Bickley breezes to Hard Knox win

Kelowna runner sets the pace for Interior Running Association race on a warm summer morning

Kelowna's Brad Bickley won the Hard Knox Challenge 12 K run for the second straight year.

Brad Bickley continued his dominance of the Interior Running Association’s 2016 road race series, breezing to a convincing victory for the second year in a row at the Fresh Air Hard Knox Challenge.

On a warm Sunday morning, the 25-year-old from Kelowna completed the 12-kilometre run in 41 minutes 53.8 seconds, almost 3 1/2 minutes ahead of second-place finisher, Josh Heinrich, of Penticton (45:21).

Kelowna’s Gary Wade was third in 46:13, while Joshua Fraser of Kelowna took fourth in 46:32.

Kelowna’s Jane Jones was the top female finisher, placing 13th overall in 55:30.

It was Bickley’s fourth win in as many tries this season on the IRA circuit. The Okanagan Athletics Club member also won the Starting Block 10K, EK’s 5K and the Midsummer 8K. He also won the Okanagan College Half Marathon this spring.

The last of nine events on the IRA road circuit, the Hard Knox Challenge featured 115 runners, with another 16 entered in the Soft Knox, covering a 3.7 km distance.

In its 30th year, the Kelowna Running Club event has also been known in the past as the Peak to Peak or Peak to Beak, reaching a distance as long as 18 km, from the peak of Knox to Quail’s Gate Winery in West Kelowna.

In its second year as the Fresh Air Hard Knox Challenge, the run has both road and trail sections, starting and ending at the base of the mountain in Sutherland Park, and includes a fast out-and-back leg along the Okanagan Lake shore, a picturesque run to Paul’s Tomb and a finishing stretch along Poplar Point Road.

Race director Jennifer Specer said the event was again well-received, by runners, organizers and volunteers.

“We had a lot of popular feedback from people who took part,” said Spencer. “In the past, with the Peak to Beak or Peak to Peak, it’s logistically been a pretty tough race to put on because you had to get approval from five districts. This event has worked out very well.”

Spencer said next year’s Hard Knox will be held in September, returning to its original 2014 date.

Age group winners from Kelowna were: Bickley (men 25-29), Kendall Cowley (women 25-29, 55:29), Siobhan Mcmanus (women 30-34, 58:18), Chris Brunet (men 35-39, 56:48), Naomi Mack (women, 1:03:48), Jane Jones (women 40-44) 55:30, Gary Wade (men 45-49, 46:13), Leslie Gamble (women 50-54, 59:07), Brenda Dickson (women 55-59, 1:12:04), Roly Muller (men 60-64, 52:37), Lynn Sparling (women 60-64, 1:11:54), Teddy Boyko (men 65-69, 1:01:23), Astrid Varga (women 65-69, 1:14:23), Diane Leonard (women 70-74, 1:06:46), and Liz Borrett (women 75-79, 1:09:11).

For complete results of the Hard Knox Challenge, visit zone4.ca.