MAPLE RIDGE — The camera-toting Lara Lee, wearing a bright bee costume and mega-watt smile, buzzed by the timer’s table Sunday morning in pursuit of the perfect picture. Another goddess, who we’ll call Lindsey Willis, raced with a handful of ballons to the starting line to add extra colour to a bare portion of 256th Street.A young lad with a Batboy face-painting shouted for his dad to beat all the “slow people,” while a fun bunch of women, on a cool team named Stronger Than Yesterday, pumped up their friends and anyone within earshot. The Busy Bees did much the same.Elena Villacis, a local Zumba instructor with a zest for life, guided people of all ages through a lively pre-race warmup, including Jack, the Vancouver Giants’ mascot, who was a huge hit with the kids and Western Hockey League fans.There was a great anthem singer, an awesome DJ, pre- and post-race massages, all kinds of food and pizza, photo-op frames and plenty of emotion and goodwill.
Addylin Tymchyshyn makes her way to the Vistas 5K finish line on Sunday morning after a young girl went on the race course to clap and cheer for her. (Gord Kurenoff photo)
The 22nd annual Vistas Run/Walk, which started at Webster’s Corner Elementary and combined roads with Kanaka Creek Regional Park awesome trails, was another huge success on a day when there was no shortage of major running events in the Lower Mainland.Tina-Louise Harris was one of the many feel-good stories on this sunny morning. Recovering from a recent car accident in Coquitlam, the talented photographer/runner won the women’s 5K event in 25:34, almost four minutes ahead of the next finisher. Santi Ainslie won the men’s 5K in 21 minutes. Deborah Eakhouse claimed the women’s 10K title in 46:03, while Kevin Kontoukas took the men’s 10K title in 41:18.• FOR FULL RESULTS FROM SUNDAY, click HERE• FOR GORD’S PHOTO RECAP, click HERECarol Shaw, running in the women’s 70-99 category, won her 5K age group in 45:15. Addylin Tymchyshyn was a few minutes behind her, but perhaps had the bigger smile in the home stretch as a young girl stepped out on the course to clap for her.“Every Monday we go for a 5K run. Not fast, not slow. We figure stuff out, but more importantly we keep moving,” said Shaw after her win. “This is a great event. I never miss it.”
The Stronger Than Yesterday team brought their enthusiasm to Sunday’s 22nd annual Vistas Run/Walk in Kanaka Creek Regional Park. (Gord Kurenoff photo)
Keeping moving. Not giving up. Being unbreakable. That kind of sums up what Ridge Meadows Hospice Society is all about, too. The society hosts the annual run and it’s one of their major fundraisers.On one of the RMHS banners near the finish line is the tagline: “Grief has no time line.”Willis, the new executive director of the society, explained: “The Vistas Run is our single largest fundraiser. Proceeds provide emotional, compassionate and companion support for individuals with a life-limiting illness or those who are coping with the death of a loved one.”Maple Ridge is a better place because of the society and its paid and voulunteer people. Sunday’s run was a way for the community to give back, and say thanks — some while spitting pizza crumbs out of their mouths!
The good thing about next month’s Paavo Nurmi Run in Burnaby is you don’t have to carry your wife, unless you cross the street and attend the popular Scandavian Midsummer Festival!
Celebrating Finn-ish lines in BurnabyA chipper colleague at The Vancouver Sun/Province, we’ll call him Frank Myrskog to protect the innocent, asked if I’ve heard of the “very popular wife carrying contest” in Burnaby.Before answering I sniffed Frank’s coffee to ensure it wasn’t spiked. Also checked for hidden microphones. After some banter it turns out there’s such a thing at the annual Scandinavian Midsummer Festival in Burnaby (June 22-23), but that’s not what Frank wanted to discuss on this day of pressing deadlines.No, the purpose of our meeting of the minds (shortest brainstorming session ever!) was the annual Paavo Nurmi Run at Burnaby Lake, set for Saturday, June 22 at 9 a.m. The growing event is named after the nine-time Olympic gold runner, the Flying Finn considered one of the greatest of all time.New race director Cathy Stenfors is hoping to boost this year’s number of entries and if Frank says it’s a ton of fun for families, it has to be true! (Kids 12 and under get to run free.)The 3K, 5K and 10K races, hosted by the Vancouver Finlandia Club, will be held on the Burnaby Lake Park trails, which is always a great place to run or walk. The entry fee for the run includes a souvenir T-shirt and free entry to the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival, where your wife can get literally carried away.For more info on this fun run, or to sign up click HERE.
This cute carton of Sour Grapes poured their souls into their soles at last year’s Campbell Valley Wine Run in South Langley. This year’s event is scheduled for Sept. 22. (Gord Kurenoff photo)
15K? Well, Wine Not?Like combining wine with running? Wine with walking? Wine with costumes? Just wine? Then mark Sunday, Sept. 22 on your calendar.The fifth annual Campbell Valley Wine Run that raises funds and awareness for Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities — a superb not-for-profit therapeutic riding facility in Langley for individuals of all ages with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities — is one of those can’t-miss events you have to do at least three times!The 5K or 15K events, unlike most weekend races this jogger/blogger attends, has no official timing clock — and nobody cares! It’s designed to have fun interaction at the winery “pit stops” and for some big laughs along the scenic course. At one checkpoint last year they were serving up Timbits and unlimited massages — but only if you did the 15K route twice.Your shuffling scribe dressed as Batman last year and somehow completed the 15K — don’t want to say I got carried away at the “wine sampling pit stops,” but at the 12K mark I agreed to do my first half-marathon in 35 years. At 14K I considered a triathlon and helping with dishes! (Robin drove home!)I’m returning for more wine … I mean to run (wink, wink) this September! For a fun recap (and photos) from last year’s event, click HERE.
Holy cow, Liam Watson ran a full marathon dressed in this bright costume when he tackled MEC’s TransCanada Trail event on April 28. (Gord Kurenoff photo)
MEC ready to run RichmondRace No. 4 in the popular 2019 MEC Road Race Series goes Sunday, June 9 at Garry Point Park in Richmond, offering 5K, 10K and half-marathon distances.Kaitlyn Rowsom, MEC’s awesome Regional Community Connector, just finished staging the popular Valley Century Ride and is excited about the upcoming Richmond event. To enter or for more info click HERE.“Runners like the Richmond races because they’re flat and fast. You always see a lot of PBs and strong performances,” said Rowsom, whose fifth stop in the series is also back at Garry Point Park on Sunday, Sept. 29.MEC did a superb job with its third race in this series — the TransCanada Trail Run (marathon, half, 10K and 5K) which attracted 550-plus runners on April 28 in Pitt Meadows/Fort Langley.One of the highlights was Liam Watson hoofing it from Fort Langley to Pitt Meadows and back in a cow costume. You could say he was the master of the marathon pasture. Or that he ran past-your-eyes (pasturized!). Have a “beef” with me milking those cow puns or they put you in a bad mooood, let me know!
Shelley Hatfield, right, of Over The Top Fitness in Aldergrove, led the inaugural Donut Dash warm-up in Chilliwack last year. (Gord Kurenoff photo)
What are you doughing in August?Like doughnuts and running? Like doughnuts without the running? Mark Saturday, Aug. 10 on your calendar.The second annual Chillwack Fair 8K Donut Dash — which also features a 2K walk — will be hosted by Try Events.Last year’s inaugural event was impacted by smoke from the B.C. wildfires, but still attracted more than 100 competitors who loved the fun medals, fair attractions and the sweet doughnuts.For more info or to register click HERE.
Katherine Moore of Vancouver was all smiles after finishing the Scotiabank Half Marathon last June in 1:22:56, which was No. 1 in the female 40-44 category. (Gord Kurenoff photo)
Banking on Beeman’s pace debutI do not know Amy Beeman. She does not know me. The Vancouver woman’s life has been great up until now with that arrangement, but it’s about to change a bit!The fit mother of eight-year-old twins, who has crushed 25 marathons but has never paced a race before, will make her debut with the Saucony Pacer Team and will look after the two-hour, 30-minute crowd at the annual Vancouver Scotiabank Half Marathon, which goes Sunday, June 23, starting at 7:30 a.m.Health permitting, that’s the group I’ll be trying to keep up with in only my second 21.1K race in 35 years, the first happening this past February (RunVan’s First Half Half) on the coldest winter day Vancouver has had in recent memory. Up until this year I’ve always done the Scotiabank 5K race as I’ve never been much of a hot weather runner!“It will be a pretty amazing feeling to get some runners across the finish line,” said Beeman, who shared that sentiment before hearing two hours and 30 minutes of my jokes! Would could go wrong next month?For more info on this popular event, or to sign up, click HERE.
Donald Trump, who called himself the King of New York before becoming U.S. president, says he’s the healthiest guy alive for his age. Will I have to run against perfect specimens like him this week?
Live from New York … this will be huge!Along with the big Farrah Fawcett, Jaws and Rocky posters hanging on my bedroom wall as a naive kid growing up in the Treasure Chest City of the West (hello Yorkton, Sask.!) was a less famous — but equally impressive — picture of a million eager eyeballs waiting for the start of the fabled New York Marathon.
Gord Kurenoff finished second in his age category at Sunday’s 5K Vistas Run. Will he be able to keep up to the old guys in NYC?
Back when I was fit and ran a ton (long before smartphones, the internet and Game of Thrones addicts) I imagined being a participant in the world’s largest marathon and experiencing the sights and smells of the Big Apple. Never made it to the City That Never Sleeps despite a ton of travel adventures around the world. Well, that all changes later this week.As part of a wedding anniversary/birthday gift, the wife and I are Manhattan-bound Thursday to sightsee, eat, drink, dance, shop, ride The Beast — and run.I’ll be lacing up Saturday morning (June 1) for the 6K YAI Central Park Challenge — a popular NYC fundraiser to celebrate people with intellectual and developmental disabilities — and the following morning yours truly will tackle the more competitive New York Road Runners’ sold-out 8K Nutella Cafe Italy Run, also in massive Central Park.Can’t wait for that bucket-list adventure in a city where people are so busy they don’t have time to say full words for yooz!FINISH LINES: There are several superb Canada Day runs in the Lower Mainland this year, including the colourful Semiahmoo First Nation 5K and 10K in White Rock, and Wesbrook Village’s Run Canada Day 10K, 5K and Seniors Walk at UBC, where I’ll be shuffling with my red and white flag this year. … A few other summer highlights include this Saturday‘s West Van Run Summer 5K and 1K, PEN RUN’s Fort Langley Half Marathon and 5K on Sunday, July 14, the VFAC Summerfast 10K at Stanley Park on Saturday, July 20 and Squamish Days 8K on Sunday, Aug. 4 and the Revel Chilliwack Marathon and Half-Marathon on Saturday, Aug. 17.Gotta run …firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter.com/ohgord