StPats_Flash© Copyright – 2015 – Athletics Illustrated

The 2015 BMO St. Patrick’s Day 5K took place today under cloudy skies and mild temperatures. The torrential rain that pummeled Vancouver through the night and into the morning cleared up shortly before the race started.

The winners were Vancouver’s Kelly Wiebe and Rachel Cliff, who repeated her 2014 record-setting performance. They finished the race in 14:27 and 16:15, respectively, while the top-three overall were rounded out by Luc Bruchet, who finished in 14:35 and the 2014 winner Geoff Martinson who finished in 14:39. Dayna Pidhoresky finished the race in second place with a time of 16:37, while Erin Burrett of Nanaimo finished in 16:58.

The field started off fast, as race organiser’s offer up a first mile prim, to take advantage of the downhill start. The leaders who passed through the mile in approximately 4:32 to 4:35 included Martinson, Cliff Childs, Theo Hunt, Ryan Brockerville, John Corbit and Bruchet and Wiebe; Wiebe took the prim. “Luc and I were actually chatting to each other about who should take it, leading up to the timing mat,” chuckled Wiebe. “I think I will split it with him anyway, it could have gone either way.”

Bruchet and Wiebe, who are training partners, raced side-by-side and exchanged leads throughout the race. They put a gap on the field early and maintained the lead throughout. Wiebe unleashed a powerful kick after the 4K point of the race to take the win by eight seconds.

Twenty-five men ran under 16-minutes including Vancouver’s Kevin O’Connor who competes in the 45-49 age-category. He finished in 15:40.

Rachel Cliff also won the women’s mile prim with her 4:54. Pidhoresky was second in 5:07, while Erica Digby finished third in the mile, just one second back of Pidhoresky. Digby finished the 5K race in 17:08 for fourth position. “It was a good race. Steve and Karen, the race directors, do a great job with the event and it is nice to come out and support the race. They care about the elites and they also care about all the runners of all abilities,” shared Cliff, when asked about receiving course record prize money off of a chip time result – an unheard of gesture. Official results are taken from gun time.

Masters winners were Vancouver’s O’Connor and Nancy Baxendale of Shawnigan Lake, who won the in the time of 19:04. She competes in the 50-54 age-category. Thirty women finished under the 20-minute benchmark, while twenty crossed the line under 19:30 and nine finished under 18:00. There were 1662 runners who started the race and 1651 finishers overall.

“It is nice to support the elite athletes. Even though we do offer prize money, it is not always about the money, it’s the nice little touches, a good hotel room or a phone call or an email to see how training is going. I think that is why we get a deep field,” said race director Steve Mattina.

St. Paddy’s Day 5K takes place in Stanley Park on a loop course that takes in picturesque points along the water and follows a lightly undulating route with an uphill finish, where athletes hear their names called by the legendary Steve King. Post-race, a fun party atmosphere is offered with green beer, music, dancing and draws prizes.

Athlete, post-race video interviews will be available soon. Check back often.