In its first year the McNeill Bay Half Marathon could set the record for the fastest half-marathon time in Victoria. So believes co-organizer Phil Nicholls, who knows a thing or two about distance running.
In 1986 Nicholls was the first Victoria-bred runner to win the GoodLife Fitness (Royal) Victoria Marathon. He did it again in 1989 and 1990.
The plan is to make the first the fastest, and in doing this Nicholls confirmed the participation of Canada’s best distance runner, Dylan Wykes.
The race starts at Oak Bay High on Sunday (Sept. 11) at 8 a.m., winds through the Uplands and along Beach Drive, eventually finishing back at Oak Bay High.
Wykes wants to beat Jon Brown’s 2002 time of one hour, two minutes and 32 seconds at the Victoria half-marathon.
Nicholls is big on Wykes, the latter having achieved a two hour, 12 minute full marathon time last year.
“It’s a fast course,” Nicholls said.
“And (Wykes is) currently Canada’s fastest in the five kilometre (13:43), the 10 km (28:12) and has a half-marathon personal best of 1:02:14.”
If Wykes doesn’t do it, former Victoria resident and current Victoria marathon record-holder Steven Osadiuk might.
Osadiuk holds a 1:04 personal best in the half-marathon and will provide a good push for Wykes, Nicholls said.
The Oak Bay race is the spiritual successor to the Lands End half-marathon, which would have been in its 18th year, but lost its home venue of Sandown Raceway.
Nicholls joined with the Oak Bay High track team, the Prairie Inn Harriers Running club and the Oak Bay municipality and police force to host the event.
Wykes is preparing for the Canadian marathon trials, part of the the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Oct. 16, in hopes of qualifying for the London Olympics in 2012.