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Track stars to hit the roads for Vancouver’s St Patrick’s Day 5K

One of Canada's most competitive 5Ks, the BMO St. Patrick's Day race in Vancouver, is one of many Irish-themed road races across the country this weekend.

BMO St. Patrick's Day 5K
BMO St. Patrick's Day 5K
Photo: Yaletown Photography.

Two intriguing head-to-head contests featuring Rio Olympians will highlight Saturday’s BMO St Patrick’s Day 5K, the 2017 B.C. 5K Championship and the second race in the B.C. Super Series. The St. Patrick’s Day race is one of many held across Canada this weekend following the Friday celebration.

Defending champion Luc Bruchet will renew his rivalry with Ross Proudfoot in the title bout. Last summer both were chasing Olympic 5,000m qualification, with Bruchet going on to represent Canada, while Proudfoot had to watch from home. Since then Proudfoot has relocated to Victoria from Guelph, Ont. and rebounded to win the Canadian Cross-Country Championships in the fall with Bruchet second. Most recently Proudfoot edged Bruchet by a second over 3,000m indoors in February, while Bruchet won the first race in the BC Super Series, the Harriers Pioneer 8K. This will be their first match-up on the roads, and could lead to an improvement of Bruchet’s course record of 14:22.

RELATED: Our Irish stew recipes for your St.Patrick’s Day run recovery.

The women’s contest pitches experience against young talent. Two-time Olympian Hilary Stellingwerff will be up against Trinity Western University (TWU) star Regan Yee. Stellingwerff, who retired from track after representing Canada in the 1,500m at the last two Olympics, has transitioned to the roads. She was runner-up to St Patrick’s Day course record holder Rachel Cliff at the Harriers Pioneer 8K. Cliff will be absent this year, as she competes at the United Airlines NYC Half on Sunday. Yee took second place last weekend at the U Sports 3,000m Indoor Championships, and is the NACAC U23 3,000m steeplechase champion. Their only previous head-to-head tilt was at the 2015 BC Cross-Country Championships, where Stellingwerff came out top over 6K.

Looking to spoil the party will be a host of other talent. 2014 Champion Geoff Martinson is the former St Patrick’s Day 5K course record holder. UBC’s Kieran Lumb will use the race as a final tune-up to next weekend’s IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships in Uganda, having won the NACAC regional championship two weeks ago. Declan White is another TWU star, coming off last weekend’s U Sports Championships. University of Victoria freshman Josh Kozelj won the Bazan Bay 5K two weeks ago. And never count out the experience of Rob Watson, 2015 Pan Am Games marathoner.


On the women’s side, last year’s runner-up Dayna Pidhoresky will return to racing for the first time since last October’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Last year’s third-place finisher Erica Digby was only two seconds behind Yee over 3,000m indoors this winter. Lindsay Carson, a Canadian cross-country international, will make the trip down from Whitehorse. Catherine Watkins, another 2015 Pan Am Games marathoner, will too be in the mix.

While the serious athletes may have the B.C. Championship as their goal, many more will come dressed in costume, and will stay for the Irish themed after-party. Proceeds from the event benefit the Canadian Diabetes Society.

The lead runners will be chasing a Maserati pace car, courtesy of Ferrari Maserati of Vancouver. The race starts at 9:30 a.m. on Pipeline Drive, and circles around Brockton Point, before finishing back up Pipeline to the Stanley Park Pavilion.

The BC Super Series is a collaboration between BC Athletics and 12 of B.C.’s best road races. The next event is the Vancouver Sun Run 10K on April 23.

From a BC Athletics press release.