SUBMITTED BY SS SNEAKERS
The Salt Spring Sneakers ended the Island Series winter race series on April 14 with a bang after limping into the final event with injury and illness.
The Island Race Series finale is the Bazan Bay 5K in Sidney, traditionally run in rainy and windy conditions, which also threatened in this year’s forecast. At only five kilometres, this event is essentially a sprint event, with competitors running nearly flat-out from beginning to end. To everybody’s surprise, 14 Sneakers registered for the event, it was sunny and only slightly windy for the start of the race. Every Sneaker who entered finished in the top 10 of their respective age groups.
Leading the Sneakers to the finish line was our coach, Susan Gordon, in a time of 20:53 for a first place of 20 in her 55-59 age group and 113th of 472 overall. Pat Peron was the second Sneaker to finish and one of only two Sneakers to complete all eight races. His time of 21:14 earned him an eighth place among 22 in his ultra-competitive 60-64 age group and 122nd overall.
Lise Fraser was the third Sneaker to cross the finish line in a personal best time of 21:22 for a first place of 24 in her 60-64 age group and 126th overall. By the end of the race, four Sneaker women finished in the top 10 of this age group.
The fourth Sneaker to cross the finish line was Donna de Roo, this being her first island race series competition. Donna is the 11-year-old daughter of triathlete Marcia Jansen. De Roo’s time of 21:37 earned her a third place of 16 runners in the under-15 age-group competition, 36th place of 221 women, 142nd (top third) overall and the moniker of “Rocket.”
Donna’s mother, Marcia Jansen, was the fifth Sneaker to finish, 25 seconds after her daughter, in a time of 22:02 for a fifth place of 22 in her 45-49 age group and 152nd place overall.
Duncan Elsey, finishing his first Island Race Series, was the sixth Sneaker to cross the finish line. His time of 22:46 earned him an eighth place of 16 in his age group and 175th overall.
Eric Ellis, still struggling with the aftermath of the flu, was the seventh Sneaker to finish in a personal worst time of 23:57, earning him a third place among the 14 in his 70-74 age group and 215th (top 50 per cent) overall.
Taking another break from her triathlon training, Marion Young was the eighth Sneaker to cross the finish line and second of four Sneakers in her 60-64 age group. Her time of 24:12 placed her fourth in her age group and 220th overall (top 50 per cent).
Anna Ford was the ninth Sneaker to finish and the third Sneaker in the women’s 60-64 age group where she earned seventh place. Her time of 25:33 was one minute and nine seconds better than her last year’s time on this course and recommends her for the informal competition for the most improved Sneaker of the year.
Nina de Roo was the 10th Sneaker to finish, her time of 26:03 earning her an eighth place in the under 15 age group and 280th place overall.
Thirteen seconds later, Peter Freeman in his first running competition since the devastating bike versus car accident that required the entire reconstruction of his hip, crossed the finish line, his time of 26:16 earning him a 10th place of 19 in his 65-69 age group, and 283rd overall.
Doreen Peron was the 12th Sneaker to finish and only the second Sneaker to finish all eight races, earning her the title of Sneaker stalwart. Her time of 27:02 was a personal best for her at this distance and a 46-second improvement over her previous best time. She was the fourth Sneaker and top 10 in her 60-64 age group and 307th overall.
Mary Freeman was the 13th Sneaker to finish, her time of 27:22 earning her seventh of 11 in her 65-69 age group and 313th overall.
Karen Clark was the 14th Sneaker to cross the finish line, her time of 31:46 earning her an eighth of 11 in the 65-69 age group and 398th overall.
The massive 211 points the Sneakers earned from these 14 persons in the top 10 of their respective age groups vaulted the team over the second-place team in the small team competition, but while it was more points than the first-place team earned in this event, it was not enough to return the Sneakers to first place.
As this was the final race of the series, the Vancouver Island Runners Association also awarded the series awards to those who completed five or more races based on converting finish times to an international scoring standard. In this competition, Fraser and Ellis won first places in their respective age groups for the series. Young won a fifth place in her age group, while Pat Peron won sixth place in his age group, Elsey eighth place in his age group, Ford 11th place, and Doreen Peron 13th place in their shared age group.