Elites target course records of Victoria Marathon

Cash prizes entice faster runners to challenge the course records of Victoria full and half marathons

2011 winner Thomas Omwenga returns for the 2012 GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon on Sunday.

With apologies to the old adage, but it’s records, not rules, which are meant to be broken.

Three of the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon’s bigger records were reset last year, one of them 22 years old. And this Sunday there’s no reason those three records, plus more, can’t be broken once more in the marathon’s 33rd year.

“There’s a very good chance the men’s and women’s marathon records could fall once again,” said Jonathan Foweraker, marathon’s elite athlete coordinator.

The marathon’s board of directors made a bold choice this year by loosening the regulations for the cash bonus to course record-breakers. Previously, the course record bonus of $5,000 was reserved to Canadian citizens, meaning last year’s winner, Thomas Omwenga, who earned $3,000 for the win, was unable to collect the added $5,000 course bonus.

That changes this year as the men’s and women’s marathon bonuses, including $1,000 for the half-marathon, are extended to permanent residents and refugees who have been domiciled in Canada for at least a year.

Omwenga returns after breaking Steve Osadiuk’s 2006 time of two hours, 16 minutes and 49 seconds last year with a time of 2:14:33.

“Omwenga has a better personal-best than that, and we must note that in 2011 he ran a marathon in Montreal the week before. This time he’s rested up,” Foweraker said.

The Canadian-based Kenyan has won two marathons already this year, in Manitoba and Quebec, and his last race was Niagara’s Run for Grapes half-marathon, which he won on Sept. 23.

The competition is tight in the men’s elite pack with 2010-winner Philip Samoei, who came second last year at 2:25:41 and, Cache Creek’s Ryan Day, who was third last year at 2:26:42  also returning.

Elites keying in on the women’s marathon are Gillian Clayton, an Ironman triathlete who has a personal best of 2:54 from 2011, Hallie Jansen, the 2004-winner, who ran 2:45 in 2011, 2010-winner Catrin Jones, who ran 2:48 last year and Nadyia Fry, third in 2011 with 2:55.

Eyeing up first in the women’s half-marathon is another Canadian-based Kenyan, Lucy Njeri, who smashed the marathon record of with a time of 2:37:56 in 2011.

Cracking the women’s half-marathon record might be beyond Njeri, however, as Natasha Wodak set the bar high with her course record of 1:15:27 last year.

Other notables for Sunday: the masterful movement of Jim Finlayson. Now 40, the local runner joins the masters ranks. For the fourth year in a row the Victoria Marathon will act as the B.C. Championships. The advent of an expanded Elite B category means free entry to more runners, particularly women, from the local scene, rather than just international runners.

Cycling Tara Whitten

Olympic cyclist Tara Whitten, who won bronze in London in track cycling, will lead the marathon on Sunday.

A select few cyclists ride about 10 to 20 metres ahead of the lead runner to show them the course and ensure that all marshals are in place with a police motorbike.

Seven cyclists in all will lead out on Sunday, guiding the top male and female in the marathon and half-marathon, and the eight-km road race.

It’s the first time such a high-profile cyclists has joined this portion of the event.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

HarbourCats bats hot in home return

Victoria squad downs Yakima Valley Pippins 17-2

Victoria veteran receives French Legion of Honour, becoming knight of France

Ted Vaughan was a pilot in the 408 “Goose” Squadron in WW2

Witness the passion and fire of flamenco in Victoria this July

Seventh annual Victoria Flamenco Festival features free and ticketed performances downtown

Sidney youth bowl over the competition, head for nationals

Youngsters take Mens and Womens Singles Championships at recent tournament

West Shore resident, local officer encourages women to take control of their safety

Kris Greffard is posting short videos with safety tips for women using local trails and parks

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

POLL: Do you carry reusable shopping bags?

While a court ruling determined the City of Victoria’s plastic bag ban… Continue reading

Most Read