ORCA was back at it again on January 22nd with the second of eight races in the island’s own Vancouver Island Race Series, the Cobble Hill 10k. The conditions could not have been better with the sun peeking through the trees onto 575 enthusiastic racers on a brisk winter morning.
This year was the debut of a new course that removed three hills from the route and resulted in some speedy times. The top finisher came in with a breezy 30:47 gun time and I swear I could see him just ahead of me… by approximately 14 minutes!
With a faster course and a little bit of race day adrenaline, there were personal bests abound. I came in with a 43:56 chip time resulting in my fastest 10k ever, so you’ll get no complaints from me! We had a bigger group of teammates making their way down from Parksville and Qualicum this time around and also saw amazing finishes from Michael Gunther, Chris Greenway, Dianne Darte, and Carol Thorburn. In fact, Chris even earned his first ever VI Race Series medal with a stellar third place finish in his age category.
If you’re a regular runner who has ever been involved in either racing or organized group running, you’re no stranger to the camaraderie and community it creates. I mentioned this in my last blog for the Harriers Pioneer 8k, but there’s no doubt the Vancouver Island Race Series showcases the best of it. After running the series in 2022, I made many friends from all over the island and running into them this year has reinforced to me how special the running community is. Smiling faces, cheers from friends when you pass them on the course, and high fives as we all celebrate during the post-race festivities are things that truly make this series special and uniquely Vancouver Island.
There’s always room for more runners both in the series and with ORCA. If you’re on the fence about starting your own running journey, consider taking a look at the Oceanside Learn to Run program taking off on Feb 2 and once you’re confident enough we’d love to see you join us on a Saturday run too. The first step is often the most difficult, but you’ve got a huge cheering section with the welcoming team at ORCA. See you on the road!