Many of Western Canada’s top distance runners will compete in the Pacific Road Runners “First Half” Half Marathon in Vancouver on Sunday, February 13th. They are looking for qualifying times for selection to the Canadian team to compete in the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Edmonton in October. Qualifying standards require the athletes to complete the 21.1-kilometre course in under 1:05:10 for the men, and 1:14:00 for the women.
Leading contenders, for the women:
- Sandy Jacobson (Edmonton), Canada’s leading marathoner and representative in the last two World Championships.
- Leah Pells (Coquitlam), three time former Olympian and winner of the 2004 Vancouver International Half Marathon.
- Lisa Harvey (Calgary), former Olympian and three time former winner of the “First Half”.
- Jill Savege (Penticton), 2004 Olympic triathlete.
- Lauren Groves (Victoria), international triathlete and winner of the 2004 Seattle Half Marathon.
- Also Carolyn Murray (Victoria), international triathlete; Cindy O’Krane (West Vancouver), 1st master in the 2004 Vancouver Sun Run; and Nancy Tinari (Port Coquitlam), former Olympian.
Leading contenders, for the men:
- Jeremy Deere (Calgary), former World Championship representative.
- Jerry Ziak (Vancouver), winner of the 2004 Royal Victoria Half Marathon.
- Brent Corbitt (Coquitlam), winner of the 2004 Fall Classic Half Marathon.
- Michael Booth (Winnipeg), 1st Canadian at the 2004 Toronto Waterfront Marathon.
- Ken Myers (Calgary), 4th place in the 2004 Canadian Marathon Championships.
- Also Oliver Utting (Vancouver), former World Championship representative; Colin Dignum (West Vancouver), twice former winner of the “First Half”; Norm Tinkham (Maple Ridge), twice former winner of the “First Half” and 1st master in the 2004 Vancouver Sun Run; and Ryan Day (Kelowna) 8th place in the 2004 Canadian Marathon Championships.
In addition keen competition is expected through all the age groups. Notable age group athletes include Art Boileau (Vancouver) M45-49, two time former Olympian, second place finisher at the Boston Marathon and three time former winner of the “First Half”; Herb Phillips (Burnaby) M60-64, world age best marathoner; Betty-Jean (BJ) McHugh (North Vancouver) F75-79, world age best marathoner; and Diane Palmason (Bellingham) F65-69, multiple world age record holder.
The race starts and finishes at the Roundhouse Community Centre, on the north side of False Creek, and loops around the Stanley Park Seawall. Race starts at 8:30am.