The Comox Valley RV Half Marathon is celebrating its 25th birthday this weekend. The annual event is Sunday, March 24 and is hosted by the Comox Valley Road Runners. The 21.1 kilometre course showcases some of the rural beauty of the area and treats runners to fantastic mountain views. The race is also one of the flagship events of the Island Race Series, and is one of the biggest running events on Vancouver Island.
It started off as a 20-kilometre race in the 1980’s, then in 1995 transitioned to the official half marathon distance. In its first year as a half marathon, the race drew 56 competitors, although competition was stiff as the winning time was 1:08:33. The race has since grown in numbers, drawing over 500 runners each year.
The Half Marathon has grown more competitive, drawing some of the top runners from western Canada. Over the past several years this has included two Olympians. Two-time Olympic medalist Simon Whitfield was the overall winner of the race in 2011, clocking 1:06:23. Few have bested this time over the course of the race’s history other than two-time Olympic marathoner Jon Brown, who set the course record of 1:03:57 in 2005. Also impressive is the women’s course record of 1:16:55, set by Stephanie Andrews in 1998, and still stands over 20 years later. Many B.C. and Canadian age groups records for the half marathon distance have also been set on this surprisingly fast course.
The start and finish are both on Anderton Avenue beside the Filberg Centre. The early start for the event is 10 a.m. The main start is 11 a.m. Raceday registration is available from 9-10:30 a.m.
The race weekend includes the CVRR Running Clinic 5k fun run, Saturday March 23 at the Filberg. Registration is 8:30-9 a.m., with a 9:30 start for walkers and a 9:45 main start. This fun run is the culmination of the annual 10 week CVRR 5k Running clinic.
Race organizers encourage everyone to come out and help celebrate 25 years either by running, volunteering, or cheering on the racers of both events. More information about the events, routes, and registration can be found at cvrr.ca