Derek Vinge thought Vancouver Island had just a few hills.
Born in Fernie, the Comox Valley athlete and chiropractor moved to Victoria following school in Vancouver and Portland, and eventually settled with his wife Amber in the Comox Valley.
Vinge first came to the Island via Victoria to be part of the national rowing team, trying to qualify for the Olympics. While there, he served as team therapist for Rowing Canada at the 2013 junior world championships in Trakai, Lithuania.
Once he retired from the team, he was looking for an area with more outdoor activities and checked out the Valley.
“There’s real mountains out here,” he recalls telling his wife with a laugh. “We really wanted to stay on the Island.”
While Olympic-level competitive rowing may no longer be in his future (although he is a member of the Comox Valley Rowing Club – “my goal is for my son to have an opportunity to row”), Vinge continues to showcase his athletic ability.
He transitioned into road biking from mountain biking when his mountain bike was stolen while attending UBC, but admitted mountain biking and trail running appeal to him for the “excitement and adrenaline.”
Vinge also spends a lot of his spare time on his feet. Outside of his Fit Chiropractic and Sport Therapy office, you can find him pounding the pavements of road races, trail runs and the track.
With nearly 70 races – including triathlons – ranging from Hawaii to California and the Comox Valley under his belt, he admitted his running career began after examining the rowing schedule at UBC.
“I was walking around campus … and I saw the team rowed at 5:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. and practiced 14 times a week. I talked to the track team and they practiced three times a week so I called the coach.”
Vinge admitted he was slow at first but kept at it with practice, and discovered he was more of a runner than a rower.
“It’s a true passion; it’s so simple, because all you have to do is run. You can do it anywhere.”
Since moving to the Comox Valley, Vinge placed first in the Comox Valley Half Marathon in 2014, fifth spot in 2015, and took third place in last week’s event.
Additionally, he is the race director for the 5th Street Mile race on Canada Day, and a warm-up and run leader in the Comox Valley Road Runners learn-to-run class.
For anyone looking to start running, Vinge suggested taking the first steps slowly, making sure a run feels good.
“Slowly work towards ramping up miles – don’t do it quickly – and you’ll prevent injuries.”
Fit Chiropractic and Sport Therapy is located at 526B Cumberland Rd. in Courtenay. For more information, visit drvinge.com or call 250-871-3674.