Fresh Air Midsummer 8k
Seen here are two members of Team Leonard, a four member racing team coached by Diane Leonard. These are just a few of the younger runners (and the future of the Kelowna Running Club) who participated in the Strong Kids portion of the Fresh Air Midsummer 8k race on Sunday, July 5, 2015. The weather was great, the course fast and all appeared to have a great time. There were 174 runners completing the 8 kilometer race. Many thanks to RJ Dueck for organizing such a successful race.
The top male finisher was Aaron Heidt, of Vernon, and the top female finisher was Rachael Gardner, of Vancouver.
Several Kelowna runners finished first in their age group. The female winners were Kaiya MacLeod - female under 16, Danielle Friesen - female 40 to 44, Rosalie Swart - female 45 to 49, Sally Heinrick - female 50 to 54, Cindy Rhodes - female 55 to 59, Lynn Sparling - female 60 to 64, Astrid Varga - female 65 to 69, Diane Leonard - female 70 to 74 and Liz Borrett - female 75 to 79. Just goes to show you - in the heart of the Central Okanagan, the less young our ladies get, the better they become!
The male winners from Kelowna were Reid Herron - male under 16, Alex Hanson - male 20 to 29, Benjamin Achtem - male 40 to 44, Kris Malczynski - male 55 to 59 and Roly Muller - male 60 to 64.
In the ever popular age graded results our Kelowna ladies swept the top 4 positions. First to fourth were Liz Borrett, Cindy Rhodes, Diane Leonard and Astrid Varga. Two Kelowna men finished second and third in this category, namely Roly Muller and Kris Malczynski.
With two races remaining in the Interior Running Association road racing series, our own Liz Borrett has already wrapped up first place honours in the annual age graded competition for the ladies and Roly Muller is charging hard for the men. Congratulations.
The next race is the Kamploops Half Marathon on July 26, 2015. Except for one overpass the course is relatively flat. An early start beats the heat.
If you are new to road running in and around Kelowna, you may be asking yourself where is a good place to run. While many great routes are run on our early Saturday morning club runs, here are a number of suggestions for the rest of the week. This list is by no means exhaustive, but do represent a good sampling of great places to run. These suggestions encompass routes that have great scenery and/or limited vehicle traffic. Not all of the roads have much of a shoulder so, as always, run facing traffic and stay alert.
The most popular running route is the Mission Park Greenway. This gravel packed route follows the Mission Creek from Lakeshore Road upstream 16 kilometers. It is a gentle rise, at least for the first 12 kilometers. The last 4 kilometers encompass some stairs. If looking for a scenic run that is slightly longer than 6 kilometers, park in the lot along the creek at the end of Hollywood Road South and run upstream to the stairs and back. Gorgeous and peaceful.
A route that encompasses running and sightseeing is the Kettle Valley Railway. To commence your run at the start of the railway, drive up KLO to McCulloch and follow McCulloch out of the city over KLO Creek and watch for signs directing you to Kettle Valley Railway. This is very flat, over gravel packed road and wooden train trestles. You even get to run through a couple of tunnels and the view back towards Kelowna is fantastic.
Another great route is along Valley Road in the Glenmore district. The lower portion of Valley Road has a separate running/biking path and most of the remaining suggested route has a bike path along the shoulder of the road. Follow Valley Road up from Summit Drive to Curtis, right on Curtis to Sexsmith, left on Sexsmith to Mail, then right on Longhill back to Valley and left back to the beginning. This would be approximately 11 kilometers. To shorten the run to about 8 kilometers, park at one of the strip malls on Kane and run to Valley and turn left and use the previous directions. For the most part the hills on this route are moderate, although the run down Longhill is a little longer and steeper.
For a run through the orchards of South East Kelowna, park at the junction of KLO, McCulloch and East Kelowna Road. Run down East Kelowna Road to Reid, then up Reid to Pooley, left on Pooley to Bemrose, up to Reekie and then straight down Reekie through to and down McCulloch back to the start. There are limited shoulders on the road, but traffic is light, except on McCulloch, where there is a bike path. There is a short, steep uphill on Reid and the last part of the run down McCulloch is a steep downhill. Distance is just under 7 kilometers.
There are a few routes out of City Park in downtown Kelowna. There is parking at City Park (free on weekends and holidays). Some runners turn right at the lake and run along the lake front past the Kelowna Yacht Club, along the boardwalk through the Rotary Marshes to Sunset Drive. A return from here would result in a 4 kilometer run. To extend that run to over 6.5 kilometers, turn left on Sunset to Manhatten, right on Manhatten to Ellis and left on Ellis to the entrance to Knox Mountain Park.
Others turn left at the lake in City Park, pass under the highway, run up Lake to Abbott and follow Abbott. At the end of Abbott you can turn right on Cedar to Walnut, follow Walnut to Watt and run to the popular Gyro Park. A turn around part way through Gyro Park will result in an 8 kilometer run. A good portion of Abbott has a separate running/biking path and the rest of Abbott has a bike path. Very flat and limited traffic.
Finally, for a run in West Kelowna start at the junction of Highway 97 and Campbell Road and follow Campbell Road to Bendick. The hills are moderate, the traffic light and there is a bike path on Campbell Road. If you turn around at the end of Bendick, the total run would be just under 6 kilometers. Continuing past Bendick on the trail along a lake to the parking lot would extend this to just over 8 kilometers. Continuing beyond the parking lot to Sunnyside would extend the run to almost 10 kilometers.
If you are interested in trail running you can obtain trail bike maps from Fresh Air Experience/Concepts at either one of their Kelowna locations. Just watch out for the bikes!
On Sunday, September 20, 2015, the Fresh Air Hard Knox race will be held at Knox Mountain. This Interior Running Association race has historically been known as Peak to Beak 18 k. This year it will be approximately 16 kilometers, centered around Knox Mountain. The exact route (and therefore distance) is still pending discussions with the City of Kelowna. More details to follow.
B.C. Athletics recently awarded the Kelowna Running Club the provincial championship for the 8k distance for 2016 and 2017. This will be the Fresh Air Midsummer 8k, to be held in early July each year. This championship race is guaranteed to attract several elite runners.