Sun shines on record Silver City Days Fun Run

Run inspires health and recognizes the final day of Mental Health Awareness week.

The Silver City Days Fun Run was an unmitigated success from the beautiful sunny day to the record number of participants that took to the course on Sunday.

Close to 300 residents and corporate citizens enjoyed the sunshine and a brisk five or 10-kilometre run or walk through Sunningdale and downtown Trail.

The Run was also buoyed by its largest corporate participant, Teck’s Inspiring Health and Wellness initiative that saw close to 100 employees  take a walk or run in the park, while also recognizing the final day of Mental Health Awareness week.

“It’s been a great turnout for us,” said Gord Menelaws safety chair for USW Local 480. “For us a small community we’ve been rocked hard in the last month with a couple of events and we felt it was the perfect time to really focus on mental health and mental illness, so that’s where our focus is.

“When people are proud to where their Teck T-shirt and be part of the Teck team, it’s nice just to say to people – that for today especially – we are all one as a Teck family and it’s pretty cool.”

The great weather helped boost numbers on  the day of the event with over 80 people signing up Sunday morning,

The race got underway at Gyro Park following the loop through Sunningdale and the scenic Columbia River,  through downtown and West Trail before finishing at Gyro.

While the run went off without a hitch, a technical glitch delayed the award proceedings. In the end, the winners were sorted out and rewarded with medals, ribbons, and gift certificates from Gericks Sports.

Trail’s Mike Zahn sprinted to top spot for the “sixth or seventh time” in the 5-K men’s, while Barbara Brych took the women’s 5-kilometre crown. In the 10,000-metre run a pair of Boston Marathon veterans claimed the men’s and women’s category with Mike Henrickson winning the men’s side in just over 37 minutes while Heather Johnson claimed first-place prize for the women.

Hendrickson, who ran the Boston Marathon just three weeks ago, led the Fun Run from start to finish and when asked what the difference was between the marathon and the 10-k event the Trail runner quipped: “It’s much more peaceful. I had the course to myself for most of it and it was wonderful.”

The Boston marathon is a daunting 26-mile odyssey, yet, the 10-k Fun Run course proved a challenge for the Fortis worker who found himself tiring at the half-way mark.

“For a shorter race, you’re wheezing and hurting pretty good. I found myself wishing this was over and done with a lot more intensely than I did in Boston. In Boston you know it’s a marathon so you know you’re going to be at it for a while, so you throttle it back a bit. 10 K you really have no reason to hold anything back, so you run really hard – and it hurts.”

Hendrickson was impressed with the numbers of participants, and happy to have enjoyed it with his expectant wife on Mother’s Day.  He will also take on the Christina Lake Triathlon in June and a half-marathon in Creston in September.

Johnson, meanwhile, participated in the 2013 Boston Marathon that was marred by the finish-line bombings that killed three people and injured close to 300 others. The Fruitvale resident and her husband Chris Kent emerged unscathed but the experience was understandably unsettling.

“I thought about going back, but I thought it would be just a bit of a gong show, a little overwhelming, and I just wanted to let the race settle a little bit, and enjoy what I had. But the goal is to go back at some point,” said Johnson.

The Fun Run may not quite compare, but it is an enjoyable primer for the couple who have  big race plans for the summer.

“It was awesome, this race is always a lot of fun,” said Johnson. “The route is beautiful, challenging, you know you got some little hills but lots of fun and there’s always lots of fast guys and some fast girls to chase too.”

Johnson and Kent are preparing for an extreme six-day, 120-mile race through Colorado in August. Johnson will also compete in the Blackfoot Ultra, a 50-kilometre ultra-marathon in Edmonton on May 24.

Zahn, the perennial 5-k men’s winner, had his eye set on breaking the 18-minute barrier, but will have to wait another year to take a shot at it after finishing the 2014 Fun Run in 19 minutes flat.

“Same routine, I run to work,” said Zahn. “I extended the route a little bit this year, I thought it would improve my time, but maybe with my age I’m getting slower, because I added about 12 seconds or so, but I felt a lot better this year.”

Brych, a former competitive runner from Nelson, ran a scorching 5 kilometres in 20 minutes and four seconds to capture the overall women’s 5-km title.

“I’m a retired competitor so I’m doing the smaller stuff,” said Brych. “It felt better than I thought it would, and again it’s a lot slower than I use to run, but it felt really good. The weather, good energy, everybody is happy to be here. It’s nice to go to these Fun Runs because everybody is in a good mood.”

Due to technical problems, the complete results were unavailable at press time. Results will be posted when available.

Photos: The Silver City Days Fun Run attracted a record number of runners thanks to good weather and a healthy cause. Barbara Brych took top honours in the 5,000 metre run, while Mike Hendrickson set the pace for the 10-k. Heather Johnson receives a Gerick Sports gift certificate from event coordinator Dan Horan, while Zahn gets congratulations from Trail royalty, and families from Celgar and Teck were out in force.