Justin Kent of Surrey qualified for the Half Marathon World Championships in Poland, after posting a time of 1:04:20 on the Comox Valley half-marathon course Sunday, Sept. 13. Photo by Terry Farrell

Justin Kent of Surrey qualified for the Half Marathon World Championships in Poland, after posting a time of 1:04:20 on the Comox Valley half-marathon course Sunday, Sept. 13. Photo by Terry Farrell

Comox Valley Road Runners adapting to the COVID times

Cathy Clark

Special to The Record

While Dr. Bonnie Henry’s COVID 19 guidelines limit congregating en masse, the Comox Valley Road Runners continue to connect safely in small groups. Organizers of the CVRR recognize the importance of group runs and running events, whether virtual or in person, in maintaining physical fitness and enhancing mental health during these uncertain times.

“The last eight months have been very challenging for the CVRR,” said club president Ron Crowther. “Through the COVID period, we have safely been able to offer a host of virtual public runs, as well as safely scheduling group trail runs, and continuing with Tuesday night track sessions. We remain committed to offering as many running opportunities as we can to both trail and road runners within the confines of current health restrictions.”

Embracing the current public health guidelines for running races and events takes ingenuity and creativity during a pandemic. Comox Valley Road Runner board members and event planners are busy readying what the next few months will look like on the racing and event scene while keeping everyone safely apart. Everyone is invited during November to participate in the Fred Bigelow 100 km memorial run. Registrants have the whole month to complete the event.

In December, the annual Jingle Bell Run will collect funds for the local food bank, although the event in Seal Bay will look a little different than in previous years.

January will welcome the 5km run clinic that supports new and returning runners to explore the benefits and experiences of running, especially during a time when it is more difficult to go to the gym, swimming pool or other indoor sporting activities.

The Comox Valley RV 1/2 marathon will happen in a varied format in March and so will the Cubby in May. Running and racing will not stop for this pandemic. Planning for all of these events will be discussed at the Annual General Meeting on Nov. 22. As many organizations are doing, the AGM will take place on the Zoom format.

This year the CVRR is hosting a world-class runner and engaging speaker to kick off the AGM. The CVRR board members invite the public to join the forum to hear a B.C. success story in international running and racing.

Born and raised in Surrey, B.C., Justin Kent found his love for the sport of running while on the trails with his dad. Now in his athletic prime at 28 years old, Justin has become one of the top track and road racers in Canada. In 2019, Justin won the Vancouver Sun Run 10k, a feat that hadn’t been accomplished by a local athlete since 1992.

The Comox Valley Road Runners hosted a special half marathon team time trial for Justin and five other BC Endurance Project elite team members in September in a community effort to help them qualify for the World Half Marathon Championships the following month in Poland. Justin stormed to a very fast 1:04:20 on the certified CVRR 1/2 marathon route, achieving the standard required to qualify for the World Half Marathon Championships.

Unfortunately, Athletics Canada chose not to send the team with concerns of COVID transmission. Next up on the list of challenges that Justin has set for himself is to make his debut at the marathon distance at The Marathon Project – an elite-only race in Chandler, Arizona on Dec. 20. Justin currently lives and trains in Vancouver with the BC Endurance Project and has aspirations to continue representing Canada on the world stage.

RELATED: Comox Valley Road Runners host BC Endurance Project half marathon

The public, and especially members of the Comox Valley Road Runners, are invited to a live 20-minute moderated conversation with Justin (via Zoom) as part of the CVRR AGM. Please check out all the events (in spite of the pandemic) on the CVRR website https://www.cvrr.ca/ and follow the local running club on Facebook.

Get your free ticket to connect with the Zoom meeting for the CVRR AGM at https://www.cvrr.ca/node/495

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