One of the North America’s most scenic cities did not disappoint on Sunday at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Oasis Vancouver Half Marathon. Thousands of runners lined up at the start of the race amid chilly fall temps and partly cloudy skies. But once the starting gun sounded, things warmed up as the music and crowds energized participants who were afforded a spectacular visual treat as they ran along Vancouver waterfront with stunning views of the mountains and the ocean.
Paul Kimugul broke the tape in 1 hour, 5 minutes and 25 seconds, beating second-place finisher Kelly Wiehe by 24 seconds. Third place went to Bernard Ngeno in 1:07:30.
“The race was good,” said Kimugul, who also won last year’s race. “I like the race—especially the fans all along the river—very fantastic. I love the Rock ‘n’ Roll races. I came here from Kenya and want to follow all the Rock ‘n’ Roll race cities.”
PHOTOS: Rock ‘n’ Roll Oasis Vancouver
Hometown favorite Natasha Wodak won the women’s race in 1:18:53, with second and third place going to Jane Ricardi (1:20:02) and Sabrina Wilke (1:21:04), respectively.
For Wodak, who was in Las Vegas on Friday, the last 48 hours have been a whirlwind. “I’m pretty tired,” Wodak said with a chuckle. “You know what? You only live once.” Wodak had been in Vegas with a friend and arrived home Saturday morning. “I got a little jog in and I was fine,” she said. “I can rally.”
For Wodak, 2015 has been a banner year. She represented Canada in the 10,000m event at the World Championships in August and says she’s been building her mileage up after a break in September. “Today, my coach said I could race as long as I took it more as a tempo. The goal was to try and run 1:20. I ran under 1:19 and I felt good doing it.”
“You can’t beat running here in Vancouver,” added Wodak. “I’m always happy to race at home with my friends and family.”
The diversity of participation at the Rock ‘n’ Roll races impressed Kodak, who said she was surprised to meet so many people from all over the world at the race expo the day before. Wodak is training for next year’s world half-marathon championships and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
The 45th annual Cunnigham Seawall 10K was held on Saturday. Geoff Martinson, a local who runs for the B.C. Endurance Project, won the men’s race in 29:52.
“We had beautiful conditions,” said Martinson, finished second in the half marathon in 2014. “The 10K course is very scenic. It’s the best the city has to offer.”
Kimberly Doerksen, also a Vancouver resident, won the women’s 10K in 36:29. She was admittedly running scared from the start. “I ran what I expected,” she said. “I’m really happy with the effort.”
The John Volken Foundation, a non-profit organization that operates the John Volken Academy, a long-term residential drug and alcohol treatment center, returned as the official charity of the race.
For compete results, photos and more, visit www.RunRocknRoll.com/Vancouver.