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De Jong and Lee take home the wins at Vancouver’s First Half half-marathon

Caleb De Jong set a new course record and Andrea Lee bested second place by over two minutes to get the wins this weekend

The 31st edition of the First Half half-marathon in Vancouver saw a great day of fast racing this weekend as Caleb De Jong of Winnipeg set a new course record of 1:04:18 and Andrea Lee of North Vancouver took the win on the women’s side in 1:16:13.

De Jong formerly raced for Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C., where he was first team All-Canadian in cross-country. On Sunday, he led the way ahead of over 2,400 other competitors, running an even 3:02 per kilometre pace throughout the race en route to the win. His winning time was three seconds faster than the First Half’s course record of 1:04:21, which was set by Dylan Wykes (who came in 10th this weekend) back in 2012.

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De Jong was forced to run a course record (or close to it) to grab the win, as Jeff Archer of Ottawa was only 21 seconds behind him, finishing in 1:04:39. The two men were neck and neck for the first half of the race, both posting 30:28 10K splits, giving them a lead of a minute ahead of the next closest runner. De Jong ultimately pulled away from Archer to take the win and the First Half record. Ryan Hayden of Fort Langley, B.C. rounded out the podium in 1:07:07, just edging out fourth place by two seconds.

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In the women’s race, Lee was in a class of her own, winning by over two minutes ahead of her closest competitor. She won the race in 1:16:13. Lee was second at last year’s First Half race, but she took the next step to the top of the podium, besting her time from 2019 by two and a half minutes.

Victoria’s Care Nelson came in second in a time of 1:18:18, just 13 seconds ahead of Sabrina Wilkie who crossed the line in 1:18:31 for third place.