Olympians and World Champions to race the First Half

MEDIA RELEASE

Olympians and World Champions to race the First Half – February 15

(Vancouver, BC – February 9, 2015) The 26th Anniversary Pacific Road Runners “First Half” Half Marathon on February 15th will feature some of Canada’s top endurance runners. The race, which originated in 1989, will additionally host the 2015 BC Half Marathon Championship and is the third race in the 2015 BC Road Race Series presented by Timex.

Clear favourite for the men’s race is Olympic marathoner Dylan Wykes. Wykes set the event record of 1:04:22 in 2012, in building up to the London Olympics. This year he is training for the Boston Marathon in April, with the objective of qualifying for the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

In the absence of Rob Watson, the champion for the last two years who is injured, Wykes’ closest competition may be last year’s runner-up Jeremy Deere from Calgary. Jeremiah Ziak, who won last weekend’s Steveston Icebreaker 8K, should also be to the fore, as well as top master Jim Finlayson.

The women’s race will likely be a three-way battle, featuring BMO Vancouver Marathon champion Kimberley Doerksen, Oasis Rock ‘n’ Roll Vancouver Half Marathon runner-up Dayna Pidhoresky, and Canadian Half Marathon Championship runner-up Erin Burrett. All ran close to 1:15 in 2014.

An intriguing contest will feature two ultra-runners dropping down in distance, as World 100K Champion Ellie Greenwood lines up against World 50K bronze medallist Catrin Jones. Both are former winners of the “First Half”.

A number of other former Olympians will also be taking part. Art Boileau and Tina Connelly (the women’s course record holder at 1:12:47), are now in the masters ranks, but still no less competitive.

The oldest competitors will be 87 year old BJ McHugh from North Vancouver, who has set a number of world age best performances at previous “First Half”s; and 78 year old Bill Barrett from Vancouver.

For many the “First Half” has become an annual tradition. Henny Coates of Vancouver has completed the race 21 times. “Everyone has their personal goals and motivations for doing the race”, says this year’s race director David Parker. “The goal of the Pacific Road Runners is to provide a top class competition for runners of all abilities, and use the proceeds to benefit the local community”.

Proceeds from the event benefit Variety – The Children’s Charity. This year’s contribution of $50,000 brings total donations to over $650,000 since 1995.

“Variety greatly appreciates the long time support of Pacific Road Runners and the generous contributions from their members and race participants who helped to provide much needed support for children who have special needs,” said Bernice Scholten, Executive Director of Variety – The Children’s Charity. “Variety believes each child who has special needs is a champion because of their perseverance and courage to face challenges and achieve their unique little victories, so it’s great to be part of such a positive event.”

Starting and finishing at the Roundhouse Community Centre, the route includes a circuit of the Stanley Park seawall. The race gets underway at 8:30am, with a loop around BC Place, before heading out to Stanley Park. The winners will return to the Roundhouse shortly after 9:30am.

The race sold out all 2,000 entries in under 36 hours last October, and has attracted entrants from eight Provinces and eight States, as well as from Australia, Denmark and Malaysia.

Additional information on the event website: www.pacificroadrunners.ca/firsthalf

Pacific Road Runners (PRR) is a recreational running club, with members interested in leading a fit and active lifestyle combined with social events; meeting Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the False Creek Community Centre on Granville Island.

For more information contact:

Maurice Wilson
Pacific Road Runners
778-229-7602 (cell)
elites@pacificroadrunners.ca

Ruby Ng
Director, Marketing & Communications
Variety – The Children’s Charity
604-320-0505 ext. 237 (office)
604-828-9516 (cell)
ruby.ng@variety.bc.ca

Download the media release here

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