March 14, 2004, Kamloops BC – Taking his third trip to Kamloops in 4 days (for work), Vancouver’s Kevin O’Connor toed the line of the Spring Run-Off 10k feeling confident about his fitness but fatigued from travel. His recent training showed a “nice improvement” in the past month so he figured a 31:30 was possible, even running alone if necessary.
So O’Connor started off at a fairly fast pace, leading the first kilometre by about five seconds. By the 3k mark, a pack of about 10 rivals caught up to him, at which point he was “really suffering” and feeling lethargic. The group was led by Matthew Fedoruk and Simon Driver of Vancouver, and included Vernon’s Trevor Jordan plus Ed Booth and Luis Estrada of Vancouver.
O’Connor let the pack pull him along for awhile, then put in a surge at 5km to move ahead again by 15 metres. However he still didn’t feel comfortable and eventually drifted back into the pack. He recalled after the race, “I knew by now I was not going to finish with a fast time, so I thought about getting the win and 30 points.” At 7km, Booth split the pack with a surge of his own, and Estrada and O’Connor were the only ones to respond.
With 1 km to go, O’Connor, feeling confident about his ability to out-kick the other two, made his move and steadily increased his lead for a 32:29 finish. Right behind him, it was a close battle right to the line with Booth holding off Estrada 32:45 to 32:46.
Masters title went to Booth, with Gibsons’ Larry Nightingale taking 2nd in the 40+ in 34:05, and Guy Smith of Coquitlam rounding out the top 3 masters in 34:59.
Gillian Moody of Kelowna led the women’s race right from the start, but the second through fourth positions were jockeyed between Winfield’s Sam Saunders, Vernon’s Sarah Clark, Vancouver’s Leslie Black and Kelowna’s Cindy Rhodes. For the first part of the race, Saunders held onto second place, but was overtaken by Clark by 6km.
Black, running a smart race, was right on Saunders’ heels in fourth position, then at about 7km moved ahead of Saunders and started closing in on Clark. During the last kilometer Black passed Clark and nabbed second place in 38:45. Clark held third place in 38:53. Moody’s first place time was 36:52, a great time for a race that she was just using as “tune-up” for a triathlon in Mexico.
In the Masters women’s division, Black was first, with Rhodes second in 39:25 (5th overall) and Vancouver’s Annette O’Brien taking third in 40:43.
Conditions were very good this year, with sunshine and mild temperatures, ensuring a strong turnout of nearly 200 runners.
Full results can be viewed on Interior Road Runners Assoc. website. Next Series event is the Stanley Park Spring Forward 5k, Saturday April 3 at 9:00am (Lumberman’s Arch). See VFAC website for details.