The GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon is divided into three distances: the full marathon, the half marathon and the eight-kilometre road race.
Yukon runners were a force to be reckoned with in all three. A Yukoner placed top 10 in each distance and many others top 10 for their respective age divisions at the 36th annual event on Sunday in B.C.
Carcross’ Denise McHale took sixth in the marathon, Whitehorse’s Logan Roots eighth in the half and for the second year in a row Whitehorse’s Lindsay Carson won the eight-kilometre road race.
“I felt really good about the race. It was basically my first major competition of the season,” said Carson. “I got to race against some good guys and good girls … And I felt my form was really good throughout the race. I could definitely improve on time, but I think as the season progresses and my workouts are getting stronger, it’ll come with that.”
Carson placed first for women with a time of 27 minutes and 32 seconds. She also placed fifth overall out of the field of 2,352 runners. The 26-year-old was just 17 seconds off her winning time last year.
“I think the field wasn’t as deep for the guys or the girls, but more so the guys,” said Carson. “I came fifth overall and I’d usually be 10th or something with some guys in front of me. I think last year I had more guys to work with in the middle of the race, where this race I was by myself for most of it.”
Carson wasn’t the only Whitehorse runner to excel in the eight-kilometre event.
Jake Loos was the top Yukon male, placing 63rd overall and seventh for males 25-29 with a time of 33:17.
Darby McIntyre came in four spots back of Loos in 67th. The 15-year-old finished in 33:24 to place fourth for males 13-15. McIntyre captured gold and bronze in athletics at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles, Cali.
Fellow phenom Samuel Mather raced to 70th overall and second for the males 12-and-under division at 33:36. Mather won the division last year.
Liam Mather came 91st overall and sixth for males 13-15. Cynthia Freeman came 36th for women and fifth for females 40-44. Daughter Lisa Freeman placed 11th for females 12 and under. Melvin Rippell placed 818th overall, but eighth for males 70-74.
McHale, a former Canadian 100-kilometre champ, placed sixth for women in the marathon and second for females 40-44, a division she won in 2013.
She cracked the three-hour mark with a time of 2:57:13, placing 34th overall out of 1,201 runners.
“It was a pretty good day. That’s my second fastest time – I was 30 seconds faster here in 2013,” said McHale, who won the Yukon River Trail Marathon a fifth time in August. “Generally, things went pretty well and I’m pretty happy, considering the summer with a new baby, getting back in shape.”
“It was an amazing day for the marathon – fantastic weather. There’s always good support here in Victoria, it’s a great course with great volunteers. And I had my family here this time, which was nice. (Husband) Greg is here with the kids, so that’s nice too.”
The Freemans obviously made the event a family affair. Yanik Freeman was the Yukon’s top male in the marathon, taking 150th overall and 23rd for males 40-44 division with a time of 3:27:23.
Whitehorse’s Margaret Mundell placed 219th for women and fourth in the female 60-64 division with a time of 4:17:42. Brenda Morrison came 10th in the same division with a time of 4:52:25.
In addition to taking eighth in the half marathon out of 3,259 participants, Roots placed first in the males 20-24 division. He crossed the finish line with a personal best time of 1:10:56, 36 seconds faster than last year when he placed second in the division.
“It was awesome. Perfect weather, beautiful race,” said Roots. “It’s fun to be back racing in B.C. again after a few months in Whitehorse.
“Thirty-six seconds faster than last year, so I was happy about that … I had a time goal in mind, I didn’t quite make it, but it was a PB overall so that was fine.”
“This event is the main half marathon I focus on each year, so my PB usually happens here,” added the 22-year-old.
Roots placed third for his age division and 19th overall at the Canadian Half Marathon Championships in Calgary, won the half distance in the Skagway Marathon and placed fifth at B.C.‘s 10-kilometre road championship this summer.
The next Yukoner over the line was Whitehorse’s Jerome McIntyre at 1:34:32, placing 167th overall and 11th for males 50-54. Whitehorse’s Richard Zral came in at 2:00:13 for 1,225th overall and fifth for males 70-74.
Yukon’s top female runner in the half marathon was Johanna Smith, placing 114th for women and 33rd in females 30-34.
“It was good to see so many Yukoners,” said Roots. “When I was running back, pretty alone and there’s thousands of people going the other direction, I get all this ‘Go, Whitehorse! Go, Logan!’ That was awesome.”
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