August 23, 2003, Bowen Island – Predictions of rain fell through as another day dawned bright and clear for this year’s Run for the Ferry, the second-to-last race of the Timex BC Road Running Series. Because of its position in the Series, the 10k race draws a large number of Series competitors in need of more races or more points. But today they were all beaten by a couple of non-“Series regulars”.
Starting at the ferry dock, competitors in both the 10k and the accompanying 5k set off in a blur, led by Coquitlam’s Brent Corbitt and Vancouver’s Scott McClennan who left everyone else behind in short order. These two were never more than 2 metres apart during the entire 10k distance, which Corbitt described later as “a pretty tough course with lots of ups and downs.” It could have been either man’s race but Corbitt was fortunate enough to have a slight lead as they came off the final hill and saw the finish line appear suddenly before them. “I didn’t know it was that close,” said Corbitt, who is getting ready for cross country season and was looking for a road race to break things up a bit. “I was able to get the quick jump and [McClennan] wasn’t able to come back on me.” They were clocked at 31:39.
Behind them, the chase pack included Series competitors Kevin O’Connor, Shane Bilodeau, Jaime Munoz, Ed Booth, Colin Dignum and Richard Lee. Dignum and Lee were hanging back while the others took turns leading the group. At the halfway point O’Connor and Booth were slightly ahead, but when O’Connor took a quick glance back “they were all closing down on us.” The pack came together again about 20 minutes into the race, after which Munoz set the pace for a while, throwing in a few surges here and there. With a little over a mile to go, Dignum made his move followed by Bilodeau, Munoz and Lee, with O’Connor catching Booth at the back. In that order, they all finished within a few seconds of each other (32:37 to 32:51).
Dignum, who is currently training hard for the World Mountain Running Trophy in Alaska on September 20th, knew he was locked into second place for the Series. He ran hard today but not all-out, so he felt pretty good. Obviously the hills on this course were not a problem for someone ready for mountain racing!
Another racer who wasn’t slowed down by the hills was O’Connor, who enjoyed his best race (and time) in the last 2 years. “I knew it was hilly, but I felt really good, really strong, and there was a good group to work with,” said O’Connor. “The tough course really tells you how your fitness is.”
In the women’s division, defending champ Nancy Tinari of Coquitlam was expecting a close battle between herself and Victoria’s Stephanie Mills. But it turned out Mills was taking things a bit easy after a really good track season, so Tinari found herself running alone. “Even the men I usually race with weren’t there today,” noted Tinari. She found she was catching people in the first half but after that she couldn’t even see a 10k runner—there was about a one minute gap ahead of her. The diminutive master focused on catching the back of the pack 5k runners instead, enjoying the feeling of being able to relax and not give her usual over-the-top effort. Still, she recorded a speedy 35:51. “I knew I was really fit so I wasn’t surprised I ran faster than last year,” she added. “It’s always good when you can do a 10k that isn’t torture!”
Mills took it easy but still ran hard enough to stay just ahead of New Westminster’s Joan McGrath, 38:15 to 38:23. McGrath particularly enjoyed the rural aspects of the course, commenting that the trails were really nice: “Really beautiful—like Burnaby Lake, and we ran along a footpath through a big grass field.”
With Tinari and McGrath taking the top 2 women’s masters positions, that left Glenda Fransen of Burnaby to pick up third spot, way back in 46:42. In the men’s masters arena, Lee was the victor, with Booth in second. “I felt like I ran well, but I was disappointed that Richard beat me,” confessed Booth. “We’ve been back and forth in the Series points.” Third male master was Roy Howes of North Vancouver (36:26).
After the awards ceremony participants stayed around to enjoy the small but very entertaining Bowfest parade as they ate their free pancake breakfast. Congratulations to first-time race director Sonia Usmiani for putting on a great event.
Next and FINAL Series 2003 race is Sunday August 31st, the Labour Day Weekend 8k in Steveston. Start time is 8:30 at the Steveston Community Centre, with awards at 10:30 followed by Series awards upstairs in the Tyee Room. Top 4 overall male and female Series winners receive cash prizes from Timex, while top 3 age group winners each receive valuable New Balance merchandise prizes from Peninsula Runners.