Three former winners of the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon will be back to challenge for the 2015 marathon. The 2014, 2013 and 2012 champions, Daniel Kipkoech, Lamech Mokono, and Thomas Omwenga lead an impressive elite field on Sunday in the 36th annual event. Lioudmila Kortchaguina, the 2014 women’s marathon winner, is also returning as is the 2013 and 2010 champion, Victoria’s Catrin Jones.
“Mokono set the course record of 2:13:42 in 2013 and he is returning from Kenya very fit and keen to lower that mark,” said Bob Reid, Dairyland High Performance Athlete Director. Omwenga, who is now a Canadian citizen, has won the marathon twice, and as a former course record holder is keen the capture the title back. Kipkoech came second in this year’s BMO Vancouver Marathon with a time of 2:18:25.
Kortchaguina, from Markham, Ont., is the women’s marathon favourite. “She won the 2014 event in 2:41:39 to set a new master’s record and could lower the women’s open course record of 2:37:56, as she ran a 2:37:37 to win the BMO Vancouver Marathon this year,” adds Reid. She will challenged by Hirut Guangul who ran a 2:38:07 in Hong Kong in January.
The half-marathon field is led by Paul Kimugul who is in fine form having won the Around the Bay 30K in March in 1:33:48. In 2014 he set the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon course record in 1:02:38, just six seconds shy of the Victoria course record set by Jon Brown in 2002. Last year’s winner Willy Kimosop is returning hoping to better his 2014 time of 1:06:00.
The 2014 female half-marathon champion, Anne-Marie Madden, from Vancouver is back to defend her title. She ran a 1:16:35. On her heels will be Kimberly Doerksen from Gibsons, B.C. who set a personal best and event record at the 2014 Sunshine Coast April Fool’s run (1:14:53).
This year Victoria is once again hosting the B.C. Marathon Championships. In 2016, in addition to hosting the championships for the eighth time, it will be the concluding race in a new races series, the B.C. Super Series. A collaboration between B.C. Athletics and 12 of B.C.’s best road races, the series will bring the best athletes in B.C. together in competition, and encourage participation from all abilities.
The total prize purse for the Dairyland High Performance Athlete Program in the marathon and half-marathon is $36,650, with $4,000 going to the top male and female marathoner, and a $5,000 bonus for a new men’s or women’s marathon course record. The men’s record was set in 2013 by Lamech Mokono in 2:13:42 and the women’s by Lucy Njeri in 2011 (2:37:56).