It’s “Opening Day” for Canada Running Series this Sunday, as some 1,500 runners are expected to toe the Start line in Stanley Park for Harry’s Spring Run Off 8K to fight prostate cancer. This will be the 14th year for the Series. Last year, the Series’ eight events in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal attracted 60,000 participants, raised an impressive $6.5 million for 238 mostly-local charities in the three cities, and created the opportunity for Canada’s top distance runners to race against some of the world’s best. This will be the 5th anniversary for Vancouver’s Spring Run-Off, sponsored by Harry’s Rosen, and it will again be an important fundraiser for prostate cancer research at Vancouver General Hospital. The 2012 goal of $180,000 is well in sight.
Leading the charge around the fabulous Stanley Park Seawall this year will be Lethbridge’s resident-Kenyan star, Kip Kangogo, and for the women, Port Moody’s Natasha Fraser. Kip will be making his debut at the Spring Run Off, but is no stranger to the Vancouver racing scene. He’s won the last 3 editions of the Scotiabank Vancouver Half marathon, and was 3rd in last year’s Sun Run, behind Eric Gillis and Dylan Wykes. In 2011, he finished 3rd overall in the Canada Running Series standings, behind only London Olympics-bound Reid Coolsaet and 2-time National Half marathon Champion, Matt Loiselle of Toronto. His main competition on Sunday is expected to come from a strong BC contingent that includes Langley’s Steve Osaduik (3rd at last year’s race), Burnaby’s Dylan Gant (7th last year), and Victoria’s Matt Clout.
Natasha Fraser, who placed 2nd in last year’s SRO, 3rd at Sun Run 2011 (34:00), 6th in the National 10K Championships in Toronto in September, and 3rd in the Overall CRS 2011 standings, is certainly the woman to beat. But she will be pushed by Vancouver’s Shauna Skinner and Catherine Watkins who finished 1-2, just one second apart, at the Steveston Icebreaker 8K in January, and Calgary veteran and former Olympian, Lisa Harvey.
The race takes off at 10am sharp from Stanley Park’s Miniature Railway Train Yard, and follows a scenic course along the Seawall and around Lost Lagoon. There are prizes for “Best Dressed” runner and for fundraising, as well as for the fleet of foot. Online registration is still possible until midnight Tuesday March 20, then “in person” at Denman Street Running Room on Friday and Saturday.
For entry and further information: www.springrunoff.ca