The Pitt Meadows July 1 tradition of running the Canada Day eight-kilometre race passed a milestone on Wednesday – 10 years for the event organized by homegrown charity Athletes in Kind.
The organization had given $170,000 to the B.C. Childhood Cancer Parents Association coming into Wednesday’s race, and organizers predicted this year’s race would easily top $10,000 more.
The charity was started by Pitt Meadows resident Lori Muller, and the funds raised go to support families in need, who are burdened by the cancer treatment for a family member. The donations and money raised through the sale of AiK shirts and other running paraphernalia is matched by sponsors.
There is a competitive aspect to the race – a handful of runners who are up to a challenge, and race down the dikes and along the streets, turning the scenic course in a blur.
“We always get a handful of really fast people, and then everybody else,” said race organizer Eric Muller.
There was David Jackson and then everybody else this year.
The Abbotsford resident won race by more than five minutes, posting a near-record time of 25:37. That was just 11 seconds off the course record, which he would have stolen from his training partner Jeremiah Johnston.
The next fastest time was by Maple Ridge track and field middle distance runner Graeme Roberts, who trains with Golden Ears athletics and ran as an under-15 competitor. He won his age class and completed the course in a time off 30:45.
Third to finish was Soraiya Abdulla, of Maple Ridge, who was the fastest woman across the course for at least the third straight year. She was right behind Roberts in 30:51.
“Anything under 32 minutes is really moving,” said Erik Muller.
Maple Ridge’s Austin Rebalkin hit that standard with his time of 31:31, which won him the men’s 16-19 age class.
Andrew Senay was the fastest hometown boy, as the Pitt Meadows resident finished in 32:25 and took second in the men’s 20-29 category.
Maple Ridge’s Paul Craik, with a time of 32:45 was the fastest in the men’s 40-49 class.
Jamie Hennessey of Maple Ridge was the fastest in the female under-15 category, with a time of 33:21.
Megan Macdonald of Pitt Meadows won the female 20-29 category in 35:45.
Reid Muller, the race organizers’ son, was away for the event, along with reigning champion Nathan Wadhwani, as they were in Edmonton competing, hoping to qualify for a spot on Canada’s Junior Pan American Games team.
There were about 150 adult runners, and more in the children and family one and two kilometer runs.
Muller said the heat probably burned away a few registrations.
“Three days prior is when we usually get most of our registrations. As it got closer to the race, people were thinking ‘Whoa, can I handle that heat.’”
He said the overall times were brought up by the heat, which hit 31 C on Wednesday.