Blackwell Dairy 15K (2011)
The Blackwell Dairy 15K is a race that rewards the runner who carefully husband their energy, because the hills are unrelenting. It is always up or down. This year, Vernon's Aaron Heidt (M35-39) did that better than anyone, taking off from stubborn local Rick Brewster (M45-49) after the turnaround point to win by 90 seconds 54:08 to 55:38. His time was the fastest run on the course since Hans Aabye ran 53:17 in 2007.Skeets Morel (M20-29) of Vernon was third in 58:58, and former winners Trevor Jordan (M45-49), Phillip Sigalet (M50-54), and Brian Rostek (M40-44) followed.
In the women's race, the evergreen Cindy Rhodes (F50-54) continued her fine season by taking the win in 1:02:57, again improving on her last year's winning time as she did in the Blossom Ten Miler. Vernon runners filled the next three spots, with last year's runner-up Mary Edgar (F20-29) again followed her home, in 1:07:33. Lisa Heidt (F35-39, 1:08:52) was third and Jennifer Jakobi-Jones (F40-44, 1:09:44) took fourth.
The age graded standings again showed some outstanding performances by older runners. On the women's side, the top nine were all masters, with Rhodes leading the way as usual in 52:19. Rhodes has won the age grading here all four years it has been scored, with this her best-ever time. Kelowna's Diane Leonard (1st F65-69 in 1:21:48) was second at 58:11, and Vernon's Lynda Proce (1st F55-59 in 1:15:48), just back from the Two-X-Elle ladies cycling tour took third in 1:01:21. (Her husband Henry scored his first medal, third in M55-59.)
For the men on age-grading, race runner-up Brewster took a fine win in 50:34, the best time since sixty-two year old Jack Miller scored 49:36 in 2007. Former multiple age-graded race champion Ellis Andrews (1st M65-69, 1:08:21) took second at 52:07, Sigalet took third in 53:06, with Heidt fourth in 53:24.
The six race scoring is also posted, with those runners not missing a race yet gaining their chance to shine. In the race for the Greenaway Cup, Kamloops' Jordan Sim leads with 1097 points, Penticton's Bill Head is second with 1080, Mel Doherty (who never misses a race) third with 1033, and Bill Stephens fourth with 1022.
For the Muckle-Gader Cup, Vernon's Patricia Riegel leads with 1114 points, Kathleen Yanke of Salmon Arm is second with 1072, and Michelle Sinclair of Kelowna third with 1021.
Thanks to Race Director Karen King and the Kamloops Ridge Runners for a great event. Attendance was up significantly, reversing the unfortunate early season trend. A special thank you to Blackwell Dairy for the fantastic pancake breakfast and the yummy ice cream. The weather smiled on us for a change, with a cool sunny morning making for ideal racing conditions.
An item of note from the Blossom Ten Miler was that the entire Cutjar family completed the race, with Kevin pushing both young daughters to a fourth overall finish, and wife Barb returning to competition by finishing twelfth in W40-44.
The next race of the series is the Willis Greenaway Half Marathon in Summerland on it's new date of June 12. That race supports the Alzheimer Society, and members of Willis' family attend, making it a must-do event. See you there!!