Masters on the move

Kelowna’s Malindi Elmore wins the Canadian half-marathon championship in Winnipeg on June 16.

Anyone who is close to my age knows what a senior moment is. You walk into a room to get something, and then can’t remember what it was.

Racers at Conquer the Lake Half Marathon in Lake Country on June 9, the sixth race in the Canadian Tire Series, had an entirely different senior moment.

Runners over 55 years old won both the men’s and woman’s titles. Kelowna’s David Guss (M55-59), who has been close to winning a series race several times, was first to cross the line in one hour 18 minutes 57 seconds, three minutes ahead of the second-place runner, Vancouver’s Chris West (M35-39).

In third place was Lake Country runner Morris Kopola (M35-39).

Kelowna’s Queen of the Roads, Cindy Rhodes (F60-64), also showed her heels to the younger runners. Her time of 1:40:08 was over two minutes quicker than the second-place woman, Megan Crowell (F20-24) from Edmonton. Laurelee Nelson (F65-59), Cindy’s sister, took third place eight seconds back.

Several local runners had excellent results: Natasza Zurek (1. F40-44; 4th female overall, Penticton), Sally Heinrick (1. F55-59, 5th, Kelowna), Sergio Pio (1. M50-54, 6th, Penticton), Roly Muller (1. M65-69, 12th, Kelowna). Full results can be found at


Kelowna’s Malindi Elmore is well known to anyone in the Okanagan who has any interest in running.

She ran for Canada in the Pan American and Olympic Games. Her distances back then were the 800 and 1,500 meters. Now, at age 39 and after two babies, she has discovered that longer distances are where she shines. And does she ever shine.

It was only a few months ago that I wrote about her marathon debut in Houston where her 2:32 time was one of the fastest debut marathons ever run by a Canadian woman. On May 25, Elmore finished second in the Canadian 10K championships.

On June 16, she raced in Winnipeg at the Canadian half-marathon championship.

She had a great race there. Her time of 1:11:06 blew away the field and was less than one minute off the Canadian record.

Brad Bickley is another runner having a great year. Bickley was mainly a track runner, specializing, like Elmore, in the shorter distances.

Since moving to Kelowna four years ago, he has been running a lot of road races and has done well.

Recently, he decided to return to his first love, the track, and he entered the Pacific Distance Carnival 1,500 in Vancouver.

This is an important track meet with races of 1500, 5000 and 10,000 meters. The 10,000 was, this year, also the Canadian championship.

Bickley entered the 1,500, the metric mile. I watched the race on YouTube and it was a classic. Much to the surprise of the announcers, Bickley worked his way into second and then, with less than 200 meters to go, he launched a devastating finishing kick and won comfortably. He credits his performance to finally being able to figure out how to combine work, family and running.


I have written previously about Leah Goldstein. She is the incredible Vernon woman whose career is so interesting that a movie is being made about it.

She was born in Canada, but moved to Israel, her ancestral home, when she was a young woman.

Now 50, she was previously a world kick-boxing champion, and was one of only two women to complete the notoriously gruelling Course Madaseem, a form of Israeli commando training.

In 1996, on a visit back to Canada, Goldstein met a coach from Canada’s national development team for road racing. It was not long before she was on the path to a pro cycling career.

She had an amazing cycling career, winning many major races until a nearly fatal crash in 1995.

She was told her cycling career was over, but, as usual, she showed that nothing could stop her, and in 1996 had her best year ever with 12 major victories.

Another bad crash in 2010 finally ended her pro cycling career, but then she started getting serious about ultra-distance cycling. In 2011, Goldstein completed the infamous Race Across America.

Dubbed “the World’s Toughest Bicycle Race,” the formidable 3,000 mile (5,000 km) course took her from Oceanside, Calif., to Annapolis, Md.

The race travels through 12 states, has 175,000 feet (55,000 m) of climbing, is considerably longer than the Tour De France, and is done virtually non-stop, with most competitors averaging less than two hours sleep per day. Almost half of the solo riders typically never finish the race, but Goldstein won best overall female, best in age group, Queen of the Mountains, Queen of the Prairies and rookie of the year. At this moment, she is again taking on this formidable race. As of this writing, she is the second place woman, close behind the leader, with about 370 miles (600 km) to go.


The Midsummer 8K takes place July 14. A new race, the Fast Days Of Summer 5K, will go on July 28. This race will be run on a flat, fast 5K course that has been certified for accuracy, so it’s a good one to go to and try for a personal best.

The Interior’s largest cycling race, the Axel Merckx Gran Fondo, will be held in Penticton on July 14. And the fifth annual Race from Kelowna to the Village at Big White takes place on July 21.

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