Oak Bay Half Marathon on track for a strong year

More than 500 runners have registered for the May 13 event, up about 100 from this time last year.

Registration numbers are up for the Oak Bay Half Marathon – a good sign for the race’s organizer who took on a personal loss for the love of the event last year.

Dave Milne attributed a $15,000 loss in 2011 to poor weather and the involvement of a race director who spent more than the race was able to recoup on items such as increased capital spending and too much advertising.

Milne, who owns two Peninsula Runners stores, covered the loss and has no apprehensions about the future of the race, now entering its eighth year.

“It didn’t align with my frugal spending on this race,” Milne said of last year’s finances. “I’m back in charge and everything is back on track.”

More than 500 runners have registered for the May 13 event, up about 100 from this time last year. The race includes the half marathon, group relay and new this year, a five-kilometre run, which has thus far attracted 64 entrants. A two-kilometre kids’ challenge and 400-metre fun dash are also on the itinerary for the charity event. Proceeds generated support the Help Fill a Dream Foundation.

Fees have been increased this year from last year’s $40 and $55 for early bird and regular registration to a $55 to $75 range, depending on how close to the race runners sign up. The team behind the half marathon has been pared back down to Milne, six part-time staff members and a crew of volunteers. More volunteers, specifically road marshals, are needed, Milne said.

Milne hopes to see more than 1,073 finishers in the half marathon distance, in honour of its title sponsor, 107.3 KOOL FM. Last year a little more than 1,000 people were registered in the 21-kilometre race, but only 785 finished – a number largely influenced by heavy race-day rains, Milne said.

“It’s just a part of growing,” Milne said. “(Races) are not easy to get off the ground to get them good. To get it up to 2,000 people, that costs money; that costs advertising. Risk is what it costs. … Not many people are willing to accept that risk and I am.”

The half marathon course remains the same as in 2011, with a start and finish along Oak Bay Avenue and ground covered from McNeill Bay to Cattle Point.

To register or volunteer for the event, click here.