Considering the time of year, you couldn’t ask for better early morning conditions for a community running event.
Blue skies and scattered clouds provided nature’s ceiling during Sunday’s Trinity Western University Fort Langley Historic Half.
The run/walk started and finished inside the walls of the Fort Langley National Historic Site.
Outside the Fort, the route covered the rural roads of North Langley, including Rawlison Crescent, River Road, 240th Street, 72nd Avenue, 88th Avenue, Armstrong Road, and Glover Road.
The abnormally pleasant early morning temperatures hovering near 5ºC added to the day.
More than half of the 947 people taking part – 532 to be precise – tackled the half marathon (21 kilometre) route of the Historic Half, hosted by Try Events.
The rest of the field consisted of exercise enthusiasts of varying ages, including a few young children, who opted for the 10-kilometre and five-kilometre run/walks.
Among the half marathon runners were friends Angie Suomi and Michelle Kurtenacker. This was their first attempt at running this kind of distance.
“It was on our bucket list,” Kurtenacker said, just before the 7:45 a.m. mass warmup. “We were supposed to do it when we were turning 40, but we decided to it when we were turning 45. A few years late, but…”
The two have been good friends for eight years, first meeting at a fitness class.
Before setting off, Angie admitted she was “terrified” about the prospect of running a half marathon.
“I haven’t done 21K,” she said. “I’ve only ran 17, so far, so we’ll see how we do.”
To prepare, Suomi and Kurtenacker have been running together, slowly bring their distance up each week.
“Just getting past 10K was a big deal,” Suomi said. “And then knowing you have to double it, it was hard.”
The two loaded up on carbs Saturday night, with a spaghetti dinner. They each had a bagel before the run.
Meanwhile, Maple Ridge resident James Murphy, 41, brought along his wife Kyla and two-year-old daughter Kinley for support.
A veteran of long distance running, Murphy ran the 10K route, then went to work afterwards.
“I haven’t ran this race before, but I try to run as many 10Ks as possible,” he said. “It’s just for the challenge and the exercise.”
Kyla, also a runner, is pregnant which is why she decided to pass on the event this year.
Even though Kinley is a toddler, her parents wanted to show her a healthy lifestyle.
“That’s why we’re trying to get her out here, so she can learn this, as well,” Kyla said.
A familiar face joined Murphy in the 10K group. Wearing a white, long-sleeved shirt, black ball cap, and bib number 2598, Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese set off in the middle of the pack.
Froese said he ran 10Ks “years and years ago” and got back into running about eight months ago.
This is his first time participating in the Historic Half.
“Because it’s in Fort Langley, I could walk to it, and the timing was right,” the mayor said. “It’s a good one for the beginning of the season. I’ve been training pretty good for this.”
This Historic Half was a family affair for Froese. His daughter Marilyn took part in her first ever half marathon.
The first Historic Half runner to enter the Fort gates was 39-year-old Jeremy Waters, who completed the run in one hour, 18 minutes, and 51 seconds.
He was followed by 23-year-old Liam Harrap, 43-year-old Russ Esau, 32-year-old Ryan Carl, and 43-year-old George Brear.
Ryan Boulter was the top 10K runner, finishing in 39 minutes, 15 seconds.
This year marked the eighth anniversary of the Historic Half in Fort Langley.
Partial proceeds benefited the Pacific Parklands Foundation, which works to raise funds for special projects in regional parks, foster public awareness of the regional park system, and recruit corporate and community leaders as foundation directors. Visit www.pacificparklands.com.
The day before the TWU Historic Half, Try Events hosted a kids run inside the Fort.
A total of 45 runners ranging in age from one to six ran on the Fort grounds.