Pioneer 8K race sets off from Saanich Fairground this Sunday

Central Saanich locale features suburban and rural roads.

Natasha Wodak of the Prairie Inn Harriers Running Club was the top female finisher in the 2015 Pioneer 8K. She also holds the course record.

The first footrace in the Vancouver Island Race Series takes place this Sunday, Jan. 10 at the Saanich Fairground in Central Saanich.

The Pioneer 8K runs at 11 a.m. with race day registration taking place on site starting at 9:30 a.m. The event is the 37th annual and is hosted by the Prairie Inn Harriers Running Club.

The course is described as mostly undulating suburban and rural roads and weather is typically cool — but check local forecasts in order to dress and prepare properly.

The BC Athletics-sanctioned event kicks off the Island racing series, which consists of eight events throughout the year. It’s also part of a 12-race series through the province. For details, see bcathletics.org.

Last year, the Pioneer 8K was won overall by Point Grey runner Theo Hunt. The top female finisher was the Harriers’ Natasha Wodak — who also holds the women’s course record of 25:28, set in 2013. The men’s course record holder is Carey Nelson (22:58) set in 1985.

The event includes a variety of age categories, making the race open to almost anyone. Medals are up for grabs, as are cash prizes to the top three senior and masters male and female finishers. For details, visit pih.bc.ca.