The Timex BC Road Running Series travelled to the Okanagan for the fourth race in the 2014 series, the Penticton Lakeside 5K, which was also the second race in the Canadian Tire Interior Road Race Series hosted by the Penticton Pounders.
Snow flurries and a chill wind greeted participants, but underfoot conditions were good as nearly 200 runners took off from the start. And a little over 16 minutes later, the winners returned.
Two athletes had separated themselves from the rest of the field, and duelled all the way to the finish. 15-year old Sean Bergman competing for the Okanagan Athletics Club in Kelowna, and Hans Aabye who runs for the Okanagan Running Club. Aabye had been the dominant force in the Interior Series last year, winning seven races outright, and starting 2014 with another win. But he was no match for the younger legs of Bergman, who won by 10 metres in 16:05 to Aabye’s 16:08.
Some distance back, last year’s Lakeside winner John Machuga, coach of the Okanagan Running Club, had to work hard to hold off Kamloops’ Ryan Pidhirniak for third, in 17:04. Alex Hansen from Cochrane, AB completed the top five.
The women’s race was a very close contest, again only decided in the final few hundred metres, as the top 5 finished within 30 seconds. And again, youth prevailed as 14-year old Hannah Bennison from Vernon Athletics ran out the winner in 18:19. Christy Lovig of the Kelowna Running Club, and winner of the first race of the series, took second in 18:33, closely followed by Sandra Kilmartin of the UBC Okanagan Heat (18:40) and former high school star Carmen Ballard in 18:43. Another 15-year old, Glynis Sim rounded out the top five in 18:48.
Cindy Rhodes produced the top age graded performance of the day, placing seventh woman overall in 20:56.
Complete race results on the Interior Running Association website.
The Timex BC Road Running Series continues this weekend with the Bazan Bay 5K in Sidney. While the next Interior event is The River’s Spring Run-Off 10K in Kamloops in two weeks’ time, also a Timex BC Series race.