Ken Richardson competed for his school for the first time last weekend. And the race came few weeks after he attended his 50th class reunion.
Richardson, a Port McNeill ambulance attendant, finished second in the men’s 65-69 age group for the third straight time in the annual Victoria Marathon, in a time of 3 hours, 38 minutes and 46 seconds. The time was good enough to qualify him to return to the Boston Marathon, where he has run once before.
In Victoria, Richardson wore the gold track-and-field singlet of Vancouver College, a private boys school in Vancouver. It was offered during the reunion for his graduating class of 1962, for the purpose of wearing in the marathon.
“I was not involved in competitive sports in high school, so it was fun to wear school colours at this event,” said Richardson, who did not take up competitive running until he was in his 60s.
Richardson’s overall placing was 254th of 925 men entered, with an age-adjusted equivalent finish of 21st overall.
Port Hardy’s Steve Holm also competed, placing 96th among men and 12th in the 45-49 age group in a time of 3:13:41.
Claudia Nordin of Port Alice finished in 4:31:14, good for 393rd among women and 39th in the ladies 50-54 age group.
Since placing third in his age group in Victoria in 2006, Richardson has run the 26.2-mile marathon three more times, finishing as runner-up each time.
“At the 30K mark I was still in the lead in my age group and on track to beat my personal best time of 3:26:12, set in Seattle in 2008,” he said. “However, I totally ran out of energy after that and my pace fell off by about a minute per kilometer.”
Richardson’s time was still good enough to qualify him for the Boston Marathon in each of the next two years. He does not plan to run the race in 2013, but is looking forward to the 2014 event, when he will race for the first time in the men’s 70-74 age division.
“It’s good to know that I now have guaranteed entry,” he said. “In the meantime I will look to improve my qualifying time in other runs so I can be in a starting corral with faster runners.”