Riding the excitement of the Rio Olympics, a group of Comox Valley Road Runners had excellent results while competing at the Americas Masters Games, held Aug. 27 to Sept. 3 in Vancouver.
The Games gathered more than 5,000 of the best masters athletes in the world to compete in a number of events. The Road Runners contested the full spectrum of running events, with distances ranging anywhere from 100 metres to a half marathon of 21.1 kilometres.
The opening day included a 10km road race running loops on the UBC campus. CVRR dominated the race, with Vince Brotherstone finishing second overall and winning the silver in the M5054 age group in a time of 35:58. He was followed closely by Mike Bridges, fourth overall and gold medallist in the M4549 age group in 37:02.
The next Road Runner was Danny Keyes, 13th overall and silver in M5559 in a time of 41:27. He was followed closely by Wayne Crowe, 15th overall and gold in M6064 in 41:41.
The local runners were not done yet as Bridges and Crowe raced in the 800m event only three hours later. Although not qualifying for the finals, they ran excellent races on tired legs finishing in 2:24 (fourth) and 2:36, (sixth), respectively. They were joined by Keith Wakelin who ran a great race, finishing in a season’s best of 2:29 and fifth M5559.
After a short rest Crowe then tackled his third event of the day, fighting off fatigue to qualify for the final of the 400m race with a time of 71 seconds. With “fresher legs” in the final the next day he managed to lower his time to 70 seconds and finished sixth in M6064. He was joined by Wakelin who finished fifth in M5559 with a very fast 65-second time.
CVRR also represented well in the 5,000m race on the track with Bridges, Keyes and Crowe all winning silver medals in times of 17:52, 19:47 and 20:14.
Keyes had fun testing his speed in the 100m against the big boys, including runners from Jamaica and the USA. He ran a fast time of 15.3 seconds but unfortunately was not quick enough to qualify for the finals.
In one of the most entertaining events of the week, Keith Wakelin set a B.C. record in the 3,000m steeplechase. In this event the runners complete seven and a half loops of the 400m track, each of which has four 36-inch barriers as well as a water hazard to jump over. It is an event that requires skill, speed and endurance.
Wakelin shattered the record in his first ever steeplechase and earned a silver medal with an excellent time of 13:19. Wakelin concluded a very successful meet by joining a team that took down the M5559 4x800m record with a time of 9:54. It was bittersweet however, as he was a member of the previous record setting team which included Keyes and Crowe.
The final running event of the Games was the half marathon, a 21.1km road race that tested the endurance of the local runners who had already completed a number of events earlier in the week.
In spite of this, Bridges, Keyes and Crowe all added to the CVRR total with silver medals for their efforts in times of 1:24:50, 1:30:44 and 1:31:41.
On a special note, local husband wife team Chad and Carlene Van Tongeren also competed in the track events. Chad took home silver in the M3540 400m in 54:06 and Carlene the gold in W3540 1,500m in 5:00:73.