New route for the 39th Annual Harriers Pioneer 8K

Island Race Series (Vancouver)

(Victoria, BC – January 2, 2018) The first race in the Vancouver Island Race Series – the Harriers Pioneer 8K – takes place on Sunday, January 7 at 11 am. The race – hosted by the Prairie Inn Harriers – has a new route in North Saanich. The 39th Annual Harriers Pioneer 8K will also be the first race in the BC Super Series, a series of 12 races to be run in Vancouver, Kelowna and Victoria.
The new Pioneer course is a fast rural out and back route starting on John Road in North Saanich. North Saanich Middle School on McDonald Park Road is the venue for registrations, parking and awards – a kilometre from the start and finish area. There is also parking at the visitor information centre near the finish line.
“The Harriers are thrilled to offer an all-new course on quiet, country roads where runners are more likely to see horses rather than cars,” Kathleen Birney, Race Director. “As parking at the school is limited, runners are strongly encouraged to park at the visitor information centre and allow 15 minutes to walk to the North Saanich Middle School for bib pick-up. The cut-off for race day registration is 10:15 a.m. sharp so if that's your plan, be sure to arrive good and early.”
“We expect a high level of elite athlete competition on Sunday,” said Bob Reid, Harriers Pioneer 8k High Performance Director. “We have 2016 Olympians Lucas Bruchet (5,000 Metres) and Natasha Wodak (10,000 Metres) confirmed. Wodak holds the women’s event record set in 2013 (25:28) which is also a Canadian 8k road record. Bruchet was the Pioneer champion last year winning in 23:24.”
Two men’s event record holders are also attending – Carey Nelson and Peter Butler. “Nelson set the overall Pioneer record of 22:58 in 1985 and Butler set the initial record of 23:09 in 1982, which was the first year for the Vancouver Island Race Series. These two times are the fastest on record of over 10,000 finishers since the Harriers Pioneer 8K started in 1980,” added Reid. Reid is expecting to confirm more elite athletes in the days leading up to the race.
The post-race awards ceremony will include two special presentations – the Sandy Auburn Scholarship cheque to Camosun College, and the announcement of the Pioneer Team of Champions. “For the first time ever a Harriers Pioneer All-Star Team will be named comprising the top four men and top four women over four decades of the race,” said Reid.
Runners can register online until 6 pm, Friday January 5 at, at Frontrunners, 1200 Vancouver St, on Saturday January 6 from 10 am – 3 pm, or on race day until 10:15 am. Race registration until January 5 is $30 for adults/$25 for students and $40 on race weekend.
The deadline for registering online for the series of eight races is 6 pm, Thursday, January 4. The fee is $175.The eight races comprise the Harriers Pioneer 8K on January 7, Cobble Hill 10K on January 21, Cedar 12K on February 4, Hatley Castle 8K on February 18, Port Alberni Paper Chase 15K on March 4, Comox Valley RV Half Marathon on March 18, TriStars 10K on March 25 and the Synergy Health Management Bazan Bay 5K and Series Awards on April 8.
For more information on the Harriers Pioneer 8k go to:
To register online for the Harriers Pioneer 8k and for the series go to:


Race Reviews

Race reports from running races, triathlons, duathlons, adventure races, obstacles runs, bike races and more!


Going Barefoot in the Colder Temps

Die hard barefoot runners continue on in the winter temps just as regular runners do but is it safe?

The cold temperatures have arrived and winter running is here. Dodging icy patches on the roads and sidewalks, jumping over snow piles, trying to get some traction to get your run completed safely. For the normal shoe wearer this is a feat alone but for the barefoot runner there are other things to take into consideration; for instance frostbite. A popular saying among barefoot runners is “numb feet are dumb feet”.  Basically if you are out running barefoot and you cannot feel the ground beneath your feet, get your feet covered ASAP. Losing feeling is a sign that your feet are too cold. This is when damage can occur.

Is barefoot running for everyone? Of course not. Running isn’t for everyone. Barefoot runners make it clear that this is an activity that you need to gradually build up to. You cannot just shed your shoes and go outside and become a barefoot runner.  It takes months of conditioning your feet to the conditions whether they are hot or cold. As well, you need to gradually build your distance. This is a whole new sensation to your body and one that you need to adapt too. 

Barefoot running in the winter can be done if you follow some simple tips:

  1. Warm up your feet indoors before you leave the house.  Jump up and down, run on the spot, get the blood flowing. 
  2. When you are outside don’t stop (if possible). Once you stop your core temp will drop thus allowing your feet to get cold.
  3. Wear a hat. We all know that you lose heat out of your head first. Ensure your head is covered. 
  4. Keep your core warm. When you have a warm core the heat flows throughout your body faster. 
  5. Be smart. Know your limits. If you can’t feel the ground beneath your feet, its time to cover up.

Have fun, be safe and Get Out There! Written by: Sue Strong