© Copyright – 2016 – Athletics Illustrated
Two former winners of the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon are back to compete in the event again Sunday on the streets of Downtown Victoria and Oak Bay. Daniel Kipkoech, who is a three-time winner (2013-2015) and Lamech Mokono, who is the course record holder will challenge for the win.
The 2010 and 2013 women’s champion, Victoria-based ultra-marathon runner Catrin Jones will be racing.
Jones will be under serious threat from American Eva Vail of Portland who ran her debut marathon on the streets of Victoria. She is coached by her husband and elite marathon runner Ryan Vail. Eva Vail ran to second place in 2014 in the time of 2:45.54.
Vancouver’s Sabrina Wilkie will contend for a podium position. She has run the half-marathon distance as fast as 1:17:07 from 2014. She has since become a mother. This will be her debut marathon performance.
In the men’s marathon Mokono broke Steve Osaduik’s course record of 2:16:49, by finishing in the time of 2:13:42 in 2013.
Also in the mix is Bryan Andrews of Vancouver. Andrews owns a personal best of 2:29:00 from 2015. He has won the Kamloops Marathon.
In the sold-out half-marathon event Kenyan Paul Kimugul is one of the pre-race favourites. He won the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon in May in the time of 1:05:01. He will have to deal with Vancouver’s Rob Watson, who has been one of Canada’s faster distance runners over the previous decade and owns a marathon personal best of 2:13:29 and a half-marathon best of 1:03:22 both from 2013.
Watson has retired from the marathon distance, however, has continued on as a coach in Vancouver.
The women’s pre-race favourite in the half-marathon is four-time TC10K winner Jane Murage of Kenya. She has run as fast as 1:11:30. Rio Olympian Natasha Wodak was the pre-race favourite; however, she had to drop out apparently due to injury.
“I would like to run around 1:13:00 Sunday,” said Murage, considering the possibility of rain and wind.
Calgary’s Trevor Hofbauer and Victoria’s Nick Walker will race the 8K. Hofbauer is an emerging talent. He and Lanni Marchant, Canada’s record holder in the marathon at 2:28:00, raced the NACAC 10K Championships this year and were the fastest duo of the event. The race was held in conjunction with the World’s Best 10K in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Brendan Laan of London, Ontario will give Walker and Hofbauer a run for their money. Walker is a former UVic Vike.
Whitehorse native Lindsay Carson has returned to defend her 8K title. She won in the time of 27:32 last year, while Lindsey Drake from Portland and Taryn O’Neil of Kelowna round out the top three. O’Neil is coached by one of Canada’s all-time great middle-distance runners in Malindi Elmore.