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

Saanich police are seeking suspect in sexual assault report

Incident happened early Saturday morning near Rudd Park

Saanich to hear update on regional sewage treatment plant

Likely subjects of presentation include fate of trees along Grange Road, costs

Canadian students are smart cookies

Canadian teachers also among highest paid in the developed world

Local fundraising initiative addresses tampon recall

Period Posse checking donations during 10-day campaign

Langford light up celebration was the biggest one yet

The city spends about $25,000 annually on Christmas lights

Langford elementary school kids test their hand at entrepreneurship

Students sold their own products at a Young Entrepreneurs Fair Friday

POLL: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

The rain Vancouver Island is famous for is coming down in buckets,… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 11, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Canucks score 3 power-play goals in 4-2 win over Oilers

Vancouver sniper Boeser has 6 goals in last 5 games

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

Most Read