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Aaron Ahl from Calgary and Anja Krueger from Winnipeg raced the Harriers Pioneer 8K Sunday clocking times of 23:44 and 27:55, respectively. It was a cool morning by Victoria standards with a race start at approximately -3C.

The men’s race

Ahl ran with a few competitors until about 3K into the race before the competition began to drop off.

Aidan Anderson from Courtenay, BC, tried to make a go of it but did well to finish in second place in the time of 24:34. Daniel Mulushet Zewdu took third clocking 24:48. Anderson, representing the Comox Valley Road Runners won the 2023 Royal Victoria Marathon. Sunday was his first 8K road race.

Aaron Ahl breaking the tape. Photo credit: Joseph Camilleri.

Ahl ran for the University of Washington and graduated in 2023. He now lives in Victoria and is training with the Athletics Canada West Hub. His focus is on the 1500m event. The 23-year-old owns a personal best of 3:38.51, which he set in February 2023 in Boston. He will be at the same meet next month to try to improve upon that pb.

“I am hoping to sign a professional contract this year. I graduated last year, so have joined the West Hub under Coach Mark Rowland,” Shared Ahl.

Rowland was signed last year, after coaching with Nike for a number of years.

The top master was Prairie Inn Harrier Andrew Russell who finished in the time of 25:57.

The women’s race

Unlike the men, the women worked together for most of the race. Krueger prevailed in the time of 27:55.

Finishing in second place was Jennifer Erickson with Speedfarm. She crossed the line in the time of 28:25. Taking third was Collette Reimer at 28:31 on the clock. Speedfarm is looking to capture the team championship named the Island Series Cup.

Krueger, from Winnipeg, recently moved to Victoria to focus on her triathlon career.

Anja Krueger for the win. Photo credit: Joseph Camilleri

“There is a good running culture here and I am just trying to fit into it. But, I am here for triathlon training,” shared Krueger.

She will be racing in the Caribbean this spring. Meanwhile, she also competes for the University of Victoria Vikes in cross country. Next up for Krueger is the BC 10K Championships, which will be taking place in Cobble Hill 20 minutes north of Victoria. The Cobble Hill 10K is race number two of the Vancouver Island Race Series. The Pioneer 8K was the first race of the eight-event season.

Care Nelson was the first master. She finished in the time of 28:40. Nelson debuted in the marathon in October at the Royal Victoria Marathon and finished third overall. She runs for the Prairie Inn Harriers.

A world record

A significant run of note came from Comox Valley Road Runner Roslyn Smith.

Not only did Smith shatter the Canadian F75 8K record, it was likely a world best. There are no official world masters records for 8K — but the age-graded performance was high, toward 96 per cent.

F75 CMA record: 41:41 by Karin Vickars, Victoria 8K, 13 Oct 2013

F75 World best*: 40:23 by Louise Gilchrist (ENG), Manchester (ENG), 25 May 2009

Today, Smith ran 39:05 (gun time, 39:02 chip time).

Results are available here: CLICK.
Photos: CLICK.

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