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2014 Media Releases (pre-race)


No Joke! Thirty-seventh BMO Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run Set to Go

  • Jackson and Doerksen top seeded runners — aiming for new course records
  • BMO the Bear awarding medals and high-fiving all Half Marathon finishers

Written by Christopher Kelsall, Athletics Illustrated / edited by Teresa Nightingale

Gibsons, BC — April 1, 2014 — The 37th annual running of the BMO Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run Half Marathon and Relay, presented by Coast Cable, takes place this Sunday, April 6th. The start time is 9:17 AM. The race begins in Gibsons and runs, for the most part, parallel to the Sunshine Coast Highway northwest to Sechelt, BC. Over 600 runners and walkers will be taking part.

The Fool's Run offers a great experience for all levels of participants, from age group contenders to first-time walkers. The relay divisions provide a doable option for those training for shorter distances, and the free Sunshine Care Network Kids' Jester Dash allows the whole family to enjoy fitness and fun. Half marathon finishers will be rewarded with a BMO Fool's Run medal, a high-five from BMO the Bear, hot soup, coffee/tea and a variety of healthy treats.

Elite Runner Background Information

Kim Doerksen
Kim Doerksen (photo by Rita Ivanauskas)

The first male and female across the line earn $300 each, while second will receive $150 and third $100. Top master athletes that are at least 40-years-old earn $150, $75 and $50 each. While the top local athletes win a pair of Brooks shoes and will have their names engraved on the George Matthews Memorial Trophy. The trophy is a perpetual award in recognition of the late Mr. Matthews, co-founder of the BMO April Fool's Run.

First seeded females are Gibsons native Kimberley Doerksen, two-time defending champion, Lisa Brooking of Vancouver and Anne-Marie Madden of Vancouver. Doerksen has recently emerged as a very strong distance runner. During March, she ran three races back-to-back-to-back and placed near the front of the field in each of them, including The Bazan Bay 5k, Modo Spring Run-Off 8k and St. Patrick's Day 5k. She finished as high as second with a time of 16:49, just behind Nanaimo's Erin Burrett, who has represented Canada in cross-country. Doerksen told Race Director Teresa Nightingale, “It would be fabulous to get the course record, and if that is paired with a new personal best, I'll be on top of the world!”

Women's winner Lisa Brooking
Women's winner Lisa Brooking (photo by Suncoast Photography)

Brooking owns a personal best of 1:17:42 and of course being a two-time defending champion is well acquainted with the route, so should provide an exciting head-to-head battle with Doerksen. She said, “This race will be my first half since my big personal best in October. I'm using this race as a fitness indicator. I had to take some unexpected time off in December and early January (due to eye surgery) so I am not as fit as hoped at this point however. I feel a sub 1:20 is reasonable. But who knows, my body may surprise me with another speedy time!”

Madden may be the oldest of the three at 33, but boasts the fastest 10km personal best of 35:11, set in the 2012 Vancouver Sun Run. That speed, plus a recent 1:18:43 half marathon last October in Victoria, should place her solidly in the lead pack on Sunday.

Ellie Greenwood
Ellie Greenwood (photo by Rita Ivanauskas)

Doerksen, Madden and Brooking may have their hands full with the very experienced ultra-distance runner from Vancouver, Ellie Greenwood. Greenwood won the 2012 Western States 100 Miler (162 kilometres) as well as the World 100 kilometre Championships two years earlier in 2010. She finished an outstanding second place at the legendary Comrades Marathon in June of 2012. The Comrades is run in South Africa and is 89 kilometres in length. Greenwood considers a half-marathon race to be 'speed work'. “I think I last ran April Fools in about 2006 or 2007. At that time, I had run some ultras and some trail races, but was still just running very much for socialising and because I enjoyed it! Since then I have moved more into being an ultra-specialist and have gained sponsors and I am much more dedicated to my training and gaining the best performances possible when I race. I still of course run for the absolute love of the sport, but I have the added aspect of being more performance driven,” shared Greenwood, when asked about her motivation for training and racing the half-marathon.

The female master's title will likely be claimed by returning champ Helen Ritchie of Vancouver, who clocked an excellent personal best marathon time of 2:56:11 a few months ago.

Number one seeded male is David Jackson of Abbotsford, who hopes to run as fast as 70 minutes, which is an excellent time on this rolling course. Jackson is a long-time elite athlete on the provincial scene in BC, and a former varsity athlete. He won the 2013 Whistler Half Marathon in the time of 71:24. Jackson has a personal best time of 1:06.30. He said, “My goal for the April 6th race is to run strong and hopefully be able to compete for the win. If I can stay with the leaders for the first half, that would be great! As for a time goal I'm not too concerned with my time — it will depend on the competition — anything around 70 minutes I'd be satisfied with.”

Kevin O'Connor
Kevin O'Connor (photo by Rita Ivanauskas)

The champion from 2012, David Palermo from Vancouver, is in the mix; however, he may not be in the condition he would like to be for the 2014 edition of the event. He will try to finish in the top three. The most interesting finish of the men may come from Vancouver's Kevin O'Connor. O'Connor is in contention to be Canada's top master-age athlete (40-plus), as he is seeking the Canadian Masters record for 10k this spring. He recently ran very well at the St. Patrick's Day 5k, where he ran 15:29 to finish 18th overall. More impressively, the next weekend, he finished fourth overall at the Modo Spring Run-Off 8k in 25:33.

Top local male to watch for is Sechelt's Jordan Wilson, who is looking for a repeat of last year's victory, only faster. The 2013 Fool's Run was Wilson's first shot at the half marathon distance, so he expects a significant improvement this time around. The Grade 12 student has been training consistently for the past year with the Chatelech Secondary Racing Team, coached by race co-director Larry Nightingale.

Late registration is available Thursday April 3rd at the Denman St Running Room in Vancouver from noon to 6pm, Saturday April 5th at the Gibsons Community Centre from 1-5pm, and race morning April 6th at the Community Centre from 7:30 to 8:45am. See www.foolsrun.com for details.

Donations to the Sunshine Coast Food Bank have been collected during online registration; participants can also bring food items to packet pickup on Saturday, and to the finish on Sunday. To date over $500 in cash donations have been received. The goal is $700 plus 3 boxes of food.

About the BMO Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run

The Fool's Run was started in 1978 as the result of a challenge between two local newspaper columnists. Now in its 37th year, this popular half-marathon and relay attracts more than 600 participants from near and far to run and walk from Gibsons Community Centre to Mission Point Park in Davis Bay (Sechelt). In addition, 50 children participate in the Sunshine Care Network Kids' Jester Dash. Local TV coverage is provided by presenting sponsor Coast Cable/Coast TV. The half marathon is race #4 of the Lower Mainland Road Race Series, which includes 11 races in the Vancouver area.

About BMO Bank of Montreal in the Community

BMO Financial Group — founded in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, Canada's first bank — has been part of the British Columbia scene for over 125 years — since 1887. BMO believes in community reinvestment and corporate and social responsibility in the communities it serves; providing donations and sponsorships to groups and programs that help build and sustain resilient and healthy communities. BMO is the bank for runners in B.C. — sponsoring the BMO Vancouver Marathon, the BMO Okanagan Marathon, the BMO St. Patrick's Day 5K and the BMO Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run. Visit www.bmo.com

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Fool's Run set for April 6; Register now and save $10

GIBSONS, BC, March 6, 2014 — The 37th annual BMO Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run, presented by Coast Cable, will see 600+ runners and walkers hoofing it from Gibsons to Sechelt on Sunday, April 6.

Title Sponsor BMO Bank of Montreal is back for a third year, providing generous support in the form of cash, volunteers, souvenir items, volunteer garments, cheering aids and team spirit. BMO the Bear will be back to provide encouragement to participants, and BMO staff will host the final water station at Jack Road.

"We're excited at BMO to be joining in the fun and frivolity of the BMO April Fool's Run again," said Debra Carson, BMO Bank of Montreal Branch Manager in Gibsons. "This is such a popular and scenic run, we just had to be involved again — as volunteers, runners and cheerleaders."

Coast Cable/Coast TV is also returning with a cash donation plus the usual well-edited 30 minute show from race day footage, to be aired on Channel 11 in the month following the event.

Custom finisher medals, post-race goodies & hot soup, professional race announcer, free shuttle buses, low entry fees and friendly volunteers are just some of the features that keep locals and visitors alike coming back year after year.

One interesting change from last year is the start time: 9:17am (8:17 for walkers). Strange, yes — but there is historical precedent. The inaugural April Fool's Day Run was scheduled for 9am on April 1st, 1978 — but co-founder Fran Berger slept in. According to the newspaper report, the other 18 participants waited around for her until exactly 9:17am before setting off.

Fast-forward to April 2013, when organizers Teresa and Larry Nightingale, unaware of this detail, jokingly chose 9:17 for a new start time after some participant feedback on last year's change from 9am to 9:30am. "It was a little too much extra time for ferry travellers to warm up, etc.," said Teresa. "Everyone was ready to go by 9:15." Also, some people hadn't noticed the new time on the website. "We thought an oddball time would be more memorable, and fit in with the event theme," said Larry.

Then Teresa checked the race history. "I wasn't really serious about the 9:17 idea until I read that," she said. "Then I knew we HAD to do it."

Visit www.foolsrun.com for the complete race weekend schedule, and to register as a participant or volunteer. Next fee increase: March 16th.

About the BMO Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run

The Fool's Run was started in 1978 as the result of a challenge between two local newspaper columnists. Now in its 37th year, this popular half-marathon and relay attracts more than 600 participants from near and far to run and walk from Gibsons Community Centre to Mission Point Park in Davis Bay (Sechelt). In addition, 50 children participate in the Sunshine Care Network Kids' Jester Dash. Local TV coverage is provided by presenting sponsor Coast Cable/Coast TV. The half marathon is race #4 of the Lower Mainland Road Race Series, which includes 11 races in the Vancouver area.

About BMO Bank of Montreal in the Community

BMO Financial Group — founded in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, Canada's first bank — has been part of the British Columbia scene for over 125 years — since 1887. BMO believes in community reinvestment and corporate and social responsibility in the communities it serves; providing donations and sponsorships to groups and programs that help build and sustain resilient and healthy communities. BMO is the bank for runners in B.C. — sponsoring the BMO Vancouver Marathon, the BMO Okanagan Marathon, the BMO St. Patrick's Day 5K and the BMO Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run. Visit www.bmo.com

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Title Sponsor BMO