38th annual Mother’s Day relay team are all winners

Teams of 8 run eight stages of 8 km in the relay alternating between Vanderhoof and the Fort

10:00 a.m. at Ferland Park on Sunday May 14, Fort doctor Pieter van Zyl started the Vanderhoof to Fort St. James Relay Race. There are eight stages of approximately 8 km each, usually done by teams of eight runners. Van Zyl knew from the start his team was going to win, not because he was confident they were fast runners, but because they were the only team this year.

This is the 38th annual Mother’s Day Relay alternating starts between Fort St. James and Vanderhoof and most years they’ve had more than one team. Some years they’ve had as many as 14 teams. Keith Gordon, race organiser says he hopes to get more teams running next year and perhaps move the race day to a Saturday to attract church-going runners and those running families who like to prioritise family time for the Sunday Mother’s Day.

To get participation numbers up, Yvonne Gilbert smiles suggesting “We have to get those Vanderhoof runners on board!”

Keith Gordon shares some race trivia: “The relay is not tied to Mother’s Day. This day was picked because it’s two weekends after the Vancouver marathon so local runners who do that could rest up before running again.”

“There’s no baton passed between relay runners. It’s a hand slap honour system!

“Three times we’ve had one runner do all eight stages. Chris Budoc from Prince George, Stan Irvine from Vanderhoof and another fellow from Prince George named Richard, his last name escapes me.”

“Some years we’ve had elite teams that finish below four hours, one was an all female team. Notable runners who’ve participated include Brian and Wanda Nemethy, Shane Biadeau, Dick Vonegen.

“Sean Houghton, age 13, biked the whole route on a mountain bike with one speed in a time of 3:35:51. Sean has biked this route eight times now, since he was five years old.”

“The race was founded in 1977 by Gordon Rennie, big time runner, teacher in the Fort.”

The average time for the team this year was under 40 minutes. When noting his 8 k finish time now in the “forties” Keith reminisces, “I’m a lot slower now. I used to be in the twenties but that was a long time ago.”

2017 RELAY RACE RESULTS

Stage 1.

Pieter Van Zyl 37:14

Stage 2.

Chris Greenaway 44: 15

Stage 3.

Neal Gooding 34:53

Stage 4.

Yvonne Gilbert 42:19

Stage 5.

Keith Gordon 40:02

Stage 6.

Cordell Ware 33:25

Stage 7.

Vincent Chingee 45:16

Stage 8.

Travis James 37:50

Team time for 62 km

5:15:24

 

SUMMARY OF THE ROUTE

STAGE ONE

Out of Vanderhoof Starting from the park the runners head north and take the bridge crossing the Nechako. Then runners turn east and take Loop Road all the way round past the golf course and airport. The stake marking the end of stage one is just before the 90 degree turn to the west.

STAGE TWO

Airport Flats Here’s one for the flat land runners who don’t like hills. Run from the hand-slap hand-off past three more 90 degree turns. Then you run for half a mile through s gradual left turn and run for another 150 metres or so and hand-off at the second stake.

STAGE THREE

Twelve Mile Hill The first two miles are easy on this one but then there is the very long and steep 12 mile hill. This is a tough stage and is around 10% slower than the others. You run right over the top and back down towards the little swamp that heads to the west. You hand-off 200 m before the bottom.

STAGE FOUR

Jackpine Alley This is a hilly logged section althoughwith about as much up as down. You run past the much-painted rock and through the regenerating pine forests. Towards the end there’s a long gentle down hill then a short down and short back up again. The exchange stake is on a gradual left corner just south of where a narrow road comes out from the west side.

STAGE FIVE

Past Echo Lake This is a fairly easy stage with mostly flat terrain but with a few more bumps just past the midpoint. It goes past the Echo Lake turn off (only 27 km to go). The hand-off is on a flat section aout 500 metres south of the Dog Creek Forest Road.

STAGE SIX

Through Dog Creek Fort runners are getting close to home now. The stage goes through Dog Creek, over a few bumps then a nce gradual downhill through some pasture land then upa small hill. The last 600 metres consists of a downhill stretch and ends on a fill in the grassy swamp with an island of trees on it.

STAGE SEVEN

Spencer’s Ridge There’s only a little hill to start this stage off then a nice downhill with an S trun, then past the gravel pit, then Spencer’s Ridge road then the long almost flat stretch of 3 km. It ends just before the northern access to Airport Road.

STAGE EIGHT

Into the Fort This is the easiest stage except that it comes at the warmest part of the day. The route just follows the main street with a 90 degree left turn at the five corners (it’s okay to use the shorter merge lane on your left but watch out for cars coming at you). Go through downtown Fort St. James and around past the Mr. Gee and then Cottonwood Park and look for the Junkers Airplane. Run hard as your teammates are waiting and cheering. An “official” finish line should be scratched in the dirt.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Charges laid against Prince George man, 39, in drug trafficking probe

Tyler Aaron Gelowitz is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 18

B.C. doctors encourage patients to reach out for telephone or online care during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
How was your virtual care experience through the Omineca Medical Clinic?

The clinic has an online survey for patients in the region

Blackwater Gold Mine. (File photo)
Artemis Gold plans phased approach for Blackwater Project

Artemis Gold will directly employ up to 580 people during the initial construction period

John Rustad poses for a photograph infront of St. John Hospital in Vanderhoof after he made the announcement of investing in Hospitals in the area. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Rustad announces St. John Hospital upgrade if BC Liberals are elected

The incumbent BC Liberals MLA for Nechako Lakes made the announcement on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Lesley Chaisson, Manager, Vanderhoof Chamber of Commerce. (Submitted photo)
“We Are Open Campaign”: Vanderhoof Chamber promoting local businesses

Chamber embarks on multi-faceted approach to promote small business

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC Greens Sonia Furstenau, BC NDP John Horgan (The Canadian Press photos)
British Columbians vote in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read