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Sunday’s April Fool’s Run attracts international athletes

Sunday’s April Fool’s Run attracts international athletes

The 40th edition of the BMO Sunshine Coast April Fool’s Run presented by Coast Cable is shaping up to be an exciting contest in the front of the pack.

The men’s field for the run, on Sunday April 2,  features two Kenyan athletes, both with identical personal bests of 1:06:01 for the half marathon. Benard Ngeno and Leornard Kipkoech are currently staying in Surrey for the West Coast spring road race circuit, and have decided to include the BMO Fool’s Run in their competition schedule.

Ngeno recorded his best half marathon time in Victoria 18 months ago, and has been recovering from injury since then. The 28-year-old is making a strong comeback, as evidenced by his 15:47 clocking at the recent BMO St. Patrick’s Day 5k in Vancouver.

Twenty-three year old Kipkoech has finished in the top ten in the last two Vancouver Sun Runs, placing 3rd in 2015 in 29:05.

Roberts Creek favourite Shaun Stephens-Whale has the home-course advantage and could possibly challenge the Kenyans if they get too relaxed. Stephens-Whale won the 2015 Fool’s Run in a thrilling photo-finish 1:10:15. The Fool’s Run hills should be a breeze for him, after his recent successes in international tower (stair climb) races.

The women’s favourite on paper is Kate Gustafson, a 32-year-old from Vancouver who won the Seawheeze Half Marathon last August, and has a personal best of 1:19:08 set at the BMO Vancouver Half in 2015.

Chasing Gustafson will be last year’s Fool’s winner Adrienne Gomes of Squamish. Since her victory here last April, the 20-year-old has set new personal bests of 1:23:56 for the half and 18:57 for 5k. “I am excited to be returning to such a great event this year,” says Gomes.

Gibsons’ Kimberley Doerksen, Fool’s Run women’s course record holder (1:14:53) and 2015 BMO Vancouver Marathon winner, decided at the last minute to join the fray, though she’s the first to admit she’s not in any shape for a fast half marathon. “I’d be pleased with sub 1:25 right now,” says Doerksen. “I haven’t done any intervals further than a mile.”

Doerksen, who now lives and works off-Coast, is no longer eligible for the “Top Local Finisher” award. She sees this as a good thing. “Winning first local at the Fool’s Run was what got me hooked on running, so hopefully that happens with someone else,” she explains.

If you haven’t already done so, you may register an individual, relay team or volunteer at www.foolsrun.com. Walk-up registration is available on race weekend – see website for details.

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