Andrea Wilson hoists her trophy. Photo by Rob Kelly

Andrea Wilson hoists her trophy. Photo by Rob Kelly

Comox Valley runner crowned female masters champion

Andrea Wilson wins Island Series

Nearly 500 runners took part in the Bazan Bay 5k, the sixth and final race of the Island Series, April 10 in Sidney. The event features a flat and fast course, and always draws a competitive field.

Coach Neil Holm led the way for the Comox Valley Road Runners, winning his age group in a time of 17:15. Club president Rob Kelly was not far behind, taking second in the same category in 18:04. Andrea Wilson was the top local woman, and also took second in her category in 18:52.

“I’m a distance runner and Bazan Bay was the first 5k race that I had ever competed in, so I wasn’t sure how the race would feel and how fast I could run,” Wilson said. “I definitely exceeded my expectations.”

Hot on her heels was Kim Coscia of Run to Beer, who finished third in her category in a time of 19:05.

CVRR vice-president Keith Wakelin edged out Brian Stewart, with both squeaking under the 20-minute barrier to take fourth and fifth in their category. Wayne Crowe won his category in 20:02. Roz Smith also won her category, finishing in 22:46. Cindy Blackmore ran well to finish in 27:19. Maria Egeland also had a good day, finishing just over 30 minutes. Sheila van Gisbergen had a good race, finishing in 31:55. And Leslie Dargie also had a solid day, with a finish time of 36:52.

The conclusion of the Island Series meant that overall awards were handed out. The series consists of six races, ranging from 5k to half-marathon (21.1k). The races take place approximately every two weeks, and to qualify for the series runners must complete at least four of the six events. Completing the entire series is a testament to a runner’s grit, speed, and both mental and physical endurance. After completing five of the six races, Wilson was crowned female masters champion.

“After the first three series races, I was ranked behind another competitor,” she said. “I was training for the Vancouver Marathon and had been running the first few races conservatively to focus on distance training. Once I knew how close I was to winning the series, my focus and training changed so I could perform my best for the upcoming races. It seems unbelievable that I brought home the masters champion trophy!”

She noted that the knowledge and support of Crowe, as well as her other CVRR training partners, was what made this possible.

“Running offers unique challenges and opportunities for growth,” she added. “I’m thankful every time I lace up my shoes.” Full results for the 5k and the series are available at startlinetiming.com

On the local front, be sure to check out the Canada 5th Street Mile. This is a fun and free family event put on by the CVRR, and will be an in-person event this year. It is a great way to kick off the celebrations on Canada Day. For more information on this and other local running events, visit cvrr.ca

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