March 18, 2017
The competition lived up to the hype Saturday morning, as Ross Proudfoot edged Luc Bruchet in a photo-finish at the St Patrick’s Day 5K presented by BMO, second race in the 2017 BC Super Series. And Dayna Pidhoresky demonstrated she is fully recovered from injury, to outlast the rising stars.
On a cool, chill morning, no one was eager to set the pace into a headwind, despite the downhill start. Once the leaders turned onto Park Drive, late entrant Kevin Friesen took the initiative and upped the tempo, pulling a large pack behind him. Approaching the first mile, Ross Proudfoot surged to grab the $150 bonus offered by RunGo in 4:36, as 4 seconds covered the top 14.
Meanwhile the pre-race favourites for the womens title were locked in close combat, as Trinity Western University’s Regan Yee took the mile bonus in 5:01, a stride ahead of Hilary Stellingwerff, with Dayna Pidhoresky close behind.
Proudfoot was absorbed back into the pack, as slowly the top contenders emerged at the front, and the final kilometer back uphill to the Stanley Park Pavilion took a toll on those who went out too hard. Course record holder and defending champion Luc Bruchet kicked hard on the last incline, almost catching the Maserati pace car, and thought he had created enough of a gap rounding the final bend 40m before the finish. But Proudfoot was not done. And as Bruchet relaxed across the line Proudfoot caught him in the final strides to win by 10cm, as both ran 14:40. Consolation for Bruchet was victory in the BC Championship, for which the Ontarian was not eligible. An equally fast finishing Geoff Martinson was only a couple of strides back in 14:41.
Another blanket covered 4th to 6th places, as Kevin Coffey, 14:48, caught early leader Friesen, 14:49, in the final 10 meters, with TWU’s Nickolas Colyn just behind in 14:50. UBC’s Kieran Lumb wrapped up his final preparation for next weekends Junior World Cross Country Championship in 14:54. And Rob Watson was the last to duck under 15 minutes, by one second.
Pidhoresky used her course knowledge and endurance to her benefit, working hard on the uphill to open an unassailable gap on Yee, running out the Champion in 16:28 to Yee’s 16:34. Surprise came in the form of SFU’s Rebecca Bassett taking third place in 16:49. For both Yee and Bassett this was their first serious road race, but likely won’t be their last.
Stellingwerff struggled towards the end, but held on for fourth place in 17:01. Robyn Mildren, who outsprinted Sabrina Wilkie by one second over 10K two weeks ago, repeated the feat as they clocked 17:08 and 17:09. Kirsten Lee, daughter of former Canadian 10,000m record holder Sue Lee, took seventh in 17:16, just ahead of top master Catherine Watkins in 17:18.
Canadian Masters Cross Country Champion Jerry Ziak was first master, finishing 17th overall in 15:47. Other notable age group winners included Mark Bennett, 17:15 M55; Jillian Fong, 18:05 F50 (BC record); Thelma Wright, 22:57 F65 (tied BC record); and Lenore Montgomery, 37:00 F85.
The depth of competition was as impressive as usual, with 40 men under 17 minutes, and 40 women under 20 minutes.
Complete results: https://www.startlinetiming.com/en/races/2017/stpat/event/5K