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The Royal Victoria Marathon not only got its groove back (after going virtual during the pandemic), the iconic destination race event took back its original name: Royal Victoria Marathon, which was established in 1980. Over 4000 runners and walkers will enjoy a cool, breezy day over two fast courses on Sunday in the half marathon and 8K distances.
Both routes are gently rolling, but offer fast finishes with the final 4K being downhill and flat.
The Royal Victoria Marathon will, however, not have the 42.195-kilometre marathon when the gun goes. The more popular half-marathon is the featured event this year. The plans are to have the marathon return in 2022. It was unknown to race organisers whether the pandemic would interrupt the event again, so, the return is also on without an elite program for this year, which means no prize money. However, there are some competitive runners taking in the event.
The women’s half marathon field will see 2019 Marathon champion Andrea Lee from North Vancouver contending. She has a PB of 1:16:13 from the 2020 Vancouver First Half Half Marathon and a personal best of 36:59 at the 2019 Summerfest 10K. Up against Lee will be Leanne Klassen from Calgary who won the Calgary Half Marathon in 2019 (1:20:21) and who has run a 36:57 10K. Victoria’s Jen Millar could win the master’s category – she ran a 1:22:25 in the 2019 Seawheeze Half Marathon and won the masters race at the 2020 Pan Am XC Championships in Langford, BC.
In the men’s field Calgary’s Matt Travaglini is a strong middle-distance runner with a 10K PB of 29:35 (2019 Vancouver Sun Run). Brendan Wong from Coquitlam, BC ran a 1:10:22 half marathon in the Vancouver First Half in 2019 and a 30:33 in the Vancouver Sun Run. Courtenay’s Logan Roots is a versatile runner on the track as well as on road. His half marathon PB is 1:09:39 from the 2016 Vancouver First Half Half Marathon. The race will also see triathlete Carlos Sperling from Mexico and ultra distance runner Patrick Sperling from Edmonton who ran the 2019 Squamish 50 (23km) in 1:54:26.
The 8K women’s field will see some exciting action with course record holder Sarah Inglis from Surrey returning (2019 – 25:43) and four-time winner Lindsay Carson (Burnaby) also competing. Carson won four consecutive years (2014 – 2017). There are three local strong master’s runners in Lucy Smith, Marilyn Arsenault, and Hilary Stellingwerff. Arsenault won the 8K in 2007 and Stellingwerff in 2011.
The men’s race could be a close call with Thomas Broatch from the UBC Thunderbirds running with a personal best of 25:31. Kevin Friesen from Nanaimo is a 5K specialist (2019 – 15:19) and is on form and aiming for a sub-24-minute finish. David Eikelboom from Whitehorse will also be in contention as well as Theo Hunt from Vancouver. Hunt won the 2017 Pioneer 8K in 25:06.
“The quality of our field shows how excited runners of all levels are to be back and competing. There is no prize money on the line this year – just bragging rights and the joy of testing yourself against other runners and your own personal bests,” said Jonathan Foweraker, President of the Victoria Marathon Society.
“It has been so exciting to see so many familiar faces coming through to pick up their packages this week,” said Cathy Noel, GM & Race Director. “I am grateful for all the volunteers, including the committee, that have spent time and energy to put together all of the pieces of the event which is very much like an everchanging puzzle. I can’t wait to see everyone at the start line!”
Natasha Wodak-Fraser set the women’s Half Marathon record in 2018 (1:11:45). The Men’s Half Marathon record is held by Jon Brown (2002 – 1:02:32). The 8K course records were both set in 2019 by Justin Kent (23:14) and Sarah Inglis (25:43).
The Half Marathon has 2,715 registrants and the 8K,1,704. Participants have to pre-book a time to pick up their race packages at Crystal Gardens, 713 Government Street from Thursday, October 7 – Saturday, October 9.