A mayors’ challenge will highlight the 31st Times Colonist 10K on April 26.
“A number of us [Greater Victoria mayors] run the race, so we thought it would be fun to officially make it a challenge,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.
It is also about rallying their respective residents to join the more than 9,000 people who are expected to take part in the event.
A couple of repurposed trophies and cups will be prizes for municipalities with the highest per capita participation and best combined times.
The mayors are game. Even if they couldn’t in their wildest dreams match the men’s and women’s course records of 28 minutes 47 seconds and 32 minutes 24 seconds set respectively by Simon Chemwoiyo in 1995 and Sarah Inglis last year.
“I will be happy if I finish in under an hour,” Helps said. “I hope Victoria wins the challenge. I am competitive.”
Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes said he is up for the challenge. “I like to say Saanich puts the Great in Greater Victoria,” he quipped.
There’s a greater message involved, say the mayors. They want to get across the idea that the region is a healthy and sporty place from the grassroots on up to the many Olympians the Island produces.
“I like to think we are the fittest region in the world,” said Haynes, an eighth degree black belt in Aikido
“Health, wellness and physical activity are core values of life on the Island.”
People go to sports events to cheer together or participate together, said the mayors. There is no left or right politically in a road race or a hockey, basketball, soccer, baseball or lacrosse game.
“Sport brings communities together,” said Helps.
Haynes agreed. “Whether it’s cheering on PFC in soccer or Canada in hockey or basketball, as we have done or will be doing in the region, it’s about 450,000 people coming together as a single collective for sport,” he said.
Councillor Hazel Braithwaite, representing Oak Bay at Tuesday’s news conference at Uptown, won’t be able to take part in the mayors’ challenge. But she has a good excuse and it is, fittingly, fitness and activity related. And then some. She will be taking part at that time, with husband Rod Braithwaite, in a 4,365-kilometre walk along the Pacific Crest Trail from the California-Mexico border to Manning Park in southern B.C.
Braithwaite vowed Oak Bay Mayor Kevin Murdoch will not let the municipality down in the 2020 Times Colonist 10K.
“Kevin is a good runner and he’ll get the numbers up for Oak Bay,” Braithwaite said.
Unveiled Tuesday were the unique wooden medals for finishers in the 31st running of the Times Colonist 10K. They are made of coastal Western Red Alder and are custom engraved and milled on the Island.
Victoria artist Robert Amos has designed this year’s race T-shirts.
For information and to register for the 2020 Times Colonist 10K, go to tc10k.ca.