Semiahmoo Sunrunners win masters division of 142-km relay race

South Surrey/White Rock team completes Skeena River Relay in 13 hours, 45 minutes and three seconds

A team of Semiahmoo Sunrunners was among the fastest on the course at the Skeena River Relay on B.C.’s North Coast earlier this month.

The 10-person relay team won the masters division of the popular, but gruelling run – a 142-km route from Prince Rupert to Terrace. The Sunrunners posted a time of 13 hours, 45 minutes and three seconds, beating a local team, the Rupert Relics, by 11 minutes.

The 10-stage race’s individual legs varied in distance from 10 to 21-km. Semiahmoo’s winning team was made up of Kathy Dinner, Lori Cotton, Mark Harding, Fred Cotton, Mike Ward, Renee Ward, Doug Brewer, Paul Mathias, Anna Bennett and John Holland.

The team, as well as the other 28 taking part in various age divisions, dodged some bad weather – as well as some local wildlife – en route to the finish line, Harding told Peace Arch News.

“Although it poured with rain the day prior to the race, race day was perfect running weather,” he said.

“And one one lonely, hungry bear was sighted along the entire route.”

This year’s Skeena River Relay was the 17th running of the event.

The overall title was won by a team from Kitimat, who completed the race in 10 hours and 54 minutes. In addition to the South Surrey/White Rock-based Sunrunners, teams came from Aldergrove, Terrace, Smithers, Prince Rupert and Haida Gwaii, according to race organizers.

“It shows that the event has grown and everyone has love for it, and that it’s near and dear to a lot of people’s hearts,” said Crystal Sawatzky, one of the event’s co-directors.

“Everybody just seemed really happy and excited. We always seem to get a good bunch. I think it went really well.”

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