The conditions Sunday morning for the 29th Times Colonist 10K were overcast and cool. That suits runners just fine, as long as there’s no headwind.
It was choice enough out on the streets of Victoria for Haron Kiptoo Sirma, who is now two-for-Canada. The Kenyan running pro, a rookie in this country’s road-race circuit, has started two Canadian races and won both. He followed up his Around the Bay 30K championship last month in Hamilton, Ont., by winning the 2018 Times Colonist 10K in 29 minutes, 49 seconds. He shunted fellow-Kenyan, and two-time defending champion Daniel Kipkoech, to second place in 29:59.
“It was very hard and very competitive,” said Kiptoo Sirma, who hails from Kenya’s famous Rift Valley, out of which have come so many Olympic running champions.
“The main thing was the wind was not blowing today. I’m very happy with the result. I loved all the people cheering along the course.”
Kipkoech matched his time from last year, but it wasn’t enough for victory this year against the new kid on the block. Kipkoech, however, was gracious in relinquishing his two-time Times Colonist 10K crown: “[Kiptoo Sirma] is very good, so it was hard to get the win today. But I am very grateful for the support I received along the course. Victoria is so very nice and beautiful. People were calling my name. They know me. I hope I can be an inspiration for kids to run.”
Stephen Kersh of Flagstaff, Arizona, was third in 30:00.
Dayna Pidhoresky of Windsor, Ont., made it back-to-back women’s championships by crossing first in 33:20 to follow up her fifth-place in last week’s massive Vancouver Sun Run.
“It was windy here last year. But I woke up this morning and it was perfect,” said Pidhoresky.
“There were fans everywhere cheering you on. It’s even better than Boston.”
Pidhoresky had a plan to “stick with the [top] guys” and it pulled her along to victory.
The Canadian shunted Jane Murage of Kenya, the Times Colonist 10K female champion four years straight from 2013 to 2016, to second place for the second consecutive year.
“I’d like to continue the streak,” said Pidhoresky.
Although Murage’s former streak has been halted decisively the past two years, the always-pleasant Kenyan was not displeased with her second-place time of 34:37 Sunday: “I love racing in Victoria. I love this place, which is why I always have a smile on my face when I cross the finish line here.”
Murage was using the Times Colonist 10K as preparation for next weekend’s Vancouver Marathon.
Former national junior triathlon star Alison Hooper, now a varsity runner with the University of Victoria Vikes, was third female across in 34:50.
Canadian race-walker Evan Dunfee, fourth in the 2016 Rio Olympics, walked the 10K faster than most people ran it, and was across in 42 minutes.
“Nobody wants to lose to a walker,” quipped Dunfee. “So I use myself as motivation to push runners to go faster and to pass me.”
Several of the Elk Lake rowers who won Olympic gold in 2008 at Beijing in the men’s eight proved sport is forever as Adam Kreek, Kevin Light and Malcolm Howard were all spotted on the 10K course.
“We are now citizen athletes,” said Kreek, who is planning on climbing the Island’s highest peak, Golden Hind, with his kids this summer.
“That’s the pathway: From Olympic athlete to sport for life. You do it to feel good, feel happy and stay healthy.”
That was also the message of a 1976 Olympic rower, as pole-walking advocate and expert Linda Schaumleffel was taking part in the 10K with her Vancouver Island Nordic Pole Walkers out in force.
“You use 45 per cent of your muscles when you walk,
but 90 per cent when you pole walk because you also involve the upper half of your body. You burn twice the calories and it seems half as hard,” said Schaumleffel.
Joel Bryan, meanwhile, ran in his fifth Boston Marathon this month. So he was pleased with his 35:47 10K clocking Sunday despite “those Boston legs still feeling heavy.” The Victoria IT consultant added: “But to then have your name called out along the course by friends, family and co-workers makes you go faster.”
Runners as good as Bryan don’t have time for breakfast along the course. But the appropriately named Super Fast Maple Syrup team of Darcie Frederiksen, Trevor Condrotte and Craig and Marta McAulay certainly did, stopping during the 10K to eat waffles in the front yard of a spectator who was making them for the runners and walkers as they passed.
“We’re like the syrup poured over the waffles: Not super fast,” quipped Condrotte.
The Super Fast Maple Syrup team then went for a post-race breakfast. They planned to order, you guessed it, waffles.
Ed MacDonald ran the 10K after playing in the Lloyd Duhaime Cup hockey game the day before in honour of the Victoria lawyer who died two years ago of a brain tumour. MacDonald said as taxing as both events were physcially back-to-back, he wouldn’t have missed either.
At this time last year, Carol Long could only move with the assistance of a walker. On Sunday, she walked the 10K unaided to celebrate her recovery from three surgeries. Her two new knees and new back held out just fine.
“I’m determined,” said the 71-year-old, who has walked 26 half-marathons.
“I wanted to be upright crossing the line,” said Long, who was accomplaned along the course by daughter Cara Laudon and friend Wendy Purcell.
“We’re her biggest fans,” said Laudon.
Of the more than 8,600 who registered for the 2018 Times Colonist 10K, a total of 7,810 crossed the finish line. Of those, 4,634 were women and 3,175 men. More than 900 additonal participants took part in the Kids’ Family Run.
“It was a fantastic day. The weather held, and the elite field was entertaining,” said race director Joe Dixon.
“There were smiling faces all-around. It was a great lead-in to the 30th anniversary race next year,” in which, he added, the goal is to reach the 10,000 plateau in registrants.