School route added to Beaver Lake race

Saturday’s Victoria Run Series XC race at Beaver Lake is the first of the fall, last of the summer.

Second year Brittany King (Spectrum Community School) of the UVic Vikes.

Saturday’s Victoria Run Series cross country race at Beaver Lake is becoming the transition race as the first of the fall, last of the summer.

It’s the first race for high school students, as dozens are using the event to warmup for the delayed Lower Island high school cross country season.

The run starts at 1 p.m.

And it’s also the last race of the Q Victoria Run Series, which ran five track events in the summer and three cross country events in September.

With half the school season missed due to the strike, Glenlyon Norfolk School coach Paul O’Callaghan asked Victoria Run Series director Chris Kelsall, also a sales associate with the Saanich News, to add a 4-kilometre event on Saturday, in addition to the open age, 8-kilometre route.

The coaches from Reynolds and Mount Douglas said they’ll likely have athletes racing on Saturday but on their own accord.

“Basically we’re down to half a season and the kids need to get going before the league finally starts on Oct. 1 at Lambrick Park,” O’Callaghan said. “After that there’s only one more race, Oct. 9 at Beaver Lake, before the Island championships and provincials. We’ll have 10 students there. I do hope lots of kids come out, I’ve contacted other schools.”

“It’s a great opportunity to get a race in. We’ve been running, and doing some hard runs, which are sufficient,  but the season would be two races in by now, so we’re ready to go.”

The BC High School Cross Country Championship is local this year, Saturday Nov. 1 on the grounds of the Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre, where there will likely be a pre-championship meet on Tuesday, Oct. 14.

O’Callaghan is on the provincial high school cross country committee and put forward the idea of Juan de Fuca as a venue as he runs there himself.

This weekend’s race is $15 for adults and $10 for students.

“We’ve had a couple dozen register right away and the response is from schools all the way up the Malahat,” Kelsall said.

On Sunday the Victoria Run Series is hosting a season wrap up party in the Maple Room of the Sticky Wicket, 6:30 p.m. start with a $5 entry, awards and a silent auction. All proceeds from the auction benefit the Mustard Seed food bank.

Vikes XC ready to run

Spectrum secondary grad Brittany King returns for her second season with the UVic Vikes women’s cross-country team, which starts its season in Palo Alto, Calif, on Saturday at the Stanford Invitaional.

Fourth-year 800-meter experts Grace Annear and Rachel Francois lead the team.

The men’s XC team is also at Stanford this weekend, including fifth-year Reynolds grad John Pratt, a UVic law student.

reporter@saanichnews.com