Maurice Wilson, BC Athletics
The ninth event in the 2016 BC Super Series brings athletes from Alberta and Ontario, as well as Americans and Kenyans, to race the locals from UBC to Stanley Park on Sunday morning at the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon.
Adriana Nelson from Colorado, making her first visit to Vancouver, will be the favourite for the women’s title. The former Romanian, who became a US citizen in 2011, placed 12th at the US Olympic Marathon trials earlier this year in 2:38:56, and has a half marathon best of 1:11:09.
A tight race for second is likely to feature Lyndsay Tessier from Toronto, and locals Sabrina Wilkie and Robyn Mildren. Mildren beat Wilkie by one second at the recent BlueShore Financial Longest Day 5K, so Wilkie will undoubtedly be seeking to reverse that, and by completing her fourth race in the BC Super Series is likely to move into the top 3 in the standings.
Melanie Kassel from Chilliwack, who was top master at the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon, should claim that award again on Sunday.
The men’s race is harder to predict. Rob Watson, the BC Super Series leader, has not been training as intensely since the Virgin Money London Marathon in April, but his competitive instincts will undoubtedly kick in once the gun fires. Kip Kangogo has won the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon four times previously, most recently in 2013. He was top Canadian at the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon four weeks ago, which may take the edge off his performance this year. Kenyan Pius Kipsang Korir took fourth place at the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon. Another to watch is Blair Johnston, the reigning BC 10K Champion, who will be making his half marathon debut.
An intriguing masters contest is also in prospect, as Jerry Ziak turned 40 only days ago, and will be set to challenge Jim Finlayson for that title.
The race gets underway at 7:30am Sunday morning on UBC’s East Mall. After looping around the university campus it follows the waterfront along Spanish Banks, through Kits and across Burrard Bridge. The winner will break the tape at Second Beach shortly after 8:30am.
In addition to being the 9th race in the BC Super Series, the event is also part of the Canada Running Series and the Lower Mainland Road Race Series, and is a fund raiser for over 70 charities.
Complete event information can be found at http://www.canadarunningseries.com/svhm.
The BC Super Series is a collaboration between BC Athletics and 12 of BC’s best road races, http://www.bcathletics.org/BCSuperSeries/. The 10th race in the BC Super Series follows in a weeks time at the Fresh Air Midsummer 8K in Kelowna on July 3, which also serves as the 2016 BC 8K Championship.