Sarah Inglis of Scotland, a 2020 Tokyo Olympic hopeful for Great Britain, admitted she was starting to fade.
But she hung on to break the women’s race record Sunday in winning the 30th Times Colonist 10K in 32 minutes and 24 seconds.
“I was dying and was just glad to see the finish line,” said the 27-year-old native of Falkirk.
“The people were great. The crowd, especially the people lining the course near the end, really sparked me to go hard to the finish line.”
The former Times Colonist 10K women’s record of 32:56 was set by Karolina Jarzynska of Poland in 2011.
Inglis came to Canada to run for the Trinity Western University Spartans and she has remained based in Langley, where she is a teacher on call. Also a track 10,000 metres runner, Inglis now prepares for the British trials July 6 in London for the 2019 IAAF world track and field championships in Doha, Qatar.
Veteran Malindi Elmore, who represented Canada in the 1,500 metres at the 2004 Athens Olympics and was a five-time NCAA all-American at Stanford, was the second woman across in 33:00. The Kelowna native is still going strong at 39 and has raced Ironmans and was third in the Vancouver Sun Run two weeks ago.
Previous Times Colonist 10K-champion Dayna Pidhoresky of Vancouver, among the pre-race favourites, was a victim of Saturday’s ferry cancellations and unable to get to Victoria.
Haron Sirma of Kenya successfully defended his men’s title by winning in 29:38 to better his victorious time of 29:49 from 2018.
Sirma hails from Eldoret, the high-altitude city which has produced several Olympic and world champions in track, road and cross-country running.
“We look up to them,” said Sirma, of the running legends, who are featured on the Champions Monument, which greets visitors as they enter his hometown.
As the back-to-back winner of the Times Colonist 10K, Sirma could probably now claim Victoria as his symbolic adopted Canadian hometown.
“I’m really happy to win again,” said Sirma, after crossing the finish line.
“The people were great along the course and they supported me.”
Matthew Travaglini of Calgary, who was fourth in the massive Sun Run, was second in the TC 10K in 29:55. Stefan Daniel, 2016 Rio Paralympics silver medallist in the triathlon, was third in 30:02. Colin Fewer of Paradise, Newfoundland, placed fourth in 30:49.
Daniel Kipkoech, a two-time past winner of the Times Colonist 10K and five-time winner of the Victoria GoodLife Fitness marathon, rounded out the top-five in 31:08.
There were 8,911 adult participants, of which 5,251 were women and 3,655 men, in the third-decade anniversary of the Times Colonist 10K. That total does not include the nearly 800 youngsters who participated in the 1.5K kids’ run, which is part of the event.
The conditions were nearly ideal, under sunny skies, but with a slight headwind.
“It was windy but not too bad,” said Inglis.
It wasn’t all about the elites. Road races are much more and have become festivals that celebrate physical activity. There was teacher Tom Turnbull doing his impersonation of Elvis at the start and finish lines, an oldies band near the start line, and a marimba band, taiko drummers and a 1980s-themed water station along the route.
There were all sorts of runners and walkers out on with many reasons for being there. Urmila Sharma, Babin Satyal and Raj Sigdel were part of the 12-member Team Mount Everest, so named because of their Nepalese ancestry.
“It’s a great way to support the community, and a great cause [cancer research in the case of that team], while getting some exercise, too,” said Sharma.
Trish Fougner, in her first year as race director, proclaimed the day a rousing success.
“This was an awesome celebration of running and community,” said Fougner, herself a former UVic track great and Canadian international.
“Marathons and half-marathons are more challenging, but most people can do a 10K, and that makes it [more accessible].”
Fougner also pointed to an important group of people: “We had 400 volunteers get up at 4 a.m. and we couldn’t have done this without them.”
>>> In Tuesday's print edition of the Times Colonist, a special section with names and finish times of all TC 10K participants who finished.