Liz Brown, Chetwynd Echo Reporter
CHETWYND – Tumbler Ridge uber-runner Terri Gale finished the Chetwynd Half Marathon in a time of 1:50:25 to take the top spot in the Women’s Master division. Another Tumbler Ridge runner, Birgit Sharman followed Gale over the finish line with a time of 2:00:46, good enough for second place.
Gale has been running races all over this summer. Indeed, the day before, she ran to Berg Lake and back, a distance of 46 km, as part of the Mount Robson Marathon.
She placed third in her category in that race, with a time of 5:12:37.
Other runners from Tumbler Ridge at the Chetwynd Half Marathon included Michael Todd, who placed sixth in Senior Men, and a number of runners in the senior women’s category, including Vanessa Smith, who placed fourth, Annah Kanda, fifth, Mailynne Bradley, seventh, Stephanie Davies, ninth, and Lindsay Parker, who came in thirteenth.
The day of the marathon was quite warm, and the marathon has its largest turnout ever. More than 100 participants braved the 23 Degree Celsius weather as walkers, relay racers and individual racers.
Prag Patel, a first time racer born in India, said the heat did not slow him down.
“This was my first race in my whole life. No training. Nothing,” Patel said.
After a 17-day shift at Domino’s Pizza, Patel decided to spend his first day off not relaxing, but running a half marathon. Patel frequents the gym, but says he never actually trained for the 21-kilometre race.
“My maximum race is nine km. Just run around Chetwynd three days a week.”
He said Tyria Plamondon, race organizer encouraged him to enter and so he did.
He bought a new pair of Nike kicks and broke them in on Sunday’s race. Though a little sore after, he felt great he said.
“Oh my god I’m really happy with my time. Next time I will try more. I really, really enjoyed it. Next time I will try to enjoy each and every event.”
With a goal of finishing in two and half hours, Patel finished in just over two hours.
Originally from India, Patel moved from Vancouver to Chetwynd just over a year ago and says Chetwynd is the place to find work. “It’s hard to find work in Vancouver.”
Another Chetwynd local, Monique Winland placed third in the walking division.
Last year she placed second with the same time, but says heat played a factor as well as faster competition. Still she was excited with her performance she said.
Brothers, Brian and Blaine Ethier put their best foot forward finishing in first and second for the Master Men division, proving their early morning training up Ghost Mountain has its payoffs.
“We’re up there twice a week at 4:30am and longer runs during the week.”
The Ethier brothers have hit all the local competitions this season including the Mt. Baldy Mountain Bike Loopee, the PCS Senior Adventure Race, the Emperor’s Challenge, and Sunday’s half marathon. Next on their agenda is the Ghost Mountain Grunt, 15-kilometre race happening Sunday September 23. With no more races for a while, the two will continue enjoying morning runs together and keeping closer on each other’s heels.
“We’re always about five minutes apart with our times,” said Brian.
Participants included kids to seniors in relay teams, individual runners and individual walkers. The day provided a family-oriented atmosphere as parents cheered for their kids and vice versa.
The heat was a challenge for most racers who said they could have used a few more water stations. Apart from the heat, organizer Tyria Plamondon received positive comments about the race.
“The day went well. Volunteers were fantastic. No issues. It was hot out there. Comments have been positive.”
Plamondon says she will be spending the week evaluating the course and seeing what changes if any should be made for next year and she is open to comments.
Changes to the course occurred last minute from the Highway 29 route to Crowfeather Gas Station and instead participants raced along Highway 97S to Disher’s Corner and back to the Post Office. Circumstances required a course change, such as having shuttle participants back from Crowfeathers.
“It was easier to make a course change,” she said.
Here are the results of the top three in each category:
Finishing in the top three for the walking category were Karen Sutherland with a time of 2:5:45, Karen Ellingson at 2:59:52 and Monique Winland at 3:02:33.
The top three senior men in the individual running category were Kit Siquardson at 1:45:30, Aaron Harper at 1:50:27 and Mouritz Lundt at 1:50:54.
The top three senior women individual runners were Wendy Giesbrecht at 1:44:24, Elizabeth Brown at 1:54:47 and Suzanne Cavaleherto at 1:58:23.
The top three men in the master division were Brian Ethier, with a time of 1:37:22, Blaine Ethier at 1:44:38 and Glen Roszman at 1:46:16.
The top three master women runners were Terri Gale at 1:50:25, Birgit Sharman at 2:00:46 and Tamera Grolinsky at 2:17:29.
The top three elite master men were Phil Rempel at 1:46:57, Grant Spelsberg at 2:00:39 and Bob Andrews at 2:08:52.
The first and only in her category for elite master women was Daria Ganson at 2:48:42.
The top three places in the kids’ race went to Dylan Ethier at 15:59, Faith Smith at 16:23 and Hayden Smith at 16:44.
Relay teams participated in teams of two or four. Coming in first place out of 11 teams was duo, Pam Sawers and Chris Garwah with a time of 1:45:55.