Martinson and Watkins crowned BC 5K Champions

The BlueShore Financial Longest Day Road Races hosted by the Vancouver Thunderbirds club were blessed with sunny skies on Friday evening, at the latest stop in the Timex BC Road Running Series. The feature 5K event also served as the 2014 BC Championship, as well as being part of the Lower Mainland Road Race Series.

Events got underway with the Kids Mile, as over 100 enthusiastic kids led the charge around UBC Thunderbird Stadium. Once finished they had opportunity to participate in RunJumpThrow and other activities.

In the main event, Geoff Martinson from Victoria was almost as fast off the start line as the kids had been. His 2:35 through the downhill first kilometre quickly strung out the field, leaving the contest for second place. The former World Championship 1500m semi-finalist didn’t take his foot off the gas though, as his lead continued to grow all the way to the finish, coming home almost a minute clear in 14:33. In so doing Martinson added the 5K BC Championship to the 8K title he won earlier in the year.

The race for second was not decided until the final 100m. Christian Gravel, representing the host club while home for the summer from the University of Guelph, initially followed Martinson. But top master Kevin O’Connor slowly reeled him in, passing Gravel briefly before entering the finish arena. Gravel was not done though, and demonstrated his superior track speed down the finish straight, edging O’Connor 15:30 to 15:32. O’Connor had the consolation of finishing top master.

The women’s race was a much closer contest for Championship honours. Training partners Sabrina Wilkie and Catherine Watkins have fought many close races this year, with only a one point average separating them in the Timex BC Series rankings. So it was again on Friday, as they ran shoulder to shoulder through the first half of the race, before Watkins gradually moved ahead. Fearful that Wilkie would fight back, Watkins ran scared the rest of the way, to triumph in 17:03, with Wilkie crossing the line at 17:14. Watkins also collected top master honours.

Behind them Melissa Ross continued her return to fitness with a solid 17:33 clocking for third place on the podium.

In the accompanying 10K race Will Cliff (34:05) and Lissa Zimmer (36:58) were the clear winners.

There were over 750 finishers in the 5K race, with a further 500 plus in the 10K. Post race all participants were treated to the usual feast featuring hot dogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers, fruits, veggies, yogurt, ice cream, pies, juice & other goodies. The event was also a fund raiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

With the win, Martinson moves to the top of the Timex BC Series rankings, with two races remaining. Next up is the Midsummer 8K in Kelowna on July 6, before wrapping up at the Summerfast 10K in Vancouver on July 19, which also serves the 2014 BC 10K Championship.

The Lower Mainland Road Race Series meanwhile continues this Sunday with the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon.

Complete race results here.

BC 5K Championship results here