Edge to Edge Half Marathoners burst over start line on Sunday morning, Oct. 16, in front of the Ucluelet Community Hall. (Melissa Renwick photo)

Edge to Edge Half Marathoners burst over start line on Sunday morning, Oct. 16, in front of the Ucluelet Community Hall. (Melissa Renwick photo)

Ucluelet’s Edge to Edge Half Marathon and 10km makes stellar return

650 runners took to the Wild Pacific Trail on Sunday, Oct. 16

Ucluelet’s Edge to Edge Half Marathon and 10 km made a stellar return on Sunday, Oct. 16 after being dormant for the past two years.

With 650 runners entering the event, race director Seika Anderson says the 2022 Edge to Edge was the biggest it’s ever been as the Half Marathon.

“The race used to start at the Village Green and this year we switched the start and finish line to the community centre, which was wonderful because we had everything under one roof and our athletes had the opportunity to see our community centre. I had many compliments on what a gorgeous community centre we have,” said Anderson, noting that it also gave the Chamber of Commerce the opportunity to host an indoor market place at the same time.

Runners from all over Vancouver Island and B.C. laced up for Sunday’s races with the most athletes, 74 total, coming from Ucluelet. There were also competitors from Yukon, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, Texas, Washington and even Hawaii, Germany and England stoked to take on the notoriously challenging route that features sections of Ucluelet’s famous Wild Pacific Trail.

In the Half Marathon, Cameron Kroeker of Kelowna crossed the finish line at 1:37:46 to claim the top overall spot and Rachelle Etheridge of Campbell River cruised her way to the top female spot at 1:41:55.

“There were definitely a lot of hills, but it was nice trail running. The Lighthouse Loop and coming back into the forested area was a lot of fun and just good trail running. It was nice. Given all the elevation, I was pretty happy with my time. I was expecting to be a little bit faster if it was a bit of a flatter course, but there was more elevation than expected,” said Kroeker, 28, noting that this was his first time visiting Ucluelet.

Courtenay super couple Justin Verburg and Janelle Hanna nabbed the 10 km titles with times of 43:29 and 47:39. The 27-year-olds told the Westerly they met while running in college. This was their first-time running the Edge to Edge.

“It was a good mix of trail and road running,” said Verburg.

“I was a bit worried about the hills…It rolls so you get the downhills as well. They weren’t as bad as I felt like when we were walking the trail the night before. We were both happy with the times,” said Hanna.

Ucluelet’s own Daniel Rodriguez, 40, placed second overall in the 10 km at 48:45. He also won the men’s 37 to 45 category, sharing the podium with fellow locals Sheldon Vos and Jordy Evans.

“Knowing the corners on the Lighthouse Loop helped. It’s probably the most challenging part of the route and it definitely gave me hometown advantage,” said Rodriguez. His wife, Ucluelet realtor Laura Noges, cruised to first place in the female 37 to 45 category of the 10 km race. Rodriguez said it was her first race ever.

“She’s stoked. She did a training plan and stuck to it. You could really see improvement week after week,” he said.

After the “2019 monsoon” that athletes had to endure, Anderson said the weather for race day was nice and sunny with a coastal breeze offering runners cooling relief.

“A huge thank you to all the sponsors and volunteers. We couldn’t do it without the 60 volunteers all 40 local businesses that sponsored the event,” said Anderson.

The 2023 Edge to Edge Half Marathon and 10 km are slated for Oct. 15. It is still unclear as to whether or not the Full Marathon will be included on the schedule of race events.

“I’m looking forward to next year, and if there is a marathon, I’d sign up,” said Rodriguez.



nora.omalley@westerlynews.ca

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