Participants in the 36th Annual GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon get set to dash at the starting line, Sunday. (James MacKenzie/News staff)

GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon a wet ride

Kenyan Daniel Kipkoech hits the finish line first, for the fifth straight year

Special to the News by Spencer Pickles.

The 39th annual GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon was wet, but runners were in high spirits, especially Daniel Kipkoech, who took home his fifth consecutive win.

“My goal was to win five times, and I beat that record, so I am very happy about that,” says Kipkoech, a native of Kenya.

Kipkoech says that he was focused on the win because he didn’t want to let the fans down. “That’s why I come and fight no matter what.”

Kipkoech lives and trains in Lethbridge, Alberta. He finished with a time of 2:22:39, up from his time last year of 2:21:03.

The first female marathoner across the finish line was Emily Setlack with a time of 2:46:20.

There were nearly 8,000 participants in the race which included marathon, half-marathon, and 8km distances as well as a kids fun run. The race is put on with the help of 1,600 volunteers.

“Anyone and everyone can do it,” says Cathy Noel, general manager of the marathon. “The fast people and the slow people, and everyone in between are all starting at the start line. They’re all in the same race and they’re all at the finish line. You see lots of people out there who are cheering each other on and supporting each other.”

Those people include Rand Surbey who has cerebral palsy, who was pushed in a modified wheelchair by his friend Jason Cole.

The two worked together to complete the race and are hoping to achieve the tandem world record for half-marathon.

“[Surbey] has to build his core because every corner he has to lean in,” says Cole, who with Surbey beat their personal best with a time of 1:36:12. “It’s 100 per cent teamwork.”

The rain caused portions of the track to be a bit slippery but runners said they appreciated its cooling effect.

“It’s such a cool course because you don’t get anything like it elsewhere in Canada,” said Trevor Hofbauer, winner of the half-marathon who clocked in at 1:05:18. “If you’re having a bad day, just look to the left, you have the ocean there and you have a huge amount of support coming back.”

Natasha Wodak took the top spot among female runners in the half-marathon with a time of 1:11:45.

Some 500 of the GoodLife runners were used the marathon as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon in April 2019.


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