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Okanagan College Half Marathon Apr. 7, 2013

The eleventh edition of the Okanagan College Half (originally the Campus to Campus Half) was the first time the race was a part of the Canadian Tire Interior Road Race Series. The race is now a modified loop from the KLO Campus, and was held in conjunction with a 10K and a Half marathon relay, which were not part of our series. These events made for some added excitement, with the three relay exchanges adding to spectator interest, and the 10K starting 15 minutes ahead of the Half. This was the first IRA race to feature chip timing, and the College website shows results of the chip times as well as gun times, whereas the medals, and IRA times are recorded from gun (clock) time. The IRA is interested in your opinion of this event, positive or negative, and whether you would like to see it continue in the series. Please contact your club rep, or a member of the IRA executive with your opinions.

After going without a half marathon in the series last year, 252 runners stepped up to register, of whom 211 finished, on a cool and windy day. Hans Aabye (M35-39) of Merritt had little challenge in winning his second IRA race of the year, and a cash prize to boot! Aabye (1:18:14) finished about two minutes ahead of Dave Matheson of Penticton (M40-44) who ran 1:20:11. Another Pentictonite, Wade Carlson (M20-29) finished third in 1:20:43. The top three of both sexes won cash, and there were many attractive draw prizes also, as well as a cool thermal glass water bottle for all registrants.

Top woman on the day was Vernon's Mary Edgar (F20-29) in 1:30:39, while the next two runners were both from the Kelowna area, with Claire Young (F35-39) second in 1:32:33 and young Michelle Blackburn (F16-19) third in 1:33:49.

All hail Liz Borrett! The Kelowna runner (F70-74)took her third overall age-graded title of the year (an IRA first) by finishing in 1:51:40 which graded out at 1:06:41, over five minutes ahead of the first male on age-grading, and nearly 8 minutes ahead of the next woman, Diane Leonard (F65-69), who graded at 1:14:37, which would have also placed her second amongst the men. Borrett was less than a minute behind Leonard on the road, while giving away seven years, an astounding performance. Coldstream's Lynda Proce (F55-59) took third at 1:23:48 from a 1:48:36 clock time. Race winner Edgar dropped to tenth on age-grading.

On the men's side, last year's winner of the Greenaway Cup, Sergio Pio (M45-49,) who finished fifth overall in 1:21:27, took the title at 1:13:16, with sixth place finisher Gary Wade (M45-49) rated second at 1:15:27 from a 1:21:49 clock time. Kelowna's Randy Werger (M50-54), an instructor at the College, finished third in 1:16:18, edging Matheson by four seconds, with race winner Aabye dropping to sixth.

Of additional note is the fact that Chantel Jeffrey of Blind Bay, age eleven, won the women's section of the accompanying 10K event in 45:45, surely the youngest overall winner of an event that I know of. Congratulations, Chantel.

There is a short turn-around to the next event, the Oliver Wine Capital of Canada 10K on April 14, and then the series takes a break until Mother's Day and the Blossom Ten Miler.

Rick Jenkner reporting


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