Island MLA Michelle Stilwell sums up her world record at track meet: ‘Fantastic’ #Lyon2013

July 29, 2013

July 25, 2013 – By Cleve Dheensaw / Times Colonist 

Times Colonist – Most politicians would be happy just to win their race in an election. But Michelle Stilwell isn’t like most politicians.

The Parksville-Qualicum MLA and government caucus chairwoman set a world record of two minutes, 14.79 seconds in winning the gold medal in the women’s wheelchair T52 class 800 metres Thursday at the International Paralympic Committee world track and field championships in Lyon, France.

The former world record of two minutes, 16.71 seconds was established in 2005 by fellow Canadian Lisa Franks. Stilwell holds four world records in the T52 class — the 100 metres, 200 metres, 400 metres and now 800 metres.

Thursday’s achievement came with bumps and scrapes. The race was originally conducted Wednesday but a re-race was ordered for Thursday after Stilwell and Marieke Vervoort of Belgium collided hard with 200 metres remaining. Stilwell managed to remain upright, but Vervoort’s chair tipped and she hit the ground. The Belgian was ruled to have cut off Stilwell and disqualified for the re-race.

“Well, that did not go as planned,” Stilwell said in a Twitter post on Wednesday.

“I am OK, only a little bruised on the arm.”

On Thursday, after winning the second race, she summed things up with one word: “Fantastic.”

“I would have liked to have Marieke in the race. I look forward to the day when we can re-race,” she said in an interview conducted by meet organizers. “I hope she is doing well and recovering.

“We definitely had a great race plan going in today. It was about controlling the race.”

And she took note of the weather. “It’s been very, very warm — very hot.”

Stilwell, who became a paraplegic at 17 while playing piggy-back with friends and falling down a flight of stairs, is the only female athlete to have won gold medals in two sports in the Summer Paralympics. She won gold in wheelchair basketball at Sydney 2000. Complications from her spinal cord injury forced Stilwell to retire from wheelchair basketball. She took up wheelchair track and won two gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, and gold and silver at London 2012. Stilwell’s silver at London came when Vervoort edged the Islander for gold in the T52 100 metres.

Stilwell, 39, who won a seat as a Liberal MLA in the May election, acknowledged the support she has received from the Island and across the country. “It’s been wonderful getting all your emails and your posts. I’m looking forward to coming home and showing everyone my new bling.”

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Records fall at Summerfast 10K

July 20, 2013

The record books were completely rewritten at the Summerfast 10K, hosted by the Vancouver Falcons. The final race in the 2013 Timex BC Road Race Series and race #8 in the Lower Mainland Series attracted a competitive field. Warm, calm conditions, and a flat course produced fast times for many.

Leading the way was Kelly Wiebe. The former Vancouver Sun Run winner, recently relocated to Vancouver from Saskatchewan to train under Richard Lee, proved he was the class of the field, leading from gun to tape. Through the first mile he was 100m clear, and he continued to extend his lead all the way around the Stanley Park seawall, bettering the previous course record of 30:58 by a full minute. His winning time of 29:57 earned him a $100 bonus.

Behind Wiebe a three way battle developed, and was not settled until the final sprint to the finish. Theo Hunt edged out Kris Swanson by 3 seconds, 31:34 to 31:37, with Jim Finlayson a further 3 seconds back in 31:40. Finlayson’s time was a masters 40+ record, also by over a minute, and earned him a $50 bonus.

Natasha Fraser was next to claim a $100 record bonus, as she also led wire-to-wire, though her margin of victory was much less, winning in 35:01. The surprise of the day was in second place, as Kimberley Doerksen from Gibsons produced a huge PB, bettering her previous best by about 4 minutes. A recent switch to train under John Hill clearly paid dividends for her, as she beat many more fancied rivals in 35:22.

In the battle for third, Erin Burrett and Sabrina Wilkie repeated their tussle from the Longest Day 5K, with a similar outcome as Burrett out-sprinted Wilkie 35:39 to 35:41. Behind them Catherine Watkins made it a clean sweep of records, establishing a new masters 40+ mark of 35:55, to take the $50 bill.

At the other end of the spectrum, BJ McHugh added to her already lengthy list of world age best performances, setting a F8589 record of 1:06:49.

Complete results:

Garnett beats heat on 50-mile run to Whistler

July 7, 2013

By Vince Shuley, Whistler Question

The scorching temperatures of the Canada Day long weekend were not the most ideal for a trail running ultra, but organizers of the fourth annual Tenderfoot Boogie were prudent in getting the race started pre-dawn at 5 a.m.

“The guys coming in a few hours from now might have a different story, but for me (the temperature) was good,” said overall 50-mile winner Jonathon Garnett, who crossed the line with a personal best of seven hours, 41 minutes, 25 seconds — more than two hours ahead of Roy Kok, who came in second at 10:03:27.

“It started off nice and cool, about 16 degrees with a bit of rain. By the time the sun crested the ridge it was half over.”

Garnett, originally from Victoria, is no stranger to running in heat and humidity being based in Hong Kong.

“Training in Hong Kong has good crossover benefits, you come back from a run in thirty-degree heat and you’re soaked. For me, this is actually really nice.”

The 50-mile course started at the Squamish Adventure Centre and wound its way past Brackendale, Brohm Lake and the Paradise Valley before following the Sea to Sky Highway. Several more trail diversions at Lucille Lake and Brandywine Falls Provincial Park kept runners on their toes before the final stage through Whistler’s Westside to the finish at Meadow Park.

“The first half of this 50-miler is pretty flat, so it gives you the opportunity to really put the pedal to the metal and get some fast kilometres in,” said Garnett.

“Obviously that brings in the risk of overdoing it, you have to hold it back a little bit so you can keep some fuel in the tank for when the hills do start. It’s actually quite nice because you get a bit of ebb and flow with the hills. It undulates, it flows, it’s a good mix. It only goes on the road when it has to.”

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Kangogo, DuChene win Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon

June 24, 2013

SVHM start

By Michael Doyle, Canadian Running Magazine

If there is one word that best describes Kip Kangogo, it’s consistency.

The Kenyan born, Canadian resident won his fourth Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon on Sunday, beating some stiff competition in the process.

The weather was slightly overcast and perfect for running when the horn sounded at the UBC campus. Kangogo tucked in behind Rob Watson, Willy Kimosop, Paul Kimugal and Terence Attema for much of the first half.

Kimugal set the tone in the early going, but it was Watson that laid down the first salvo at the 12K marker, where there was a tough 300m climb. Kimugal fell off the pace, but Kangogo was able to cover the move. He then settled back in comfortably and bided his time until Kitsilano Beach. There, Kangogo quickly gapped Watson, and then used the long tough grind up the Burrard Bridge to cement his fourth victory in Vancouver. He would win in a convincing 1:03:33. Watson wound up losing nearly a minute on Kangogo in the last few kilometres, finishing with a 1:04:28.

The women’s race got off to a very hot start between two friends and rivals. Lanni Marchant and Krista DuChene challenged each other to an edgy 33:00 first 10K, before Marchant fell off the pace. That left the door open for DuChene to continue her extraordinary 2013 campaign, winning in a jaw-dropping 1:10:52. Marchant would cruise in at a respectable 1:11:38, but admitted that she never quite settled down and found her stride after a rough beginning. “I got tripped up at the very start of the race and nearly did a face plant,” Marchant told Canadian Runningafter the race. “I tried to hang on the best I could, but my body and I decided we were at odds with each other, but I tried to keep a solid one going –I’m happy with my time and how it felt.”

Both Kimugul and Port Moody, B.C.’s Natasha Wodak would protect their positions in the race and take home respective third place finishes. It’s been a busy week for Wodak. On Thursday, she was on the other side of the country, where she won the 10,000m at the Canadian track and field championships in Moncton. “I’m happy I was still able to get under 1:15, all things considered,” she said after just squeezing by in 1:14:59.

Kimugul fought hard to keep up, but faded back to 1:04:58. He then found himself taking a brief trip to the hospital after becoming weak in the finishing chute. He later told Canadian Running that he was recently suffering from pneumonia, and would have to seek further treatment after he heads back to Kenya next week.

DuChene, Marchant and Watson all got to test out their fitness here in Vancouver with about seven weeks to go before the IAAF world championships in Moscow. Both women have long been committed to the race and expect to run fast times, with talk of perhaps even going after a sub-2:30, particularly after the feedback they received from Sunday’s race.

Watson is a late addition to the Canadian squad. He and Dylan Wykes are the only two men with qualifying times, but neither had planned to make the trip. Wykes is still recovering from injury, while Watson had initially opted to focus instead on a fast fall marathon. Last week, Watson changed his mind. “I came to the decision after talking to a lot of people that I really respect in the sport and putting things into perspective,” the 2:!3 marathoner told Canadian Running after his finish. “You never know what is around the corner and you have to take advantage of the experiences you are given. This is a great team and it’s going to be a great experience, I’m going to get world championship experience… It seemed right.”

Both Watson and Kangogo had extra motivation to run hard on Sunday.

Watson turned 30 on race day and was hoping to celebrate with a win in the city he now calls home. He would have to settle for second, but commended Kangogo on his solid effort. “Kip is just so good at the half-marathon,” exclaimed Watson. “He’s Mr. Consistency.”

Kangogo was inspired by the birth of his first child just three weeks ago. “This was my first race running as a daddy, and it was just wonderful,” Kangogo said with a smile. “Everything changes — there’s love in the house and love in running.”

This year’s event was their most successful yet, with a sell-out crowd of 7,000. The race also raised over $700,000 for 71 different charities.

Voth leads TWU Spartans at Coquitlam Cheetahs meet

June 13, 2013

Last weekend’s meet served as trials for the 2013 Canada Summer Games 

LANGLEY ADVANCE – JUNE 13, 2013 – Trinity Western University track athlete Chris Voth had the race of his life in the 5000m to lead the Spartans at the Coquitlam Cheetahs Annual Jesse Bent Memorial Meet.

The Abbotsford native finished first with a time of 14: 46.10 at Coquitlam’s Percy Perry Stadium on Sunday.

Voth led a Spartans contingent that was competing in its third meet in the Lower Mainland in just over a week as part of an effort to push for an outdoor aspect to the Canada West and CIS competition schedule.

The University of Alberta and the University of Victoria also competed in this week’s three-event series.

This past weekend’s meet was also the Canada Games trials for Team B.C.

It’s expected the team will officially be announced sometime this week.

While there were plenty of quality performances from current Spartans, it was future Spartan Regan Yee who made waves by winning the 2000m steeplechase, and beating the Spartans’ Fiona Benson with a time of 7: 00.20.

Benson finished second in 7: 01.91.

Also of note was the performance of Canadian Paralympian Dustin Walsh, who broke the T11 Canadian 400m record with a time of 53 seconds.

Walsh, who was also the previous record-holder, bettered his old mark of 53.05.

Spartans track athlete and Langley resident Dylan Williamson is Walsh’s guide runner.

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Jackson, Jones run to Whistler Half titles

June 6, 2013

By Eric MacKenzie, Whistler Question

David Jackson said he wanted to have a comfortable start to The North Face Whistler Half Marathon on Saturday (June 1). By the end, it was his huge lead over the rest of the field that looked pretty comfy.

The Abbotsford runner captured top spot in the third annual 21.1-kilometre race, crossing the Whistler Olympic Plaza finish line in one hour, 11 minutes, 24 seconds to take the victory.

Jackson led by a full minute when reaching the halfway point at Rainbow Park Saturday, and stretched the gap to more than three minutes by the time he reached the finish. Browne (1:14:39) took runner-up honours while McCarthy (1:15:23) placed third, reaching the podium for the third year in a row.

Catrin Jones similarly opened up a big lead over the rest of the field to capture the women’s half marathon, one year after she finished in second place. The Victoria resident clocked in at 1:20:21 to hold off Vancouver’s Anne-Marie Madden (1:23:46) and 2011 winner Care Nelson (1:24:47) for the title, recording the sixth-fastest time overall.

This year’s race featured a 10 K distance for the first time and Sea to Sky runners posted several impressive results, as the women’s 10 K was swept by locals. Tara Gorman battled with fellow Whistler resident Laura Bestow before taking top spot in a time of 41:40. Pemberton’s Emma Chadsey finished 13 seconds behind Bestow for third, and Whistler’s Karen Elliot was the fourth women’s finisher.

Full results are available at

Race director Dave Clark said this year’s race raised $20,000 for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada. Olympic Plaza buzzed with activity and excitement throughout the day as hundreds of supporters came out to cheer on runners taking on the two distances or the Little Rippers Kids Run through the Village.

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BC High School Championships Round-up

June 2, 2013

By Howard Tsumura, The Province

Epic comebacks, PB times highlight boys, girls 3,000m finals at Subway BC track finals

Georgia on everyone’s mind: Ellenwood finishes prep career with triple gold, silver at BC’s

Weir wins in pure-guts fashion, Asianna smashes B.C. prep discus mark, and all the rest