There is something for every level of runner (and walker) as the first training clinics for the Times Colonist 10K race kick off this weekend. The annual event, which attracts more than 10,000 participants, is the third-largest 10-kilometre race in Canada.
Every year, veterans and neophytes get off the couch, lace up a pair of runners and join thousands of others — from people in wheelchairs to elite runners — for race day on Sunday, April 24.
To help participants stick to their goals, TC 10K training clinics are starting up at 16 recreation centres, with some beginning on Saturday. Participants can take their first steps in a 14-week training program to get them successfully to the finish line of the popular race.
“Times Colonist 10K clinics offer a valuable physical training program for participants of all experience and skill levels, along with a really great supportive and motivating environment,” clinic manager Jill Shaw said in a statement. “It’s very ‘Victoria’ to see groups of clinic participants out training all over Victoria from mid-January through to the end of April.”
The clinics are held on different days of the week and times of the day to accommodate busy schedules. All clinics are led by trained run/walk leaders who bring years of experience to the job.
Most clinics offer four programs — one walking and three running levels tailored for beginners, intermediate and advanced. Some also offer a pole-walking component.
This year, a limited number of runners can go a step further, by signing up for a personalized 16-week advanced training clinic led by Canadian masters champion Marilyn Arsenault.
“It’s a more personalized program, a bit more one-on-one than the regular clinics,” said Arsenault, who has championship titles in track, road and cross-country fields. “The workout will be designed for each person.”
While she works with Olympic and national team athletes, she stresses that participants don’t necessarily have to be elite runners to join.
“I don’t want people to think it’s too highbrow,” she said. “I just want to encourage a healthy running lifestyle and help people run at their top potential.”
This year, the TC 10K has added Nordic walking poles as a new category to the race. People interested in finding out more about the popular activity can sign up for instruction at four locations: Cedar Hill, Oaklands, Panorama and West Shore Parks and Recreation.
At the race, pole walkers can participate as teams of two, three or four. The time of the last member of the team to cross the finish line is the official time for the entire team. If there is room to safely do so, team members can walk abreast for the last few metres of the course and cross the finish line together.
The regular 14-week clinic costs $134 plus GST (includes training, a technical training shirt, TC 10K registration and an event shirt). Arsenault’s 16-week advanced clinic is $475 plus GST and will be held at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence campus, 4371 Interurban Rd.
Participating clinics can be found at: Cedar Hill Recreation Centre, Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre, Henderson Recreation Centre, Oaklands Community Centre, Panorama Recreation Centre, Pearkes Recreation Centre, Saanich Commonwealth Place, SEAPARC, Shawnigan Lake Community Centre, Frank Jameson Community Centre in Ladysmith, University of Victoria, Victoria West Community Centre, West Shore Parks and Recreation, and Windsor Recreation Centre. New this year are North Langford Recreation Centre and Naden Athletic Centre.
People can register directly at their local recreation centre. For clinic dates and times go to tc10k.ca/clinics-2016.