There were two clear winners and many PRs set at the 21st annual Pacific Road Runners “First Half” Half Marathon on February 15. A beautiful sunny day, no wind, and temperatures around 5°C provided ideal conditions for runners and spectators alike.
A lead pack of eight runners formed in the first mile, and ran together for the first 5 miles before Coquitlam’s Richard Mosley upped the pace and no one responded. He stretched his lead over the remaining 8 miles, to run out a convincing winner in 1:05:43, his second victory in the 2009 Timex BC Road Race Series. Richard’s first appearance at the “First Half” produced the eighth best time ever recorded at the event.
Behind Richard the rest of the pack, consisting of some of Canada’s top marathoners, slowly broke apart. Steve Osaduik, the Royal Victoria Marathon triple champion, out-dueled Saskatoon’s Jason Warick for second place, with times of 1:07:32 and 1:07:49 respectively. Shane Carlos and Jerry Ziak rounded out the top five prize money winners in 1:08:27 and 1:08:35.
Positions in the women’s race were established early, and changed little during the race. Victoria’s Cheryl Murphy, also in her first appearance at the “First Half”, was never pressed, and ran out a winner by over two minutes in 1:16:06. Lisa Harvey, who has never placed worse than second on each of her eight previous visits, lead home a large contingent of Calgary runners, with her fifth runner-up finish in 1:18:28. Kristina Rody, now living in Burnaby, was not far behind in 1:18:59. Suzanne Evans (1:20:14) and Lindsay McLaren (1:21:16) completed the top five.
Close behind the overall winners were the top masters. Recently turned master, Mark Bomba, representing race sponsor Mizuno, was the first male 40+ finisher in an impressive 1:10:40. Two former race winners, Norm Tinkham and Neil Holm, occupied second and third. Norm’s time of 1:11:53 was a new M4549 age group record. The women’s masters division was dominated by athletes in the F4549 age group. Nancy Tinari was sixth overall in 1:21:33. Rita Ivanauskas and Joan McGrath also finished in the top-10 overall to complete the placings.
At the other end of the age groups, BJ McHugh was not only the first ever 80+ finisher of the “First Half”, but her time of 2:07:08 was unofficially a single age world best for an 81 year old. 79 year old Frank Kurucz also set an event record for the M7579 age group with his time of 1:50:10. No less impressive were 74 year old Gwen McFarlan with her time of 1:53:04, and 68 year old Herb Phillips who ran a blazing 1:26:07.
Once again the “First Half” donated proceeds from the event to the Variety Telethon. $40,000 was donated this year, bringing the grand total to over $400,000.