Andrea Wilson — the top local woman and photo contest winner at the virtual Comox Valley RV Half Marathon — strikes a winning pose. Photo courtesy of Andrea Wilson

Andrea Wilson — the top local woman and photo contest winner at the virtual Comox Valley RV Half Marathon — strikes a winning pose. Photo courtesy of Andrea Wilson

MacDonald, Wilson top local runners at Comox Valley RV Half Marathon

Virtual event becomes a 19K as a nod to COVID-19

A total of 213 runners participated in this year’s virtual Comox Valley RV Half Marathon, one of the flagship local races.

More than 50 runners were from the Comox Valley. Despite being called a half marathon, the stipulation for the event was to run 19 kilometres to represent COVID-19.

The top local finisher was Comox Valley Road Runners secretary Johnathan MacDonald, who placed third overall in a time of 1:14:50. Seconds behind was CVRR president Rob Kelly, who was fourth overall. Derek Brenchley placed seventh overall in 1:19:43.

The top local woman was Andrea Wilson, the second fastest female and eighth overall in a time of 1:19:52. Colleen Schmidt finished as the third woman and 13th overall in 1:22:27, and Gillian Clayton finished 17th overall and fifth among women in 1:26:37. Kim Coscia finished in 1:29:52 to place as the sixth woman.

Perhaps the most impressive finisher of the event was local runner Wendy Sutton. Wendy planned to run the half this year to celebrate her 75th birthday. She has run the event numerous times.

“Race day is always a community event,” she said. “It’s such a thrill to know the volunteers at every water stop.”

On March 4, while she was training, she was attacked by a dog. Among other injuries, her forearm was broken by the force of the dog’s jaws. She was admitted to hospital and underwent two surgeries. Reflecting back, Sutton said, “No pain now, but I must admit the second surgery was brutal.”

Despite her serious injuries, Sutton was determined to complete the half marathon. She received a special dispensation to run the event over four days. With grit and determination, Sutton was able to finish in an impressive cumulative time of 4:28:23 with various friends from CVRR supporting her each day.

“On my final day, 77-year-old Art Beck finished his half and walked back to accompany me on the final leg,” Sutton said. “The race may have been virtual this year but the camaraderie of the club was as real as ever.”

On a lighter note, the photo contest portion of the event was as popular as always. The subject for the photos in this contest was ‘selfie with an RV.’ Local running stud Wilson also took home the prize for top photo in the contest. Many other photos by locals were in close contention.

The next big local running event is The Cumby, a virtual race this year, with a 7km and a 13.5km event. Participants can run the marked course any time between May 1 and May 9. Proceeds go to the Cumberland Community Forest Society.

For more information about this wonderful event, go to cvrr.ca

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