Brent Hughes takes first in the 10k. James Snell/The Free Press

Fernie Half Marathon sprints into greatness

The Fernie Half Marathon, 3-Runner Relay and 10k kicked off under blue sky, fall colours and snowy peaks on Sunday, October 6 at the Annex Park. The race is one of Fernie’s legendary community building events that is cantilevered by the unwavering support of volunteers, staff, sponsors and contestants. The all trail course ran along the Elk River and community trail system. Most of the funds raised go to the Fernie Library.

Event organizer Rox Djonlich said there were approximately 425 participants.

“This year has been easier because this is my third year doing it,” she said. “Every year, I get more and more people registering for this race. It’s been so busy this year. We actually sold out of the 10k.

Djonlich was happy with the beautiful weather.

“More people came out,” she explained. “And I have wonderful volunteers helping me. It’s such a fun event. This is the 19th year, so next year will be the 20th anniversary. Most of the funds go to the Fernie Public Library and whatever we have left goes to children’s programing in the community.”

Organizing the event is rewarding for Djonlich.

“I like setting things up for people to do something active,” she said. “And they are so excited to do it. People are happy, so we’ll see at the finish what happens. I think they’ll be alright.”

Seasoned athlete Kevin Schlauch entered the race to celebrate his friend, Brendan’s, birthday.

“What better way to celebrate a birthday than to punish yourself for 21.1 kilometers,” he said.

“I just hope he survives it so we can have a birthday again next year.”

Schlauch said that he runs all year long.

“I run a bunch of marathons and ultra-marathons throughout the year,” he explained. “This is kind of the winding down season, so the half marathon fits in nice.”

Sparwood resident Eve Valle said that she wanted to run the 10k without stopping.

“I’m going to enjoy my first race day here in Fernie,” she said. “I haven’t been preparing at, [but] it’s a gorgeous morning and it’s a perfect day for a run, actually.”

Valle said that she has the support of her family.

“My dad knows I’m here, and he was like, ‘you’re not in good enough shape to do a 10k,’” she said with a laugh. “I’ve been running on and off all summer. But enough to know that I can do a 10k.”

Racer Erik Logodi of Elkford was eager for the half marathon to begin.

“Just looking for completion today,” the mine welder said. “No stopping. I do run, but not at these distances. This’ll be a challenge, but I’ve done the distance before.”

Logodi said that he would be running with music.

“Sometimes it could be Christian music, or Metalica.”

Jesse Krienke of Fernie was ready to hit the trail as temperatures began to warm close to the race start.

“I got wrangled into this one day,” he explained. “A couple months ago. I’ve never really run anything before, and one day my friend texted me and said ‘let’s go run the half marathon.’ That was two months ago, so I just started running to get ready for this.”

Krienke said that his friend ended up bailing on him.

“That’s alright, she had other commitments,” he said with a smile. “So I figured I’m already kind of ready, so I might as well run it. Ultimately, I just want to finish in a respectable amount of time.”

Conditions at the finish line were warm and sunny. A crowd of racers and spectators shouted encouragement as runners entered Annex Park.

Sixty five year old Graham Argile drove from Lethbridge to complete the event.

“I’ve run this race lots of times,” the computer technician explained. “We used to do the half marathon, but it got too far because I ran the Police Half Marathon in Lethbridge yesterday. I like both races and it’s kind of neat to do both races back to back.

Maureen Henders of Vegreville, Alberta came in dead last in the half marathon. The potentially injured, but determined, racer was encouraged over the finish line by her family, race announcers and cheering well-wishers.

“It was a struggle because I’m having a leg issue,” she said. “I just kept going. I just wanted to finish. It was beautiful scenery, and you can’t go wrong with that. Lots to look at, and that’s what keeps you going. I couldn’t have done the race without my family.”

Brent Hughes of Cranbrook came in first in the men’s 10k. Raynie Anderson of Jaffray took first in the women’s 10k, followed by the intrepid Australian Georgie Collis. Mathew Rigden achieved first place in the men’s half marathon. Lucy Eykamp of Fernie took first place in the women’s half marathon.

Results 10k

Male

Frist – Brent Hughes

Second – Matthew Line

Third – Sheldon Shurgelo

Female

First – Raynie Anderson

Second – Georgie Collis

Third – Cheryl Mackie

Results 21k

Male

First – Mathew Rigden

Second – Dallas Cain

Third – Bob Maudie

Female

First – Lucy Eykamp

Second – Blair Deault

Third – Felicia Lloyd

Results 10k

Female

First – Raynie Anderson

Second – Georgie Collis

Third – Cheryl Mackie

Results 21k

Female

First – Lucy Eykamp

Second – Blair Deault

Third – Felicia Lloyd

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Mathew Ridgen placed first in the 21k. James Snell/The Free Press

The amazing Maureen Henders finished last in the half marathon. James Snell/The Free Press

Raynie Anderson celebrates first place in the 10k with her family. James Snell/The Free Press

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