Cross country specialist Odermatt sprints to first place at Cobble Hill

Cobble Hill 10K winner Craig Odermatt takes his last few strides toward the finish line. - Don Bodger
Cobble Hill 10K winner Craig Odermatt takes his last few strides toward the finish line.
— image credit: Don Bodger

Craig Odermatt didn't feel 100% for the Cobble Hill 10K race Sunday, but won it anyway.

Odermatt, 43, of Victoria's Prairie Inn Harriers was the first finisher among 576 during the second event in the Frontrunners Island Race Series, hosted by the CeeVACs Road Runners.

"I've had a couple of health issues,'' said Odermatt, who finished in 33:29. "It just felt tough. It's a hilly course, too.''

Simon Stewart was only 16 seconds behind the leader and Thomas Holm finished third in 33:54.

The women's winner was Lucy Smith of LifeSport in 36:08 followed by Alison Hooper in 36:30 and Janet Nielson in 37:52.

Both Odermatt and Smith are also masters runners, proving age is no barrier in road racing.

Odermatt used the event as a warm-up for a half marathon in Vancouver. "That's something I've been gearing up for,'' he said.

Odermatt was a bronze medalist in the Canadian masters cross country championships and was also named the 2013 B.C. masters runner of the year in cross country.

Odermatt hasn't raced in the Cobble Hill 10K in three years. He was in a tight race up to the 3 1/2-kilometre mark.

"I led the rest of the way,'' he said.

The sun broke through just before race time and melted away any icy sections.

"This was great,'' said Odermatt. "One year they had it here and it was kind of slippery. But this is perfect.''

Odermatt hadn't actually won an Island Series race since 1996.

"It's one thing to win the masters cross country,'' he said. "This is open to all ages.''

Richard Light was the first member of CeeVACs to finish, 12th overall in 35:46.

Seven age-category course records were set, including: Hooper (20-24 women); Vince Brotherston (50-54 men, 35:13); Donna Morrissey (55-59 women, 43:53); Garth Campbell (55-59 men, 37:08); Roslyn Smith (65-69 women, 46:17); Jill Davies (70-74 women, 56:01); and Frank Towler (70-74 men, 44:07).


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