© Copyright – 2014 – Athletics Illustrated

The 2014 Canada Running Series starts this weekend in Vancouver, BC with the Modo Spring Run-Off 8K, formerly known as Harry’s Spring Run-Off 8K. The race will take place in Stanley Park, Sunday, the 23rd with the gun firing at 10:00 AM. The Modo 8K is race number one of the ten event series that also includes dates in Montreal and Toronto as well as more events in Vancouver.

The Modo 8k elite field boasts several Greater Vancouver-based athletes that will make for an exciting race, including David Jackson of nearby Abbotsford as well as Kelly Wiebe, Rob Watson, Richard Mosley and Kevin Friesen who will be representing the BC Endurance Project. Australia’s Adam Byles will be toeing-the-line as will one of Canada’s fastest master athletes (40-plus) Kevin O’Connor of Vancouver.

Wiebe is coming off of a second place finish from last weekend’s BMO St. Patrick’s Day 5k. He finished in the time of 14 minutes and 29 seconds, four seconds behind winner Geoff Martinson of Victoria, who set the new course record in that race. Watson finished third, after having led for most of the way only giving up the lead momentarily while University of Victoria Vike Kyle Irvine sped ahead to win the first mile prime and again near the end of the race where he was eventually passed by Martinson and Wiebe.

Wiebe is the favourite. He is the 2012 CIS Cross Country Champion and during the past two years he has finished second and fourth at the National Cross Country Championships. One of his best performances was his 2013 win at the Vancouver Sun Run, which he finished in the time of 29:12. He also won the 2013 GoodLife Fitness Victoria Half Marathon in his debut at the distance. He finished in the time of 64:58.

The favoured women are Vancouver’s Natasha Wodak, Dayna Pidhoresky, Rachel Cliff, Sabrina Wilkie and master Catherine Watkins. From Vancouver Island is Nanaimo’s Erin Burrett, while Gibsons, BC resident Kimberley Doerksen will also be racing.  Wodak, Pidhoresky, Wilkie and Watkins all train with the BC Endurance Project. While Cliff runs for the Vancouver Thunderbirds Track and Field Club and Doerksen runs for the Vancouver Falcons Running Club.

Cliff set the new course record at last week’s St. Patrick’s Day 5k, where she crossed the line in 16:16, 11 seconds ahead of second place finisher Wodak, who finished in 16:25. In addition to winning the event, Cliff also took the mile prime crossing the line in 4:56. Also in that race were Burrett who finished in 16:45, while Wilkie finished in 16:58.

Several athletes plan to race their third race in consecutive weeks including Catherine Watkins, Erin Burrett, Kimberley Doerksen and Adam Byles, all having already run the Synergy Health Bazan Bay 5k, BMO St. Patrick’s Day 5k and now the Modo 8k.

Expect Kelly Wiebe to win. He will likely finish 24:15 to 24:30, while the second consecutive race between Rachel Cliff and Natasha Wodak, will be much closer and they will finish faster than 27:30.

Men’s Elite List Women’s Elite List
David Jackson Abbotsford BC Sabrina Wilkie Vancouver BC
Adam Byles Vancouver BC Natasha Wodak Vancouver BC
Kelly Wiebe Vancouver BC Dayna Pidhoresky Vancouver BC
Kevin Friesen Coquitlam BC Rachel Cliff Vancouver BC
Richard Mosley Coquiltam BC Erin Burrett Nanaimo BC
Nicholas Browne Vancouver BC Lisa Brooking Surrey BC
Rob Watson Vancouver BC Kimberley Doerksen Gibsons BC
Drew Nicholson Surrey BC Katherine Moore Vancouver BC
Aaron Weidman Vancouver BC Catherine Watkins Vancouver BC
Nick Hastie Vancouver BC Tara Klassen Vancouver BC
Nathan Killam Vancouver BC Jen Moroz Vancouver BC
Kevin O’Connor Vancouver BC Rhonda Caris Richmond BC
Stan Jang Vancouver BC Tina Connelly Port Coquitlam BC
Christopher Barth White Rock BC Lissa Zimmer Vancouver BC
Barry Young Vancouver BC Tracy Wakaluk North Vancouver BC
Josh Seifarth Vancouver BC Helen Ritchie Vancouver BC
Bryan Andrews North Vancouver BC Michelle Heneghan Vancouver BC
Mark Bennett Vancouver BC Lindsay Carson Whitehorse YK
Mark Francis Port Coquitlam BC Courtney Powell Coquitlam BC
Keefer Whan Mount Vernon WA
Anthony Skuce Vancouver BC
Douglas Alward Chilliwack B.C.
Tatsuya Hatachi Coquitlam BC