For the second time this year, the Road Race series ran two races within a week, and for the second time, Hans Aabye (M35-39) won both of them to extend his winning streak to six. Hans has won seven of nine IRA starts this year and has never finished lower than third. He also ran in the lead of the Vancouver, Washington Marathon for much of the race before fading to third, as his strength had been sapped by a stomach bug that week.
The race moved to Gyro Park this year, for a flatter, faster, course with a beach finish, and thanks to race director Ray Snitynsky and the KRC and their crew of volunteers, the move went seamlessly. The race began at 8am, and thankfully it was a little cooler than on Canada Day, and there was lots of shade along Abbott Street past the heritage houses that racers didn’t have time to appreciate. Hans’ nemesis John Machuga (M30-34) made his return to IRA racing, but Hans didn’t give him any opening, racing away to his usual early lead and then hanging on for the victory in the fine time of 26:13 to Machuga’s 26:35. Vancouver’s Nick Browne (M30-34), winner of the BC 8K championship race in May, finished third in 27:17.
The women’s race was won by Dayna Pidhoresky of Ontario, who has had a stellar year of racing, including a 5th at the Sun Run in 34:04, and seconds at the Canadian Half Marathon Championships and the BMO Vancouver Half. Dayna (F20-29) ran 28:44 to defeat Rachel Ruus of Richmond, (F35-39) who finished in 29:43. The first local runner was Nikki Reiter (F20-29), third in 32:08, with Cindy Rhodes (F55-59) fourth in 33:06.
Through an oversight, the New Balance shoe prize was not drawn, so a draw was made later which was won by Emily Millard of Kelowna. Your certificate will be sent to you.
The men’s age graded championship was hotly contested, with Merritt’s Bruce Wark making it a clean sweep by Merritt men for the second consecutive week by taking the victory in 24:34. Local hero Rory Switzer, now in M50-54, placed tenth overall in winning his group and taking second on A-G in 25:21, while Allan Kerr of Penticton, who turned 70 three months earlier, won his group and was 41st overall in 34:52, to take third A-G in 25:31. Allan had recently run 3:35 at the Windermere Marathon in Spokane. Aabye, Machuga, and Browne placed fourth, sixth, and tenth on age grading. Wark could capture the trophy by scoring well in the last two races, although Aabye continues to lead over Randy Werger and Bill Faulkner.
The women’s age grading was equally tough, with the podium finishers relegated to fourth, fifth, and eighth. Cindy Rhodes took her fourth consecutive victory in 26:47 to retain a mathematical chance of winning the year-end trophy over Liz Borrett (F70-74) who took second in 27:36, with last year’s winner of the trophy, Diane Leonard (F65-69) third in 27:43.
The series now takes a break of almost two months before the next race, the revived Bike Barn 10K in Penticton on September 8. This flat two loop course offers a great shot at a PB, with the lake nearby for a post-run dip. I hope to see you there!