Category Archives: Race Report

Race Report 2018

photo by N. Didlick

photo by N. Didlick

Totem to Totem 2018 is in the books. Results posted and 100 pics from the run are available to view and download. Special thanks to Nick Didlick for several of the beautiful pictures.
It was pretty much a perfect race day. Temperatures were cool; the skies were clear. Race Director David Seymour says, the first step in doing a race is to make it to the start line. This year we had a total of 170 people come out to walk or run the 10 km, half-marathon and full marathon – and everyone who showed up at the start line finished their event upright, healthy and, generally speaking, with a smile. Congratulations to everyone.
Our marathon is a Boston qualifier and this year we had another runner, Rebecca Black, who came third in the women’s event, qualify for Boston. Here in Canada we have thing about 4th place. We have often thought that there should be 4 places on the podium. This year’s 4th place woman in the marathon, Chandra Johnson, more than exemplified the honour and pride of being out there and doing it and working it through. Her mother ran the half-marathon and her father ran the 10 Km. But Chandra Johnson, of Port Angeles came to run her first marathon on Haida Gwaii. Her story is remarkable and she has shared it with us. We have posted a link to a video. We hope you will find a few moments to view it. Chandra has said she plans to be back to T2T next year. We look forward to seeing her.
The only record which fell this year was the number of participants in the 10 Km event. In his pre-race remarks, David Seymour, Race Director, noted that back in 2011 a total of 19 people ran the 10 km. This year a record 140 people registered for the 10 km Run to the Rock; 128 showed up on race day and ran or walked and generally had a good time finishing the 10 Km. It was impressive to see the number of young people participating – and the older ones too. Included in the 128 runners were 23 runners from Kitkatla. Ursula Jackson, Youth Co-ordinator at Kitkatla, organized the training for the group, who call themselves RIOT – Running is Our Therapy. T2T was their first 10 km. Ursula Jackson shared her feelings about getting out and completing the run.
There was also a contingent of runners from Sandspit who participated in the half-marathon taking first in the women’s half marathon and second and third in the men’s event. We hope that more people will be challenged and inspired to train to run the half-marathon and full marathon.
In addition to the runners from Kitkatla, this year’s 10K had runners from Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, New Brunswick Germany and Japan and several cities in BC. But, of course, it is the local support which truly makes this event year after year. Five of the top 10 finishers in the men’s event and.nine of the top 15 women were from Haida Gwaii. The other notable statistic, not just for the 10 Km, but for all the events, is that the women outnumber the men almost 2 to 1.
The T2T organizers are impressed with the number of number of local participants who support T2T by coming out and also with the people who make the trip and come back to Haida Gwaii to run T2T. We are happy to see you and hope you will be able to return.
The number of runners crossing the finish line was a bit overwhelming at times for our finish line crew, but they got them all. We are so appreciative of the day the finish line crew puts in including our wonderful cheerleader. They are there for all the runners from start to finish. Thanks, as always, to Robert Davidson for the medal that each runner proudly takes away. Thanks to the bike crew who rode the course giving support to the runners, particularly the marathoners. Thanks to the volunteers at St. Mary’s Spring and the ladies at Jungle Beach and out at Miller Creek, where a pair of goats came to check out what was happening. Who knows, maybe they’ll be back again next year! And the volunteers at Balance Rock they are amazing. That first hour of your day is part of what makes T2T a race to run. The runners appreciate you all – and we, the organizers, say Howa’a to all the volunteers, sponsors and participants.

Johanna Price

2017 Race Report

The weather on Haida Gwaii this summer was cool and wet. It rained hard race day morning, but about an hour before the start the rain stopped. The day stayed cool, with the odd shower, but, essentially, from the start until the last marathoner came in, the rain stayed away. For the runners, it was pretty much perfect race conditions.
Our race this year was dedicated to Jaylund Russ. Undoubtedly inspired by Jaylund, Desi Collinson, a long-time Saints player, won the 10 km run, and Jaylund’s father, Frank Russ, came third. Marco Calara of Surrey was second in the Men’s event. Julie Iverson, a past 10 km winner, took first place again this year, with Margaret Ormand of Queen Charlotte and Caitlin Meredith – the last runner to sign up for the 10 km – coming third. The turn out for the 10 km run was great, with kids and families and dogs – who ran with people, not on their own. We had a good number of participants who turned out to walk the 10 km.
Participation in the half marathon was down this year from 2016. Nevertheless, a new record was set in the women’s event by Adrienne Kaul of Terrace, with a time of 1:31:16. Carmen French of Kamloops and Wendy Geisbrecht of Cecil Lake rounded out the top three. Special congratulations to May Russ and Delavina Lawrence of Old Masset, who walked the half marathon.
Ryan Barber of Queen Charlotte, who ran the full marathon last year, won the half-marathon this year. Christopher Lightfoot of Prince Rupert took second place, while Dale Robinson, another past marathoner and 10 km participant, took third. Ben Davidson and Bernie Howlett came out again to run the half. Brody Rogers, who had some trouble with blisters early in the race, finished strong. Brody, at the age of 10, is the youngest finisher in the half-marathon at T2T. He beat his father across the finish line.
The men’s marathon was won by Dave Medicus of Colorado. James Thompson posted another sub-4 hour marathon , coming second in this year’s race. Darcy Venne of Calgary finished third. On the women’s side, Anna Kessler of Edmonton came first, Johanna Price of Calgary came second and Marilyne Tovar of Masset took third. Both Dave Medicus and Johanna Price qualified for the Boston Marathon.
Finishing a marathon by anyone’s standard is a real achievement. To the ladies from Prince Rupert who came to run it together, to Shannon, Leah, Yoolina, Donna, George and David congratulations. Two of this year’s participants have run more than their share around the world, finally coming to Haida Gwaii. Maria Pemberton of Vancouver ran her 61st marathon and Garrath Douglas of Calgary ran – well – he’s lost count – but he thinks it’s somewhere close to 80.
Congratulations to everyone who ran this year. Thanks – Howa’a – to all the volunteers.

2016 Totem to Totem Haida Marathon – 10th Anniversary!

2016 marked the 10th Anniversary of Totem to Totem and it was quite the celebration. Records fell in the Women’s 10km, the Women’s half-marathon and the Women’s marathon. A new record was also set in the men’s half-marathon, which had an exciting tie for first place. The overall winner in the 2016 marathon was a woman. We had more registrants than ever before, more than 170. A total 154
participants for our three events came to the start line and every one who came out to walk or run crossed the finish line.
No party is complete without special guests. Olympic gold medalist Clara Hughes and her husband Peter Guzman, who were visiting Haida Gwaii, came out to volunteer added to the celebration of the day. Clara and Peter came out to volunteer. Mr. Guzman cycled part of the race course, inspiring the runners, while Clara Hughes, after helping with race preparation, walked the 10 km with May Russ of
Old Massett and then welcomed runners at the finish line, handing out the beautiful Robert Davidson medals. She also made the presentations to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers in each event. Robert Davidson, whose ongoing support for T2T is deeply appreciated. was also on hand. Mr. Davidson ran the 10 km event again this year.
Besides the event records, there were many personal bests on the day and as always the local component of the race was evident with friends and families coming out to participate, run their events and have fun. Congratulations to everyone!

T2T 2015 – Coming in Hot!

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T2T 2015 Race - 171 T2T 2015 is behind us now. Like each year, this race was memorable for what made it unique. And in 2015 it was the heat. Although our event is held in the middle of July, the temperatures are usually quite moderate. Not so in 2015. Haida Gwaii, like most of BC, was in the midst of a heat wave. As our wonderful cheerleader stood at the finish line cheering on the runners and shouting out “COMING IN HOT!” She was not just talking about the speed of the runners. Many runners, especially in the half and full marathons felt the heat of the day as temperatures got up to the mid-twenties. A couple had to drop out – one stopped for coffee and decided that was enough.
T2T 2015 Race - 020Despite the heat, we still had a new record for the Women’s 10km and several runners had personal bests. In 2015 we had three generations from one family taking part: mother, daughter, grand-daughter. The kids came to run! We had three young girls who each ran the 10km. That’s impressive – and maybe a challenge to the boys.
2015 will also be remembered for the T2T medal – a stunning design given by Robert Davidson. Every finisher in each race received this beautiful medal. And it will be around as a part of our event for many years to come.
T2T 2015 Race - 039Of course, what is impressive is how the community comes to support this run. We sincerely appreciate seeing the fathers and sons, sisters, husbands and wives and friends who come in July to Run Haida Gwaii. There cannot be enough said about the volunteers who come out on race day. The Finish Line Crew, who are there from beginning to end. The Balance Rock team who see every runner – the marathoners and half marathoners twice. The teams at Miller Creek, Jungle Beach and St, Mary’s Spring, the cyclists and the drivers – all of whom come out and make the event possible and safe for the ru
nners. And those behind the scenes, helping to organize. Your time and your effort is sincerely appreciated. Howa’a. We hope to see you in 2016.

2013 Race Report

Totem to Totem Marathon : Saturday, July 20, 2013
The sixth Totem to Totem Marathon, Half Marathon and 10 km run are behind us now. But as I reflect on the 2013 events, I hope it is a sign of things to come. More people competed this year in the marathon and half-marathon events with 15 marathoners and 26 half-marathoners. Fourteen (14) competed in the 10km.

The trend of having runners from other parts of Canada – and the world – continued in 2013 as we had participants from Australia, the Phillippines, New York, California, Ontario, Alberta, B.C. and, of course Haida Gwaii. What made this year special was not only that we had runners returning to compete in the events, but that records fell as everyone seemed to up their game a notch. It wasn’t only the course records which were bettered, it was the personal records as well. Friends came out to run with friends and support each other.
A part of me wants to single out every runner for their individual achievement – the list would be long and impressive. Records fell in the men’s marathon, the men’s and women’s half-marathon and the men’s 10 km. I believe it can only get better. We had three first time marathoners who finished with a time better than their expectations going into the race. We had runners who moved up from the 10 km to participate in their first half-marathon and runners who returned to run the half with new personal bests. The 10K had returnees and new competitors, but I have to say – Gentleman come out and run the 10 km! The women outnumbered the men 2 to 1 in the 10K.

DSC_0134A personal best isn’t always a matter of the time on the clock, it’s just getting out there and doing it and for that I give a special nod to Tawni Davidson who came out and ran her first half-marathon. She finished with the support of her friends and family. When she was out there on the course on her own she had three words written on her arm to inspire her to keep going: “I can run.”

The first goal of running a race is to show up, the second is to finish upright and healthy. Everyone who participated this year achieved those goals in part because of good training and clear determination and, in part, because of the volunteers who were on the course to support the runners. A Big Thanks to all the volunteers who came out. It’s great that you’re there and this race could not happen without you. The runners were especially grateful to the people at the water stations and those who cycled and drove the race route making sure they were all okay. And we, as the organizers, know we could not do it without you. Howa’a.

Thanks to our sponsors. Your ongoing support makes this event possible.

Save the Date

The Totem to Totem Marathon, Half-Marathon and 10 km race

July 19, 2014

Keep on training!
A special thanks to Yves Leterme, master calligrapher from Belgium, who helped to re-design the 2013 T2T logo. It’s not a font – it’s handwritten!

DSC_0361Potenciano Larrazabal came from the Phillippines. He came third and got a personal best time. Peter Burns, from Delta, came second in the marathon, achieved a personal best and qualified for the Boston Marathon. Richard Jones, from Queen Charlotte City who won the men’s marathon. He improved his time from last year by almost seven minutes and set a new T2T marathon record. The women also ran an impressive race. Erin Barclay and Suzanne Leblanc both had sub-four marathons and both may have qualified for Boston. It was the first marathon for Terri-Lynn Williams Davidson , James Thompson and Alvaro Palazuelos. All three finished.

The Half-Marathon was equally exciting. Angela Gross of Queen Charlotte City won the women’s race, while Stephen Ptucha of Richmond, last year’s men’s marathon winner, won the men’s. Both Angela and Stephen’s times were new T2T half-marathon records. Robin Rorick of Skidegate moved up from the 10 km race and took second place in the men’s event, while Colin McKay of Richmond, who was fifth last year, came in third.
This year’s 10 km run was won by MP Nathan Cullen with a new course record of 37:13. Ian Benoit of Queen Charlotte was second at 49:16; Johnny Smith of Skidegate was third with a time of 1:04:01. Julie Iverson of Vancouver won the women’s event at 50:39. Robyn Boese of Queen Charlotte was a very close second at 50:40; third was Cathy Baran of Sandspit at 55:21.

Local Highlights from T2T 2013

Richard Jones – the first local runner to win the marathon and set a course record.
Angela Gross – the first local woman to win the half-marathon and set a new course record.
It was the first marathon for James Thompson and Terri-Lynn Williams Davidson
It was the first half-marathon for Robin Rorick, Tawni Davidson and Natalie Pearson, all of whom had previously competed in the 10 km. It was also the first T2T half-marathons for Patrick Higgins and Matthew Zuccolo
Ben Davidson and Vanessa Bellis, who had previously run the full marathon, also ran their first T2T half-marathons.

Stephen Tollas of Skidegate had a personal best with a time of 2:19:07, knocking 17 minutes off of last year’s time.

2012 Totem to Totem Marathon: Race Report

Saturday, July 21, 2012
The 2012 Totem to Totem Marathon, Half-Marathon and 10 km run are done. This year the event was special. The overall numbers were up. The number of locals taking up the running for the first time was up too. The number of off island runners participating was amazing. This year Totem to Totem went National and International. We had runners from Alberta and Ontario. Moreover we had international runners from Alaska, North Carolina, Florida, Vietnam, and the Netherlands.

The stories told, the friendships made and the love shared could not be fully described in words. Like marathon moments, that sweet mixture of the senses, a view never to be forgotten, and the emotions of success, we the runners enjoyed this event in such a way as it will be a forever time to remember.

The story of the marathoner who ran 155 marathons running alongside the “newbie.” The seven-time marathoner with a previous best time of 5:38 finishing in 5:25:50. The first time half-marathoners. Our first walker for the half marathon. And, the three 10k runners who stopped to shop in the village but carried their purchases to the finish line to complete the run. It was great to see those who returned and we look forward to seeing them again. Everyone enjoyed this year’s event.

Some marathons are hot some are cold; Haida Gwaii has weather for all. The weather at the marathon start was cool but after they were gone the weather turned to rain for the 10 km. However, this rain was so localized that it did not rain on the whole race. It is something when you are running alongside another and you have to discuss if the mist is rain or just water blown up from the ocean. We saw sun and there was a bit of a crosswind. The weather story at the start line from the volunteers that stand and wait for runners is always unique. They seem each year to get the four seasons while we who run get summer and spring only. To them and to all the volunteers, we say Howaa (thank you). It is those people that make this thing happen.
Race times will be posted next week as our web mistress will be in Masset for a break.

Totem to Totem 2013 is set for Saturday July 20, 2013