Pidhoresky successfully defends, and Gillis triumphs at First Half

A wet and cool Valentines Day did not dampen spirits at the 27th “First Half” Half Marathon, the second race in the BC Super Series. Although the winning times were not as quick as hoped for, the depth of the fields was impressive, with eight women finishing under 1:20.

From the gun the lead trio of men quickly separated themselves from the rest of the field. Eric Gillis, Rob Watson and Kip Kangogo set out with a World Half Marathon qualifying time of 1:04 as their target, but it quickly became apparent that conditions were against them. Kangogo was the first to fall off the pace as they passed English Bay. And after the Georgia Street underpass, Gillis was on his own out front as Watson was feeling the chill.

Gillis passed 10K in 30:31, 100m clear of Watson, and continued to extend the gap all the way to the finish, to win $800 for the victory in 1:05:46. Watson persevered for second in 1:07:39. Kevin Coffey, who ran alone for the first 15K, caught and passed Kangogo at Second Beach, to take third in 1:08:21. Kangogo, also not enjoying the damp, finished fourth in 1:09:09. And Logan Roots rounded out the money winners in a PB of 1:09:39 for fifth.

Kevin O’Connor narrowly missed ducking under 1:10 for the M4549 Canadian Masters record, finishing in 1:10:10. His consolation was beating 3-time masters champion Jim Finlayson.

Dayna Pidhoresky made her intentions clear from the gun, as Krista DuChene and Erin Burrett allowed her to break away in the first mile. Reaching 10K in 35:01, she was over a minute clear of DuChene and Burrett who were still running together. From there her pace slowed to match her pursuers. But being largely out of sight on the winding seawall, there was never any danger of them reeling her in.

Pidhoresky won comfortably in 1:15:11, a minute quicker than her winning time last year, and the joint fifth best time ever recorded at the First Half. DuChene was finally able to drop her shadow in the second half, but Burrett never gave up the chase, as they finished in 1:16:20 and 1:16:30 respectively. The surprise came in fourth place as Karen Tulloch finished strong to beat many more favoured athletes in 1:17:26. Top master Catherine Watkins was happy with her fifth place in 1:18:08.

Behind the winners the masses came, with just over 2000 total finishers. They included Team Hamm and Legs and Team Josh, two young wheelchair athletes who have benefitted from support from Variety – the Children’s Charity. The First Half once again donated $50,000 to the charity as part of the 50th annual Variety Show of Hearts Telethon.

Complete results,

Rankings in the BC Super Series will be updated shortly, once results are finalized.

Next up in the BC Super Series is the BMO St Patrick’s Day 5K in Vancouver’s Stanley Park on March 12, which also serves as the 2016 BC 5K Championship.