South Okanagan runners take top spots in Peach City RunFest

Both the top male and female half-marathon winners were from Penticton

A few clouds and a slight breeze made the perfect conditions for the more than 160 runners who came out to the 23rd annual Peach City RunFest.

Chris Swift was the first runner to make it across the finish line on Sunday, with a time of 40:19 in the 10k distance.

“It was a perfect day to race,” he said. “Nice, good cloud cover. Good temperatures and a lot of good competitors today.”

Swift had a two-minute lead over the next runner, Vancouver’s Thomas Lane, who finished at 42:12 on May 19.

A native of Castlegar, Swift had raced at RunFest a few years previously, before taking a break and returning this year.

In the half-marathon, Penticton’s Matt Bevilacqua placed first in his first time competing at RunFest.

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“It feels awesome to win here,” he said. “It’s a great place to train. I run the Channel pretty much three times a week, there and back, 14k. It’s a beautiful place, I love it. This course is a beauty too, you know, you’ve got the lake, and you’re running around the lakeshore, and you’ve got a beautiful day. Perfect weather for a marathon, it’s awesome.”

The running is about more than just staying active for Bevilacqua, who took to it after a series of misfortunes over the last year.

“My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she’s been battling breast cancer, and she’s just getting over it. She’s now cancer-free and I’m proud of her. I started running for her. To inspire her, and here we go,” he said. “And also my house burned down in February, so that kept me sane as well.

Amanda Kontkanen, who runs the five-kilometre Park Run in Penticton every weekend, was first in the women’s half-marathon and fifth overall, with a time of 1:38:40. This is Kontkanen’s second first-place finish in the half-marathon where she finished six minutes ahead of the next woman to place, Lorna Froese, with 1:44:52.

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Between the ParkRun and other races, Kontkanen gets a lot of practice.

“I do the Blossom Ten-Miler right before, which helps out to get this one going. It’s not a huge race, it’s just my size, and maybe that’s why I keep winning it,” she said with a laugh.

Jody Evans from Oroville took home the first place spot in the women’s 10k, with a time of 45:37.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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