St Patrick’s Day 5K and BC Championship

Kevin Friesen and Gillian Gook were crowned 2012 BC 5K Champions before a large crowd, many dressed in costume at the Stanley Park Pavilion, following the BMO St Patrick’s Day 5K.

The race had an international flavour, with Washington athletes well to the fore. The downhill start, plus the added incentive of bonus prizes for the first man and woman to the mile, ensured a fast start. Seattle’s John Ricard and Mike Sayenko were neck and neck at the mile, with Ricard awarded the prize in 4:24.21, inches ahead of Sayenko. Newfoundland’s Ryan Brockerville, a student at SFU was 15m back, and Kevin Friesen the top BC athlete a stride behind. The womens’ race was equally close. Seattle’s Jane Larson edges out BC’s Natasha Fraser, in 5:01.23, with Seattle’s Lois Keller 40m back.

Ricard paid for his early enthusiasm, eventually fading to sixth. But Sayenko, who finished 30th at the US Olympic marathon trials in 2:16, maintained his pace, running out a clear winner in 14:50. Brockerville and Friesen also kept order, with Brockerville finishing second in 14:59, and Friesen winning the BC Championship in 15:11. Trinity Western University freshman Blair Johnston placed second in the Championship (15:24), with top master Kevin O’Connor third in 15:31.

Like Ricard, the first women to the mile were also unable to hold off their more evenly paced pursuers. Lois Keller gradually closed the gap, and eventually out-sprinted her teammate Larson, to win the race in 17:20 to Larson’s 17:22. Fraser’s fade was more emphatic, as she was passed by all three BC Championship medallists. Gillian Gook won the Championship, placing third overall in 17:50, ahead of Amy Schneeberg (17:58) and Katherine Moore (18:13). Rebecca Reid was top master in 18:57.

Complete results: http://www.stpatricks5k.com/?page_id=17
BC Championship results: http://www.bcathletics.org/results/2012/bcchamps5k.pdf

The race was the third event in the Lower Mainland Road Race Series. Next up is the BMO Sunshine Coast April Fool’s Run Half Marathon on April 1.

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