In my last column I wrote about how 55-year-old David Guss had bested all the younger runners to win the Conquer The Lake Half Marathon in Lake Country. Last weekend, at Kelowna’s Jack Brow track meet, he again showed us what an amazing runner he is by setting new Canadian age group records in the 1500 and the 5000-metre track events.
He ran the 1500 in 4:25.70, taking almost a full second off the previous record that was set in 2009. He did even better in the 5000, breaking the tape in 16:30.97, over six seconds faster than the previous record set in 2016.
The popular Peachland Beach Run took place on Canada Day and was, as usual, a great success. Almost 200 runners entered either the 10K or the 5K run. The 10K event was won by Penticton triathlete Jeff Symonds (M30-39). In second place was Peachland’s Cameron Berlie (M20-29), and in third place overall, and first female, was Peachland’s Brittany Webster (F30-39). Brittany is an exceptional athlete who has competed for Canada at the Olympic games in cross-country skiing. She is presently studying human kinetics at UBC Okanagan and is a member of the UBCO Heat running team.
The 5K run was won by Calgary runner Joseph March (M30-39) just ahead of Peachland’s Doug Lawrence (M50-59). Well-known runner, and cancer specialist at KGH, Delilah Topic (F40-49) was fouth overall and the first woman. It was a great run for her, as injuries have kept her away from serious racing for quite a while. As it was a race, of course my friend Janice “The Racer” Bradshaw, from West Kelowna, was there. She finished second in her F50-59 class, behind Betty Fay of Peachland. It was a surprise to see one of my old running friends at the race. Shawn Baenziger took a couple of years off from competitive running but it hasn’t slowed him down as he won the M70-plus class.
Penticton pro triathlete Jen Annett travelled to Europe, for her first time ever, to race in the Ironman European Championships. The race was held in Frankfurt Germany, where, like most of Europe, Germany is suffering through an intense heat wave with temperatures in the mid to high 30s. The heat affected all the competitors but it took an especially bad toll on Jen during her 160K bike ride. Cycling is her strongest part of the Ironman. She holds the record for the fastest ride by a woman in any Ironman. As she explains: “I was able to hold onto some good feet (draft behind faster swimmers) for the first three kilometres of the swim, but getting into the bike, I was just not ‘comfortable.’
I couldn’t relax and get into a groove and by 70-80 kilometres, my back seized and my legs were burning. I toughed it out but thoughts of pulling out of the race were quite real. After pulling over and stretching on the road, I was able to pull it together enough to get to the run. Super disappointed in my bike though.”
Despite her problems, she had the third fastest woman’s bike time and the second quickest run, finishing up on the podium in third place.
Quebec was the centre of the Canadian cycling world last week as a major pro-cycling race, the Tour De Beauce, and the Canadian National Road Cycling Championships were both held in the Beauce region of Quebec. Kelowna riders Baili Guidi and Jordan Cheyne competed in both events. For Baili, the Tour De Beauce was mainly an experience as he is still too young to be competitive against the top professionals. Jordan sent me the following regarding the races there: “Beauce ended up in being a unique and proud achievement for me. I worked closely with Cycling BC and the TAG U23 Development team to put together a provincial team for the race and give young riders like Baili Guidi and others a chance to race at one of the best races in North America. Personally, I overcame illness in the first three stages to grab a second place in the Stage 4 Quebec City Criterium, while the two of us lapped the field. The team ended up finishing five of seven riders, putting a rider in the top 10 overall and besting some professional teams in the team classification. It was a really rewarding experience for me in a mentor role, and the younger riders rode above expectations in a big way.
“Nationals was pretty good but not as interesting. I placed sixth in the TT, but just four seconds out of fourth. The road race was very tactical, and as a small three-man Elevate KHS squad we rode a good team race putting James Picolli in fifth and myself in 25th.”
Baili Guidi and another young Kelowna rider, Jacob Rubuliak, also competed at the nationals. Baili had a good start, finishing 18th in the men’s under-23 division in the time trial. A great result considering that, at 18, he was possibly the youngest rider in the race. Unfortunately, the next event, the road race was a disaster for him. As he explains: “This morning I hopped on the bike and was feeling the best I’ve felt all month. Around three hours in, I was caught up in a hard crash, got up as quickly as possible but knew something was wrong right away, tried to keep riding but my bike was broken. Got some medical attention and took a ride in the ambulance to the hospital and found out I have the classic bike racer injury of the broken collarbone. Disappointed to have this happen, but that’s part of this wild sport we love. And now it’s time to heal up and come back stronger.”
Jacob Rubuliak had better luck in his Junior Men’s events. He won the time trial, and was fourth in the road race. Congratulations to our newest Canadian champion!
Richard Loney, another Kelowna cyclist coached by Jordan Cheyne, had great results at the Canadian Masters Championships in June. Richard took the bronze medal in both the road race and the criterium in his 50-59 age class.
The final two races in the Canadian Tire series will be in Kelowna.
The Midsummer 8K, one of the best attended races in the series, takes place on July 14. A new race in the series, 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 Interiors largest cycling race, the Axel Merckx Gran Fondo will be held in Penticton on July 14.
And the 5th annual Race from Kelowna to the Village at Big White takes place on July 21.