International field expected to challenge course records at 10th Anniversary Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon



    VANCOUVER, June 16 /CNW/ - A strong international field that is expected
to challenge for records was announced today for this year's 10th Anniversary
Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon, to be run on its famous, scenic, downhill
course from UBC to Stanley Park on Sunday June 22, 2008. More than 5,000
participants are expected to toe the start line, in what is also a major
fundraiser, with the Scotiabank Group Charity Challenge anticipated to collect
more than $250,000 for 10 local charities.
    "In keeping with tradition, we expect some really good battles up front
on the half-marathon course," said Race Director Clifton Cunningham.
    The men's race promises a splendid battle between Ethiopian Kasime Adillo
and Kenyans Moses Macharia and Josephat Ongeri. The 29-year-old Adillo placed
3rd at last September's Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in a PR of
2:10:20, before going on to take 5th place at the prestigious Boston Marathon
in April, running 2:12:24 on the tougher Boston course. "I am happy to be back
in Canada," said Adillo. "I'm fit, recovered from Boston, and ready to set a
new course record in Vancouver." To do so, he'll have to run under 63:10, the
mark set last year by Kenyan Patrick Nthiwa.
    Kenyans Macharia and Ongeri are expected to push Adillo all the way.
Macharia has been tearing up the roads in the Canada Running Series this
Spring, winning Harry's Spring Run Off Toronto 8k in 23:37 on April 5th,
placing 2nd at a windy Banque Scotia 21k de Montreal on April 20th in 63:57,
before recording another win at Sporting Life Toronto 10k on May 4th in a
sizzling 28:18 - more than a minute faster than the winning time at this
year's Vancouver Sun Run. Ongeri was 3rd at the Canadian Half-Marathon
Championships at Banque Scotia 21k in 64:47, and 3rd again at Sporting Life
10k in 29:26.
    A group of Canada's best distance runners will also ensure a thrilling
race within the race, as the best in the West faces off against some strong
talent from the East. Victoria's Jim Finlayson and Ryan Day of Richmond are
guaranteed to be in the thick of things. One of BCs best, Finlayson has been
perennial top 10 finisher at the Scotia Half, most recently placing 4th two
years ago in 66:55. Ryan Day is running strong and recently finished 9th in
the Vancouver Sun Run 10k.
    As always, the popularity of the Canada Running Series circuit has
guaranteed that some of Eastern Canada's best will also be in the hunt, led by
defending Series champion, Danny Kassap of Toronto. Danny was the only
Canadian to press the Kenyans last year, and the only runner to hang with the
record-setting Patrick Nthiwa, which he did until the 16k mark before dropping
back in the pouring rain to finish a very strong 2nd overall in 64:03. Since
then, he's run 2:17 at last September's Scotia Toronto Waterfront Marathon,
then 2:15 at London two months ago. The Eastern contingent also includes
current Series' points leader, Paul Chafe of Toronto, and
second-in-the-standings Dehbi Amor of Sherbrooke, QC.
    While Kenyan Florence Jepkoskei looks to be in a class of her own in the
women's Half, behind her an absorbing contest looks set to unfold. Last year's
Canada Running Series Champion, veteran Olympian Lisa Harvey of Calgary (who
was also 2nd at the 2007 Scotia Half in 1:15:45), will have her hands full if
she's going to repeat in second place this year. Victoria's Kirsty Smith,
Toronto's Josiane Aboungono and Kingston's Emily Tallen are three talented,
young up-and-comers to watch. The 24-year-old Smith won the First Half
Half-Marathon in February in an impressive effort of 1:16:44, more than two
minutes ahead of Harvey, who placed 2nd. At the Sporting Life 10K on May 5th,
Jepkoskei broke the tape in 32:11; Tallen was 3rd in 33:50; and Aboungono was
4th in 34:11. At this year's Sun Run, Harvey trounced the contenders,
finishing 2nd to Tallen's 7th and Smith's 10th. So watch for the sparks to fly
all the way along Spanish Banks, through Kits down to Stanley Park. The
contest for second place is just too close to call.
    Finally, defending Canada Running Series Men's Masters' champions will be
out to prove they're the best of the 40+ crowd. Montreal's Louis-Philippe
Garnier will have to fight off a posse of BC's top vets led by Norm Tinkham,
Richard Lee, Mark Bomba, Neil Holm and Art Boileau. Coquitlam's Nancy Tinari
should have an easier time of things on the women's side.
    There's still time to book your place on the start line and join the
excitement in the 10th Anniversary Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k
Run/Walk. Online registration, plus the course map showing entertainment
centres and the best spectator spots are available at www.vancouverhalf.com.
Participants can also sign up online to raise funds for one of 10
participating charities in the Scotiabank Group Charity Challenge.





For further information:

For further information: Clifton Cunningham, Race Director, Scotiabank
Vancouver Half-Marathon & 5k, (778) 786-3116, cell: (604) 839-7889; Michelle
Cobb, Scotiabank Public Affairs, (778) 327-5451, cell: (778) 840-5793


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