrong with going out a little slower than perhaps what you want to and trying to make up the pace in the second half of the event.”

Volunteers are needed to fill roles on the route as road marshals and post-race at Willows. To get involved, to register or to print a pledge form, visit oakbayhalf.com.