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Fort Rodd Hill hosts half marathon

A runner passes a water station last year on Ocean Boulevard. The Fort Rodd Hill Historic half marathon is running again on June 5.

The West Shore’s fledgling half-marathon is set to run for a second time, and possibly the final time.

The Fort Rodd Hill Historic Half fielded about 110 runners in the 21.1 kilometre half-marathon and 11 km races for its inaugural event last June in Colwood.

The West Shore’s only long distance run is on again for June 5, but Try Events director Mitchell Hudson said more runners are needed for the race to become an annual event.

“We’ll have to hit a minimum this year for the future of this race,” Hudson said. “About 125 (entrants) is our break-even point.

“We got a good response last year from our runners. We hope they come back this year and bring friends.”

Considering the number of hiccups to get the inaugural race off the ground, Hudson considers it a roaring success. The original route around Colwood and Langford was squashed after the Ministry of Transportation wouldn’t issue permits to allow the race to cross Sooke Road.

After a new route was thrown together, the evening before race day, a major fire broke out at Colwood Corners, destroying several buildings and blocking part of the race route on the Galloping Goose Trail. With he clock ticking, Mitchell rerouted the run onto Sooke Road.

“That’s the first time that’s happened to me, the first time in seven years and about 100 events,” he said. “It’s all about acting quickly to keep the show going.”

The Fort Rodd Hill Historic Half is modelled after Hudson’s Fort Langley Historic Half, which blends historic sites with distance running. The 2010 Fort Langley run had more than 1,000 entrants in its half, 10 km and 5 km events.

For the Colwood course, the elevation varies, offering challenging uphill climbs and undulations near Fort Rodd Hill, a big downhill on Lagoon Road and the long scenic flatness of the Coburg Peninsula. Two laps of the route completes the half marathon and one loop is the “just over half a half” event of about 11 km.

“It’s a lot of fun to put on and everyone received it well,” Hudson said. “I’m hoping this race will catch on in Victoria.”

The race is seeking volunteers to help set up and for water stations. Business sponsorship is also welcome.

The race is Sunday, June 5, 8 a.m. at Fort Rodd Hill historic site, 603 Fort Rodd Hill Rd.

To volunteer, email or call 778-292-0619.

To register, see or visit the Langford Running Room, 113-2401G Millstream Rd. in the Millstream Village.