Grizzly Bear 12K race report
With most of the big names giving this race a miss, it was time for others to step up, and Jakub Sumbera, Brian Rourke, and Anne-Marie Gill did not disappoint. Sumbera (M20-29), made the trip from Fairmont to run his first IRA race, and made it memorable by winning with a new course record of 41:45. Despite that achievement, he could not take the victory on age-grading, as Rourke (M60-64) had a great day himself, finishing tenth overall in 51:51 and first on age-grading at 41:00. Gill (F35-39), who only seems to race in Revelstoke, won the womens race (and was fifth overall) in 50:33 with a strong second half drive that saw her pass Nadyia Fry (F20-29, 51:32) and Mary Edgar (F20-29, 52:29) who finished second and third. We'd like to see more of you, Anne-Marie!
The winner of the Blackwell Dairy 15K, Brian Rostek (M40-44) was second in the mens race and second on age-grading with 43:52 (41:18). Vernon's Skeets Morel (M20-29), who was runner-up at Blackwell, finished third overall in 44:36, while Sumbera's 41:45 was good for third age-graded.
The women's age-graded scoring featured a string of new names, with Salmon Arm's Linda Irvine ( first F55-59, 47:22), Vernon's Lynda Proce (second F55-59, 47:42) and Gill (49:50) filling the first three places.
Announced as the oldest runner in the race, seventy-five year old Guenter Naumann of Okanagan Falls finished 45th overall in 1:06:11, good for ninth on age grading.
Conditions were excellent for running, with dappled sunshine, no wind, and a temperature of around 20 degrees. Numbers were down slightly though, as ninety-three runners (over one third of them locals) finished the course. Thanks to race director Jarrett Spannier and his crew of volunteers for a well staged event with beverage prizes and ribbons for the winners. I think everyone won a draw prize, and one lucky entrant won a helicopter ride for 5 people. If you have never experienced this race, it is well-worth the trip for the scenery, relaxed atmosphere, and quiet, pleasant course.
The next race of the series is the Kelowna Midsummer 8K (all right, this year it seems like the Pre-summer 8K) on July 11. This is your last chance to pick up Timex Series points in the Okanagan, and the flat fast course should see some excellent competition.
Rick Jenkner reporting