The Bear Mountain 10K – billed as “Canada’s Hardest 10K” – took place Nov. 26 in Victoria. The route circles around the Bear Mountain golf course up and down the leg-jarring concrete cart paths for the entire distance.
The course is hilly, but the three largest hills have appropriately been named Papa Bear, Mama Bear and Baby Bear. Each is punishing in its own right. Papa Bear alone is a 140-metre climb over a one kilometre distance. Adding to the difficulty is the unpredictable weather. Over the past several years the event has seen both heavy snowfall and monsoon rains.
Several brave souls from the Comox Valley Road Runners made the trip to Victoria to challenge this monster. While the course was unforgiving, thankfully the weather turned out to be ideal at race time. Almost 380 nervous people lined up for the start of the race.
The overall winner was Jason Loutit in a time of 35:23. The first local finisher was Brad Crowe (Extreme Runners), who is quickly becoming a force in the Vancouver Island running scene. He placed 9th overall and 5th in his age category with a time of 40:41. Karen Sibley was the first female Road Runner to finish, taking an impressive 4th in her age group with a time of 55:41. Diana Olsen, Deb Wakelin, Laura Wyatt and Korky Richardson also had strong races.
This year also saw the inaugural Bear Mountain Half-Marathon. This might also be Canada’s toughest half marathon. The first part of the course followed the 10K route around the golf course, before veering off to add even more hilly terrain in the second half of the race. This made for an extremely difficult race but 77 hardy souls accepted the challenge.
There were many tired and sore races at the end of this epic event. The winner and first survivor was Jeremy Clegg of Nanaimo in a time of 1:25. He was followed by CVRR racer Keith Wakelin who clinched second with a time of 1:33. This also gave him the top spot in the Masters category. He was followed by fellow CVRR member Roger Plamondon who finished in 4th place overall and second Master with a time of 1:34.
The next event on the local running scene is the annual CVRR Jingle Bells Run held at Seal Bay Park on Dec. 4. This fundraiser for the local food bank is a fun event for the whole family.
There is a 3K course and a 7K course. Walkers and runners of all ages and abilities are welcome. Registration starts at 10 a.m. with the first walkers leaving at 10:30. Entry is $5 and a non-perishable donation for the food bank.
“There will be plenty of warm drinks and snacks to celebrate your accomplishment following,” a CVRR spokesperson said. “Put on your bells and Christmas hat and come out and have fun.”
– Comox Valley Road Runners