Two past winners of the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon will be back on Sunday to challenge for the win. Daniel Kipkoech and Lamech Mokono, the winners of the previous three editions of the race, lead a competitive field for the 37th running of the event. Catrin Jones, the world 50K bronze medallist and the women’s champion in 2010 and 2013, is also returning.
The popular marathon and half-marathon distances are sold out and there are 8,070 entrants in the five race weekend events as of Wednesday afternoon. The shorter distances include the 8K and kids run as well as a marathon relay.
Mokono set the course record of 2:13:42 in 2013, and is looking very fit having run 1:41:50 in the Around the Bay 30K in Hamilton in April and 1:09:43 in the BMO Vancouver Half-Marathon in May. Kipkoech is also in top form, winning this year’s BMO Vancouver Marathon in 2:21:04. Third-seeded Bryan Andrews from Vancouver is the 2015 Kamloops Marathon champion and has a personal best of 2:29:00.
Jones, from Victoria, ran her personal best in 2013 when she won the marathon (2:43:03), and has since become an ultramarathon specialist. On her heels will be Eva Vail from Portland, Ore., who finished second in Victoria in 2014 with a 2:45:54, her debut marathon. Vancouver’s Sabrina Wilkie is third seed and will be running her debut marathon, according to race organizers.
The marathon doubles as the B.C. marathon championships. The overall winners earn a payday of $4,000 and an additional $5,000 if the marathon course record is broken.
Local names Rob Watson and Jim Finlayson will be running the half-marathon, which is scheduled 75 minutes before the start of the marathon. Watson, who recently announced his commitment to run the New York City Marathon, is one of the more popular figures in Canadian running. Finlayson, the beer two-mile world record holder, is one of the country’s top masters runners. Defending champion Kimugul is the favourite.
Four-time winner of the TC10K, Jane Murage, leads the women’s half-marathon field. She has a personal best of 1:11:30 (2013, Philadelphia) and has twice won the BMO Vancouver Half. Contenders in the 8K include Trevor Hofbauer, who recently announced he will be joining the Speed River Track Club in Guelph, Ont., and Lindsay Carson, a resident of Whitehorse.
Schedule (all times local)
6:30 a.m.: Marathon early start (Limit: 5:30-7 Hours)
7:10 a.m.: 8K wheelchair and visually impaired Start
7:15 a.m.: 8K open
7:25 a.m.: Half-marathon wheelchair and visually impaired
7:30 a.m.: Half-marathon open
8:40 a.m.: Marathon wheelchair and visually impaired
8:45 a.m.: Marathon, marathon relay open (Time Limit: 5:30 Hours)
10:15 a.m.: Thrifty Foods Kids Run
With files from a press release.