Peak to Beak Race Report
The final race of the series is renowned as the toughest; a challenge to downhill, uphill, road, and trail running skills. Perhaps that is why Trevor Haaheim (M40-44) always runs it, and why he always excels. Our posted archives only go back to 2006, and in those seven years, Haaheim has won three times, been second three times, and took fifth in 2009. At the start this year, Hans Aabye (M35-39) bolted from the pack with designs on breaking his record of sub-10 minutes to the park gate, (that is for 2.2 miles, boys and girls) while Haaheim trailed at a maintainable pace, and overhauled Aabye when the younger man had a rough patch after the bridge to take a clear victory in 1:05:49, the only person to average under six minutes per mile. This time age-graded to 1:03:06, also the top time on the day. Kelowna runners captured seven of the top ten places, with Gary Wade (M45-49) in third at 1:11:16, and the top two women, Cindy Rhodes (F55-59), ninth in 1:18:34, and Stacie Carrigan (F30-35) tenth in 1:19:06. Third place woman Corinne Gable (F45-49, 1:29:38) is also from Kelowna.
The day started out cloudy and humid, but unfortunately, the skies cleared just before the start, adding the additional challenge of steamy heat to a course that provided enough challenge on its own. The only time I appreciated the sunshine was at the post-race natter and nosh, when runners were treated to a glorious view of Okanagan Lake from the lawns of Quail's Gate Vineyard and Winery. The food was almost worth running the race for, with plenty of fruit, cookies, mini cinnabuns, and pizza. Thanks to RD Brian Wrightson and the KRC for a job well done. This was the thirtieth edition of this race, and race founder Bill Stephens ran it and then treated the runners to a recap of the history, recounting the changes to the course throughout the years, and the famous runners who have won it in the past, including course record holders Phil Ellis and Cindy Rhodes. Rudy Swab had run every one of the previous 29, but missed this year, ending what must surely be the longest streak in IRA history.
Turning to the age graded scoring, Rhodes won her second race of the year in 1:03:27, over five minutes ahead of Diane Leonard (F65-69, 1:08:54), with Astrid Varga (F60-64, 1:18:15) in third. All three runners are from Kelowna. Rhodes also scored three second places on the year but failed to win her fifth consecutive Muckle-Gader Cup, as others scored in six races to her five. The trophy winner was Leonard with 1153 points (four third places to go with the second, and one fourth), with Vernon's Lynda Proce also completing an outstanding year of running by placing third in W55-59 and sixth age graded in the race to score 1139 total points for second. Arnie Gash (F65-69) was third on the year with 1112 points. An honourable mention goes to 2010 Runner of the Year Liz Borrett, who won all five of her races on age-grading.
On the men's side, Haaheim was the winner on the day as mentioned, with Wade second in 1:05:39, and Penticton's Sergio Pio (M45-49) third in 1:06:24. Pio captured his second Willis Greenaway Cup with 1163 points, ahead of Aabye, 1134, and Roly Muller (M60-64), 1128.
This correspondent had his best race of the year, dedicated to a friend with breast cancer; fourteenth overall, first in M55-59, fourth overall age graded, and finished fourth in the Greenaway standings. Since my return to racing, I have scored 4077 age graded points in 21 races, which is over 500 more than anyone else over that span. Thanks to chiropractor Clint Hallgrimson and massage therapist Sarah Robson for keeping my body in shape to race.
Congratulations to all the age group award winners! Please take a look at the posted scoring, and advise Peter Pollhammer of any errors or omissions. Don't forget that the season-ending awards banquet is in Kamloops on November 17. The series now turns to the trails, with the first race the revived Reino Keski-Salmi Memorial 10K at Larch Hills this coming Saturday, Sep. 15. Please come out and support this race so that it continues in the future!
Rick Jenkner reporting