Diane Jacquest celebrates her first marathon. Photo supplied

Comox Valley marathoners set personal best times

For many runners, spring means marathon season. Traditionally, May is when the Vancouver Marathon takes place. The event was virtual this year, which opened up exciting new opportunities for some locals. This year, some ambitious runners could run two races for the price of one as they were able to count their Vancouver Marathon run for the Abbott World Marathon Major Global Virtual Marathon.

Rob Kelly had an excellent day on May 17, running 2:56 for a personal best and beating his previous best from 20 years ago. This also earned him sixth place in his category (M55-59). Andrea Wilson also had a fantastic day, and ran 3:05 to also take second in her category (W45-49) while also setting a huge personal best. Wayne Crowe had a solid run to finish in 3:07 and win the M65-69 division. Colleen Schmidt had a solid day to finish in 3:21, also a personal best. Roslyn Smith ran 3:58 to place second in her category in worlds, and first in the Vancouver Marathon standings.

“You could say our exceptional results were a team effort,” Wilson said. “We each had our own performance goals and were separated on course, but it was great to know that others were running at the same time, along the same route.”

She noted the special help provided by fellow Comox Valley Road Runners Danielle Francescini and Brian Stewart, who sett up aid stations along the route.

“Even though this was a virtual, self-timed event … it was just as exciting and fulfilling as an in-person race,” Wilson said. “We planned our route, making those 42.2 kilometres our own Comox Valley Marathon.”

Kelly expressed his appreciation for Neil Holm, who paced him through the second half of the run, and provided support and encouragement.

“It was a very special experience – beyond just my personal performance,” Kelly said. “To be running in the presence of my closest buddies, and to be doing it on our local course, designed by us, and to have so much support out there on the course…it just made the whole experience unforgettable. I would have never imagined that a virtual marathon could end up being one of my all-time favourites.”

Also outstanding was Diane Jacquest, who completed her first marathon at the age of 68. Diane showed amazing dedication, with seven months of training focused on working up to the marathon distance. Her message to others with a similarly ambitious goal would be to get a great, supportive circle which, in her case, included Sarah Seads (her coach), her husband and friends, with a special nod to friends who had completed long races in the past, and could offer informed words of advice and inspiration.

When asked how long she took to complete her virtual marathon, Diane replied with a laugh, “Well, it was definitely not sub-three!”

The next local event is the CVRR Backyard Ultra, which is taking place July 17. For more information on this event and the local running scene, visit cvrr.ca


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