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Tuesday, May. 21, 2019
The many familiar faces of the Sudbury Rocks!!! Marathon
by Randy Pascal

Familiar faces were evident everywhere at the Sudbury Rocks!!! Marathon on Sunday, not only in terms of the local running elite, who continually grace the upper echelon of the standings, but also throughout the masses, the walkers and joggers who have made this annual tradition part of their Mother's Day festivities, each and every year.

A previous winner in both the half-marathon and full marathon, Pascal Renard opted to take a crack at the Continental Insulation 10 km, making a seamless transition to the shorter distance, winning in a time of 35:48. “I went by feel today, I didn't look at my watch,” noted the 43 year old runner. “I hadn't been on the road racing in a long time, so I was out enjoying the scenery. It was a lovely sunny day.”

It was indeed.

And while Renard may not have been cruising full torque, there is certainly that element of competition that likely never subsides for those at his level. “You're still very focused on what you are doing, even if you're not at the top of your game,” he said. “I could still feel the stress at the start line, which is a good sign, the adrenaline coming in.”

This was the first time that Renard competed at this distance, in this event, allowing him to garner an appreciation for a whole other layout of the race circuit. “It's a challenging course with some hills,” he said. “I went on some roads that I have never explored in Sudbury, lovely, quiet roads. On Notre Dame, on the way back, it's all kind of down hill a little bit, which is pleasant.”

After capturing the five km race comfortably one year ago, Western Mustangs' track and field veteran Brendan Costello (17:19) was in for much more of a push this year, as current Lo-Ellen Park Knights' member Nicholas Lambert (17:27) managed to finish just eight seconds back of the talented school alumnus. “It was a lot closer than I expected, I'm not going to lie,” said Costello.

“Nick made me earn that. There was a little bit of strategy in play, in that he took it out really fast to try and get my legs out of me early, so I couldn't kick him down in the last km. I think he kind of suffered for it, but I was hurting too.”

Entering his fourth year of post-secondary studies, Costello has lightened the training load, just a little, as he plans out another season of OUA competition. “I've stopped doing cross country in the fall and am just doing track,” he said. “I'm focusing on just building a little more muscle and getting my speed up, rather than trying to put in junk miles.”

If all goes well, Costello will take a shot at the prestigious sub 2:30 one kilometer run during the indoor season, having just narrowly missed out on the goal that equates, roughly, to a sub two-minute 800m race on the outdoor track.

A fellow competitor in the OUA, Laurentian Voyageurs' Jared Milford was more than a little pleased with a second place finish in the 10 km event, overcoming some health challenges in the weeks leading up to the Rocks. “I ran just twice in the past two weeks,” noted the 20 year-old Bio-Chemistry major. “I'm happy. I didn't expect to run a 37:00 – I expected something in the 38's.”

“My plan was to cruise the first couple of kms around 3:45s or 3:40s, go up the hill (near Boréal) and then take off and go faster, because after that, it's all flat. I was close to executing the game plan.”

All of which should lay the groundwork for what Milford expects to be a productive summer. “My plan is first to get 100% healthy,” he said. “I've been dealing with some knee and foot problems, but after that, I'm going to start running more, doing some long distance running, and doing some track events as well.”

Fifty-six year old long-time Sudburian Gilles Lafrance is like most of us, not about to pose any kind of serious threat to the podium placements of Renard, Costello, Milford and their ilk. He is also among the several dozen of race regulars, the folks you will catch here in May, and out at L.U. in September, site of the Ramsey Lake Tour.

Unlike everyone else that competed on Sunday, however, Lafrance can lay claim to having represented Canada on no less than separate occasions at the Paralympics: 1984 in New York, 1988 in Seoul and 1992 in Barcelona (though it wasn't until the middle of this troika that the term “Paralympics” actually came in to accepted usage).

These days, Lafrance continues to run, even if the decision on a race distance are not confirmed until the very last minute, at times. “I'm part of the run club on Wednesday nights,” he said. “I had planned to run the 5 kms, but I guess I got inspired last Wednesday, because I had a really good run. I got to the race Expo yesterday and decided to sign up for the 10 kms.”

While this decision might backfire on occasion, the strategy change worked, this time around. “Actually, I felt very relaxed,” said Lafrance, who chugged home just over the one hour mark. “It's such a nice day, I figured I would just go out and have fun. I wasn't huffing or puffing. I wasn't sore, or anything.”

Equally as pleased with the state of affairs Sunday morning was Marina McComber, a Community Health Nurse who has gathered the forces within the Atikameksheng Anishinaabe for the past 15 years, making their presence felt at this event.

“We've been here, rain or shine, snow, whatever,” said McComber, overlooking a turnout that numbered more than 40 folks from the area. “We have really good participation.” Like Lafrance, there are no illusions of race victories within this particular crowd. “I think it's just good for the community, it gives you a sense of community to be in this group as you head out on the road,” acknowledged 30 year-old Liannissa Corbiere.

Even the ultra young have a game plan in place. “We were doing both walking and running,” noted eight year-old Kierra Pheasant, who accompanied her aunt, the chief, on the five kilometer jaunt. “Every two poles, we would switch. We would run for two poles and then the next two poles, we would walk.”

And if that's what it takes to make sure that Pheasant and company are mainstays at the Sudbury Rocks!!! Marathon, each and every year, then so be it.

Following are some of the results, broken down by race distance, from the 2019 edition of the Sudbury Rocks!!! Marathon:

1st - Erin DeVeber - 3:07:59
2nd - John McBride - 3:13:50
3rd - Ryan Marsaw - 3:14:34
4th - Chris Campbell - 3:15:26
5th - Kenn Schmitz - 3:25:38

Perdue Family Half Marathon
1st - Eric Leishman - 1:07:46
2nd - Jordan Cascagnette - 1:15:46
3rd - Jeffrey Taylor - 1:24:36
4th - Jenny Bottomley - 1:24:51
5th - Patrick Boily - 1:25:46
6th - Mike Banks - 1:26:00
7th - Danny Brunet - 1:28:16
8th - Matteo Reich - 1:28:20
9th - Kassandra (K.C.) Gallo - 1:28:28
10th - Robert Schinke - 1:29:56

Continental Insulation 10 kms
1st - Pascal Renard - 35:48
2nd - Jarod Milford - 37:14
3rd - Kelly Thompson - 37:27
4th - Charles Dumas - 38:44
5th - James Larmer - 39:31
6th - Kevin Gracequist - 42:09
7th - Mike Raskevicius - 42:16
8th - Eve Boissonneault - 42:43
9th - Chantal Dagostino - 42:45
10th - Lucia Salmaso - 43:11

NCF Real Estate for Hope 5 kms
1st - Brendan Costello - 17:19
2nd - Nicholas Lambert - 17:27
3rd - Aurele Fox-Recollet - 19:09
4th - Sheldon Mirco - 19:19
5th - Brayden Lafrance - 20:11
6th - Avery Sutherland - 20:50
7th - Kaeden Ward - 21:05
8th - Ted Hanley - 21:19
9th - Neil Castonguay - 21:32
10th - Mark Thom - 21:42

Celebrity Challenge 5 km
1st - Greg Cregan - 21:09

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