Weather cooperates for 42nd Wikwemikong
Expositor Staff on October 22, 2014
The runners were stretching, doing short warm up runs and
hopping up and down in anticipation of the 10:50 pm start
of the 42nd Annual Wikwemikong Road Race, as much to escape
the damp mid-fall cold as in excitement to get the run underway.
“It’s a nice day for it,”
laughed organizer Henry Hoy as he lined up the runners on the
mark. “They will be happy it isn’t too warm after
they have run a mile or so.”
In fact it was just about perfect weather for
the event, with the sun only occasionally poking its face between
the blessedly rainless clouds.
The run itself is fairly benign as 10 kilometre
races go, as it follows a very slight uphill grade to the halfway
water station before beginning an even slighter downhill grade
to the finish line at Thunderbird Park.
But even more important than the grade and the
lack of precipitation for the runners was the absence of a headwind.
“It was pretty bad last year,” admitted
Mr. Hoy. “But there is hardly a breeze at all this year.”
The first runner across the line this year was
Wikwemikong Road Race regular Neil Phipps of Sudbury, who finished
the 10 kilometre run well ahead of the pack at 36 minutes 35
seconds, to be awarded The Expositor trophy for top male runner.
Mr. Phipps came in barely five seconds off his 2013 finish.
The top female runner was Sophia Pereira, securing
the Wikwemikong Board of Education trophy for top female runner,
competing in the 13-15-year-old division. Her impressive time
for the 10 kilometre run was 41 minutes, 27 seconds.
These are top tier competitors in the running
field and were familiar faces to fans of the sport watching
the runners come in, but some of the exceptional accomplishments
of the day came from those in the non-competitive walking division.
The walking division set out almost an hour before the runners
began their race.
There was Bruno Henry (one hour, 26 minutes,
27 seconds) and his daughter Trinity (one hour, 30 minutes flat)
who covered the distance before the first runners came in to
do their final circuit around Thunderbird Park. “I didn’t
want the runners to beat me to the finish line,” laughed
Mr. Henry, who sprinted on ahead of his daughter at the last
four minutes but who then circled back to accompany his daughter
across the finish line. Both father and daughter were remarkably
sound of breath following their run.
Franklin Odjig (one hour, 43 minutes and 47
seconds) was by his own account the oldest runner in the race
at 73, but he was under stiff competition by fellow septuagenarian
Phyliss Kinoshameg (one hour, 57 minutes and 35 seconds).
“I am the last but I am the first,”
laughed Mr. Odjig. He said that he felt it was very important
to remain active and fit to maintain a good quality of life
as you age. “It is important for all ages,” he said.
Ms. Kinoshameg admitted that she almost decided
not to go in the race this year. “I was hurting from yesterday,”
she laughed. Apparently she had trained for the event by spending
the previous day working in her garden. Ms. Kinoshameg was wielding
a set of Nordic walking poles which she swears by for walking.
Her set includes a set of spikes on the bottom (hidden by rubber
tips for the fall/summer season) for winter use. “I keep
them in my car,” she said. The spikes came in very handy
this past winter when her car slipped into the ditch on glare
ice. “I shouldn’t have been out in that,”
she admits. “I slid into the ditch, but I was able to
make it to the next house using these.”
The top three male runners included Brent Walker,
second, at 39 minutes, 2 seconds and Todd Withers third at 40
minutes, 38 seconds.
The top three female runners included Sara McIlraith,
second, at 41 minutes, 46 seconds and Laurel Leconte, third,
at 46 minutes, 9 seconds.
Hunter Cranston, secured the male high school
award coming in at 49 minutes and 12 seconds and Francesca Pheasant
secured the female high school award at 50 minutes, 31 seconds.
Following the race a feast and award ceremony
saw the distribution of medals and trophies to the participants