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The Royal Victoria Marathon and its accompanying half-marathon and 8K have been a popular destination race for decades. The AIMS-certified marathon acts as the British Columbia Athletics provincial championship for 2023. Meanwhile, the half-marathon is the 2023 Canadian Masters Association championship event. The popular 8K offers a fast course and is run early enough that competitors may stick around and watch the two bigger races happen. Saturday, there is a new 5K race in nearby Oak Bay, which the marathon passes through.

The men’s and women’s marathon course records are 2:13:42 and 2:37:56, respectively. In 2013, Kenyan Lamech Mokono broke Steve Osadiuk’s 2006 record of 2:16:49. Osaduik is from Nanaimo, just 90 minutes north of Victoria. Kenyan Lucy Njeri took the women’s record in 2011. There is something about Nanaimo athletes. Four years later Nanaimo’s Erin Burrett won in the time of 2:39:17, the two are the only ones to run sub-2:40:00 in the 42-year history of the event.

Kenyan Daniel Kipkoech (’14 to ’18) and New Zealand’s Kelvin Broad (’94 to ’98) have both won the race five consecutive times. Osaduick won three consecutive times. Cindy (Davey) Rhodes won six times and three in a row (’93 to ’95). Suzanne Evans won three in a row from 2005 to 2007.

Half marathon

The half-marathon event was added in 2001. Two-time Canadian Olympian Bruce Deacon (1:08:01) and Cindy Rhodes (1:19:09) were the initial winners. The following year, three-time Olympian Jon Brown of Great Britain (who would later run for Canada) set the current record at 1:02:32. Canadian Olympian Natasha Wodak set the current record at 1:11:45 in 2018.

The age-group (masters) competition for 2023 offers prize money to 40-plus, however, 35-39 age-group competitors will be recognized at the event and the top three in the age group will earn a championship medal, as will all other age-groups in the masters category.

The half-marathon course, while reasonably fast, is also rolling with a number of turns. After the start in front of the stately Empress Hotel and Parliament Buildings, the course meanders through the charming downtown, by Beacon Hill Park and along the water on Dallas Road. The course offers some longer downhill sections, where it would behoove athletes to know the course in advance, to know when to attack the downhill sections. The finish offers three kilometres of downhill and a flat finish.

All three events including the 8K are nearly sold out.


The 8K course is fast. With a flat and uphill start, the return 4K is almost entirely downhill, with the same flat finish that the marathon and half-marathon cover.

Justin Kent after winning the 8K.

Since 1986, sub-24 minutes has been run in the 8K eight times. The current men’s record is held by Surrey’s Justin Kent at 23:14 which he set in 2019, his third consecutive win on the course. In that edition he took down Gary Barber’s record established in 1989 at 23:23. Scottish runner, based in Greater Vancouver, Sarah Inglis set the current record at 25:35 in 2021, her third consecutive win. Langley’s Lindsay Carson won four consecutive times from 2014 to 2017. Seven times women have run sub-27, here. For two of the years the race was a 10K in 1997 and 1998.

All details can be found at the Royal Victoria Marathon website: www.runvictoriamarathon.com.

Athletes wishing to apply for elite entry must do so at the following link: https://www.runvictoriamarathon.com/championships.

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