Orrin and Brian at the race in Kelowna. Contributed photo

Orrin and Brian at the race in Kelowna. Contributed photo

Local runners get personal bests at Kelowna half marathon

Brian Nemethy on the dedication of one local runner

By Brian Nemethy

Many of you have seen this young man; he runs with a particular running gait. He runs to work. He runs from work to home. He runs to meetings, and he runs in the Vanderhoof Masters Running Club on Tuesday nights.

Orrin Milne took up running in 2008 when he was 22 years of age. He completed his first of many 8 km Wild Goose Chase runs. In his first Wild Goose Chase, he ran the 8 km in 41 minutes 25 seconds. Ten years later, he finished the same event in 41 minutes 55 seconds.

Now, many years later, he is still pounding the pavement. He is still motivated, and he is still running the half marathon but at a faster pace. As many people know, Orrin has a mild case of Cerebral Palsy; he is physically challenged but still manages to get outside and put in the kilometres to complete a half marathon in a time that most people would envy.

In 2008, he asked me if he could run a half marathon. I said that with training, he could do anything. So, a decade later, Orrin is still pushing the pace, still trying to cross the finish line faster than the year before. On Oct. 13-14, Orrin and I took part in the SunRype Okanagan Half Marathon in Kelowna. For Orrin it was his 10th half marathon. The weather was perfect for racing. The skies were cloudy with a cool temperature of six degrees Celsius, and no wind.

This annual event starts at the City Park and snakes through the streets of down town Kelowna and the residential area. More than 900 runners gathered at the start line with their GPS watches set to begin the 21.1 kilometre journey to the finish line. They were probably all wondering if they had trained hard enough. Orrin’s goal was to break his fastest time, a time of 1 hour, 44 minutes, 35 second, which he earned last year at the same race. That time equals a 7.57 minute mile, which is amazing considering he has to do that 13 times straight! That’s like running around the track in 1 minute and 59 seconds for 52 laps in a row!

As I cooled down after my race, I waited at the finish line. The clock had just turned to 1 hour 44 minutes. As I looked past the other side of the finish line, I couldn’t believe it; he was right on schedule. As Orrin appeared in the pack with the other runners, I looked up at the clock; it said 1:44:26. It was going to be close. Running full blast, Orrin crossed the line at 1:44:34, one full second better than last year. One decade ago, Orrin ran his first half marathon in 1 hour 58 minutes and 36 seconds. Now, 10 years older, he is still pushing the bar to new limits. Isn’t that just amazing?

For myself, at the age of 57, I’m out there to win my category. My goal time was to run sub 1:23:00. I had a great day just like Orrin. I won my category, placed sixth overall, and ran in a time of 1:21:32, which is a 6:11 mile pace or a track lap time of 1 minute and 33 seconds a lap for 52 laps.

When you prepare properly for anything, good things always happen. For Orrin and I, we nailed it!

For the half marathon, the marathon, the triathlon, even The Ironman, or whatever event, it’s all possible. It just comes down to one thing, you. You have to want to do it.

Footnote: This fall, Brian and his wife, Wanda, are celebrating 20 years of coaching students of the NVSS X-Country team. The team has posted numerous records over the years but this year, there biggest record was having a record number of students taking part with 38 runners. On Oct. 20, they hosted the 38th annual High School X-Country Zone Championship over at the NVSA grounds. They are running for gold in both the Junior Boys and Junior Girls team categories as well as first overall in the race. The first race starts at 9:30am with the Sr. Boys 6.5km event.