First Half Half Marathon results: Not so heartwarming on Valentines Day

February 15, 2016 2

Eric Gillis Leads Rob Watson. Photo submitted by Margaret Buttner.

© Copyright – 2016 – Athletics Illustrated

Vancouver’s First Half Half Marathon took place today in windy and rainy conditions with slightly cool temperatures – not so heartwarming for a Valentine’s Day event.

As predicted the top finishers were Guelph’s Eric Gillis, who broke the tape in one hour and five minutes and 46 seconds. He was followed in by Vancouver’s Rob Watson, who is a two-time winner of the event. Watson finished second in 67:39, while Kevin Coffey recorded a 68:31 result. Lethbridge native Kip Kangogo crossed the line in 69:09. To round out the top-five, Whitehorse’s Logan Roots finished in 69:39, a 1:15 personal best.

Watson won in 2013 and 2014. He finished in the time of 65:38 and 66:38, respectively. The defending champion was Vancouver’s Dylan Wykes who won in the time of 67:20 in 2015. Wykes happens to own the course record from the 2012 running, which he finished in the time of 64:21. Wykes’ best year of running was 2012 as weeks earlier he had set a personal best in the half marathon in Tempe, AZ finishing in the time of 62:38. Three months later he ran his marathon personal best of 2:10:47 in Rotterdam, which qualified him for the London Olympics. There was a $1500 bonus to break the course record today.


Gillis crossing the line Photo submitted by Margaret Buttner

The top women were Vancouver’s Dayna Pidhoresky, who won in the time of 1:15:11, Krista DuChene of Brantford with her 1:16:20 and Nanaimo’s Erin Burrett, who finished 10 seconds back of DuChene. Karen Tullouch of Vancouver was fourth in the time of 1:17:23, while the first master, Catherine Watkins of Vancouver finished fifth in 1:18:08.

Asked if the weather made the conditions slower than usual Pidhoresky said, “Yeah, I’d say the conditions were slower than usual!  It was steadily raining and I definitely noticed some stiff wind in numerous sections of the course.  Naturally, I was alone for most of the race which made it tough.”

Burrett echoed Pidhoresky’s comments, “I haven’t raced in such terrible conditions in a very long time. It was windy and wet, which made it feel cold, but everyone had the same conditions which slowed most people down.”

Pidhoresky was hoping to go for the course record of 1:12:47. Tina Connelly holds the record from her running back in 2004.

Asked how she felt in the race Pidhoresky said, “I felt strong and smooth.  I knew within the first 5K that I wasn’t going to get the time I was hoping for so I adjusted my race goal to just get in a good effort and go for the win.  In the second half of the race I was getting pretty cold and stiff but other than that I am happy with how I felt throughout.  Since Houston I have shifted to more of a speed focus to get the legs moving faster before I start another marathon build.  I know my fitness is in a good place and I hope to be able to get in a time that represents that.”

Pidhoresky is planning to race the Rock ‘n’ Roll New Orleans Half Marathon in two weeks. Currently, there are three women who have qualified to run in the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships, which are taking place in Cardiff, Wales on March 26th. The entry standard is just 1:16:00, however, Canada will send six athletes, three women and three men.  Lanni Marchant, Natasha Wodak and Rachel Hannah have run fast times during the qualification period, 1:11:08, 1:11:20 and 1:12:25, respectively. Pidhoresky has run as fast as 1:11:46 as well as1:13 at least twice.

The top masters were Kevin O’Connor of Vancouver and Jim Finlayson of Victoria. They were both hoping to get under 70-minutes, so that O’Connor could take the Canadian 45-49 age-group record, they finished in 70:10 and 70:27, respectively.

“In all honesty I am disappointed.  I went through half-way in 34:49 so it was there. I ran with Logan (Roots) to 9.5 miles (15.4K) and he dropped me. I said to myself there is the record right there. I kept my pace knowing I was still running hard, but lost ground at the lagoon,” said O’Connor.

Finlayson suggested that O’Connor is ready to take the record, but the heavy rain was a factor in the final results.

Roots (20-24) ran a 1:15 personal best. Interestingly he enjoyed the weather. Currently he is living in Whitehorse, however, is originally from Sooke. “The race went very well. There were lots of guys running at 1:10-ish pace and there was the pouring rain. Loved it!”

O’Connor added, “I sensed Jim was chasing me down. I thought I had drifted out to around 70:30/45 pace coming to last 400m, but still kept working hard then turned the corner 70.01..02..03 so was even more disappointed to be so close in poor conditions; however I gave it a real shot and did quite a bit of work with Logan. The disappointment will be over tomorrow and I will be back out for a run doing what I love again.”

Watkins was expecting more masters competition from Victoria’s Marilyn Arsenault and Lucy Smith, however, Arsenault was a late scratch, while in a rare move, Smith had to drop out. Arsenault holds two national records in the 10,000-metre distance in the 40-44 and 45-49 age-categories, while the versatile Smith is a 19-time national champion in triathlon, duathlon, track, cross-country and road running.

The second master was Melanie Kassal of Chilliwack, who finished in the time of 1:25:50, while Lara Boyd of Vancouver, competing in the 45-49 age-group finished in 1:29:25.

The deadline for qualifying for the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships is March 7, 2016. That is also the deadline date for declaring intentions to compete, while March 10th is the final selection date. The standards are 1:16:00 for the women and 1:06:00 for the men.

Currently the four fastest men’s times

Reid Coolsaet – 01:03:37
Rob Watson – 1:03:58
Brandon Lord – 01:04:00
Dylan Wykes – 01:04:14
Trevor Hofbauer – 01:04:28

Canadian Records 

1:01:28 by Jeff Schiebler from 1999 during the Tokyo International Marathon
1:10:47 by Lanni Marchant from 2014 from the Tom King Classic Half Marathon in Nashville, TN

Results – Full results.

1:05:46 3 GILLIS, Eric Guelph, ON M3539 1/925 1/127 0:30:31 1:05:46
1:07:39 2 WATSON, Robin Vancouver, BC M3034 2/925 1/117 0:30:51 1:07:39
1:08:21 6 COFFEY, Kevin Kingston, ON M2529 3/925 Jan-74 0:31:59 1:08:21
1:09:09 4 KANGOGO, Kip Lethbridge, AB M3539 4/925 2/127 0:31:40 1:09:09
1:09:39 16 ROOTS, Logan Sooke, BC M2024 5/925 17-Jan 0:33:04 1:09:39
1:10:10 11 O’CONNOR, Kevin Vancouver, BC M4549 6/925 1/141 0:33:04 1:10:10
1:10:27 9 FINLAYSON, Jim Victoria, BC M4044 7/925 1/121 0:33:05 1:10:27
1:11:28 15 SETLACK, Matt Cold Lake, AB M2529 8/925 Feb-74 1:11:28
1:11:46 7 MCGRATH, Tom Edmonton, AB M2529 9/925 Mar-74 0:33:45 1:11:44
1:12:24 763 HOLTHAM, Elliot Vancouver, BC M3034 10/925 2/117 0:33:28 1:12:24
1:12:36 57 CHERNIKOFF, Facundo Vancouver, BC M3034 11/925 3/117 0:34:04 1:12:35
1:12:55 12 BROWNE, Nicholas Vancouver, BC M3539 12/925 3/127 0:34:26 1:12:54
1:13:12 136 NICHOLSON, Drew Surrey, BC M3034 13/925 4/117 0:34:25 1:13:11
1:13:43 192 ABBOTT, Larry Dundas, ON M2529 14/925 Apr-74 0:35:02 1:13:43
1:14:14 8 ZIAK, Jeremiah Vancouver, BC M3539 15/925 4/127 0:34:44 1:14:13
1:14:16 134 NAPIER, Chris Vancouver, BC M3539 16/925 5/127 0:35:31 1:14:15
1:14:47 101 JOHNSON, Robert Chilliwack, BC M3034 17/925 5/117 0:34:47 1:14:47
1:14:54 126 MCMILLAN, Craig North Vancouver, BC M3539 18/925 6/127 0:35:08 1:14:54
1:15:11 20 PIDHORESKY, Dayna Vancouver, BC F2529 1/1083 1/119 0:35:01 1:15:11
1:15:13 78 EZZAT, Ramsey North Vancouver, BC M3034 19/925 6/117 0:35:52 1:15:10
1:15:39 14 BOURGEOIS, Michael Vancouver, BC M2024 20/925 17-Feb 0:35:01 1:15:39
1:15:47 53 CARL, Ryan Vancouver, BC M3539 21/925 7/127 0:35:52 1:15:46
1:15:51 48 BOURDEL, Anthony Vancouver, BC M2529 22/925 May-74 0:35:31 1:15:50
1:16:07 98 INHABER, Josh Calgary, AB M2529 23/925 Jun-74 0:34:51 1:16:06
1:16:20 22 DUCHENE, Krista Brantford, ON F3539 2/1083 1/185 0:36:11 1:16:20
1:16:30 21 BURRETT, Erin Nanaimo, BC F3034 3/1083 1/173 0:36:11 1:16:30
1:16:40 82 FORT, David Seattle, WA M3539 24/925 8/127 0:36:05 1:16:39
1:17:24 113 LOGUE, Robert Vancouver, BC M2529 25/925 Jul-74 0:36:37 1:17:22
1:17:26 173 TULLOCH, Karen Vancouver, BC F3539 4/1083 2/185 0:36:59 1:17:23
1:17:45 110 LARIVIERE, Gregory Dundas, ON M2024 26/925 17-Mar 0:37:06 1:17:42
1:17:46 41 ADKINS, Tim Vancouver, BC M3539 27/925 9/127 0:36:45 1:17:44
1:17:53 175 TURNS, Luke North Vancouver, BC M3034 28/925 7/117 0:36:48 1:17:52
1:17:54 95 HOPWOOD, Jeremy Richmond, BC M3539 29/925 10/127 0:37:20 1:17:52
1:18:08 25 WATKINS, Catherine Vancouver, BC F4044 5/1083 1/160 0:36:52 1:18:08


  1. Christopher Kelsall February 15, 2016 at 5:22 pm -

    In case you don’t have the Steely eyes of say a Chris Winter, you may not have noticed that I left out Rob Watson from the list of athletes that have the standard for IAAF World Half Marathon Championships – now added.

    Thanks, Mr. Winter.

    Watson ran 1:03:58 in Houston on January 17th.

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