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Anthony Tomsich and Natasha Wodak win Harriers Pioneer 8K

January 15, 2019

(Victoria, BC – January 14, 2019) It was a glorious day in Victoria on Sunday for the first race in the Vancouver Island Race Series – the Harriers Pioneer 8K. The 40th annual event – hosted by the Prairie Inn Harriers – saw 536 compete under sunny, spring like conditions. Vancouver’s Anthony Tomsich was the overall winner with Natasha Wodak winning the women’s race.

Tomsich, was a first-time participant and was the clear leader winning in 24:44. He had been prepping for the race by doing workouts with his club, Miles2Marathon run club.  “I have been putting in some base mileage, so it was nice to come out and enjoy the beautiful weather that we had today.” Second was Christopher Taylor, also from Vancouver in 25:05, and third was Victoria’s Andrew Russell in 25:24.

Top male master, and eighth overall, was James Richardson from Ceevacs Roadrunners, Duncan with a time of 26:18. One of the masters favourite for the title, Jim Finlayson pulled a muscle and had to retire leaving the second place open to 2015 Island Series Champion Craig Odermatt to finish in 26:56. Third was Shane Ruljancich crossing the line in 27:34.

The highly anticipated duel between Wodak, the Canadian 8k record holder, and Rachel Cliff, defending Pioneer champion and the Canadian Half Marathon record holder, did not disappoint with the two virtually neck and neck throughout the race. Wodak, who has won Pioneer six times, triumphed to win the women’s race in 26:04. This was also a F35-39 age class record. Next weekend she will be running the Houston Half Marathon. “The previous two years at Pioneer I ran around 26:37. I did the same thing last year, ran Pioneer, then the Houston Half Marathon, and I ran 1:11:31 in Houston. So, running a little faster here, I hope to run a little faster in Houston too.”

Cliff couldn’t make it three in a row finishing second in 26:15 and third and top female master was Victoria’s Marilyn Arsenault finishing in 29:00. Arsenault’s time was also an age class record in the F50-54. Second and third masters female finishers also hail from Victoria – Catrin Jones (29:09) and Jen Millar (29:32).

There was a third age class record set by Roslyn Smith from Courtenay in the F70-74. Smith lowered her own record of 2018 finishing in 37:44.

“Vancouver athletes dominated the 40th annual Harriers Pioneer 8K by sweeping the top two positions in both the men's and women's fields on a clear and sunny day in North Saanich,” said Bob Reid, High Performance Director. “We had 14 athletes from Vancouver which is an excellent showing for the first race of the Island Series and the BC Super Series.”

Full results can be viewed on: https://racedaytiming.ca/results/2019Pioneer8K

The Harriers Pioneer 8K will be followed by Cobble Hill 10K on January 27, Cedar 12K on February 10, Hatley Castle 8K on February 24, Port Alberni Paper Chase 15K on March 10, Comox Valley RV Half Marathon on March 24, TriStars 10K on April 7 and the Synergy Health Management Bazan Bay 5K and Series Awards on April 14.

To register online for Cobble Hill 10K go to: www.islandseries.org

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