Runners hit the pavement at the 2019 Canada Day 5th Street Mile. Photo supplied

Annual Canada Day road race in Courtenay takes on virtual format

Virtually speaking, race organizers of the 5th Street Mile are keeping the annual Canada Day tradition alive in Courtenay.

The earliest mention in the Comox Valley Road Runners’ records of a Canada Day event was a foot race on July 1, 1981. Through the ’80s, it was a four-and-a-quarter mile race that took place at various areas of the city.

By 1996, the race had moved to its current running route on 5th Street, preceding the Canada Day Parade. That year saw 15 runners under the first race director, John Siemens. The winning times were Scott Sexton at 4:33 and Marguerite Masson-Wood at 5:34.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the race. As such, the CVRR will continue the tradition and run the mile virtually.

The Canada Day Virtual Mile allows participants to select a safe, physically distanced mile to run at their leisure on Wednesday, July 1. Pick a quiet place to safely distance from others. It can be a trail, sidewalk or pathway. Measure your route before the race day to ensure it is accurate. Runners are asked to not use 5th because it will not be blocked off as in past years.

There are random draw prizes to be selected from all participant names, thanks to donations from Extreme Runners, Graham’s Jewellers, The Cumby and The Comox Valley Regional District.

Have fun. It’s not about winning this year, but about getting out and living in the new normal.

Participants are encouraged to ‘dress it up in red’ for Canada Day.

More information can be found at or email

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