The first notable road race of 2017 kicks off the year’s running scene in British Columbia on Sunday.

The Pioneer 8K, the race where Natasha Wodak set the Canadian 8K record (25:28) in 2013, is set for Jan. 8 at 11 a.m. PST just outside of Victoria. On-site registration will be available for runners looking to test their fitness at the last-minute at a cost of $40. Last-minute registration is open until 10:15 a.m. local time on Sunday. Wodak won’t be racing Sunday as she recently underwent foot surgery following the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The race will feature at least four Olympians including Chris Winter, Luc Bruchet, Hilary Stellingwerff and Bruce Deacon.

According to Athletics Illustrated, Stellingwerff, a two-time Olympian, will begin her transition to the roads from track racing when she runs the 8K on Sunday. Stellingwerff, who will be racing for the first time since Rio this weekend, is expected to race the Vancouver First Half in February.

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Winter too announced his retirement from professional track and field recently; his wife, Rachel Cliff, is a favourite in the women’s race. (Winter recently took part in a fun challenge that saw him go head-to-head over 10K with a team of 10 “average men.”) Bruchet represented Canada in the men’s 5,000m at the 2016 Olympic Games. Deacon, who represented Canada in the men’s marathon at the 1996 and 2000 Games, is one of the province’s top masters runners.

The Prairie Inn Harriers-hosted race is the first of 12 races as part of the B.C. Super Series, an initiative of high-quality road races in British Columbia. Sunday’s race begins at the Saanich Fairgrounds and leads the runners on gently undulating loops of rural roads to an uphill finish.

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Rob Watson, the men’s defending champion, will not be racing as there will be no repeat winners in 2017. Contenders for the title include Cliff and Stellingwerff in the women’s race and Geoff Martinson, Bruchet and Justin Kent in the men’s race. Beer two-mile world record holder Jim Finlayson and Marilyn Arsenault, the women’s 45-49 age group winner at the New York City Marathon, should be the top masters.

A list of the top runners can be found below.


1 – Geoff Martinson (Vancouver)
2 – Lucas Bruchet (Vancouver)
3 – Justin Kent (Burnaby, B.C.)
4 – Chris Winter (Vancouver)
5 – Theo Hunt (Vancouver)
6 – Jim Finlayson (Victoria) – Master
7 – Josh Kozelj (Coquitlam, B.C.) – Junior
8 – Matt Noseworthy (Victoria)
9 – Craig Odermatt (Victoria) – Master
10 – Bruce Deacon (Victoria) – Master


11 – Rachel Cliff (Vancouver)
12 – Hilary Stellingwerff (Victoria)
13 – Marilyn Arsenault (Victoria) – Master
14 – Jen Millar (Victoria)
15 – Laurel Booker (Victoria)
16 – Lindsey Chamberlain (Victoria)
17 – Olivia Willett (Coquitlam, B.C.) – Junior
18 – Brittany Therrien (Halifax)
19 – Binder Kelsall (Victoria) – Master
20 – Charlene Waldner (Victoria) – Master


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