By Jeff Morris
They say that rain, snow, sleet and hail won’t stop the mail from being delivered.
And, evidently, it won’t stop runners from doing what they love to do.
The 38th annual Richmond Road Race took part in the freezing rain, slush and snow Sunday. The event was once again a sell out, with runners coming from all over the region to take part in the event. Organizers and volunteers inside South Carleton High School worked to provide comforts for the runners to keep them nourished, hydrated, and most importantly, warm.
“The weather in this race is always something we have to keep an eye on,” said Ian Fraser of Run Ottawa. “Some years we have extreme cold, this year we had freezing rain and snow. In some of the summer races, there is extreme heat and humidity.”
Fraser said that despite the icy weather and freezing rain, postponing the race was not a serious consideration.
“One of the challenges with a winter race is to make sure all of the runners give themselves enough time to get here,” Fraser said. “The roads were bad so it took runners a little longer to get here and park and to get warmed up.”
The conditions were not ideal – Fraser likened running in the soft snow and slush to ‘running on the beach’.
“The one thing that runners see in this race is that their times are not as good as they would like to see,” Fraser said. “But they are not running in ideal conditions.”
Fraser added that the event is continually growing in popularity as, locally, it is the first race of the year.
“We are at capacity,” he said. “We were sold out again this year, and with the facilities at the high school, we can’t accommodate any more runners. We would love to grow, but we are maxed out, and we have been for the past few years.”
The 10km race was won by Brendan Howard, who crossed the line in 38 minutes and 37.3 seconds, two minutes ahead of his closest competitor. He was running in the Male 20-29 category. Carrington Pomeroy, also in the M20-29 category, was second with a time of 40:37.6. Marco Cote was third, and first in the M40-49 category in 40:49.2. Sean McCullough was fourth and first in the M30-39 category in 41:37.6. Rick Hellard, who finished 11th overall, was best in the M50-59 category in 44:41.5 while Richard Sevigny, 16th overall, won the M60-69 category in 46:23.5. Ben-Zion Caspi, who finished 92nd overall, won the M70-79 category in 1:00:09.5.
The first female to cross the finish line was Leslie Sanderson, 24th overall. She also won the F50-59 division in 48:10.2. Stephanie Gordon, who won the F40-49 division, was right behind her in 48:15.8. Kristel Gauthier topped the F30-39 division in 52:00.2 while Mia Viau won the F20-29 division in 56:10.5. Lucie Boudreau won the F60-69 division in 58:58.0. Merv Hodgson was 78th overall and won the M80 and over division.
A total of 219 runners took part in the 10k race.
In the 5k race, Robin Bruneel was first to cross the finish line, winning the M30-39 division in 20:57.2. Connor McFayden was second, winning the M20-29 division in 21:09.3. Matthew Savard was third and won the M40-49 division in 21:42.0. Evan Raz was fourth, winning the M15-19 category in 21:54.1. Lukas Raz was fifth in 22:14.1 to win the M14 and under division. Steve Gamble was sixth, winning the M50-59 division in 23:43.7. Rick Royce, who was 12th overall, was first in the M60-69 division. Douglas McGinn was 45th overall and won the M70-79 division.
Lana Saunders, who finished eighth overall, was the first woman to cross the line, winning the F40-49 division in 23:57.7. Alexandra Williams won the F30-39 division, finishing 13th overall in 24:20.1. Sophie Saunders-Lambert was 21st overall and won the F14 and under division, while Heather Lewis was 22nd overall and won the F50-59 division. Lydia Butler was 36th overall, winning the F60-69 division. Janet White was 57th overall and won the F70-79 division, while Emily Van Koppen won the F20-29 division and finished 59th overall. Claire Collis won the F80 and over division.
A total of 171 runners competed in the 5k race.