Mackenzie Loyer participated in the Valley to the Sea Half Marathon in Maui on March 17. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Mackenzie Loyer participated in the Valley to the Sea Half Marathon in Maui on March 17. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Alberni racer takes on Valley to Sea

Mackenzie Loyer started out racing against the train

A local athlete’s love for running has taken her all the way to Hawaii.

14-year-old Mackenzie Loyer participated in the Valley to the Sea Half Marathon in Maui on March 17. The race started in the Iao Valley, where the Iao Needle is located. This translates in Hawaiian as “The God of the Ocean.” It was pitch black in the park, and hundreds of people were bussed in on large transport busses. At the start of the race, cell phones and head lamps were the only source of light.

She came in at under two hours, which wasn’t her best time, but she had never raced at 5 a.m. in 76-degree heat.

At the end of the race, she was presented with a beautiful finisher’s medal and topped it off with first place in her division.

It was Loyer’s first international marathon which made it even more exciting. Seeing all the different states and even countries that fellow marathoners were from was surreal for her. Loyer is only 14, and has mostly been running in 10 km races.

Loyer competed in the No. 7 Challenge two years ago, racing the train to end up at the McLean Mill. At 12 years old, she won the 23 and under division, and since then it has been non-stop racing. Last summer, she took part in the Tri-Conic Challenge, where she was the Youth Ambassador. She won the all-around division in the race against the train, the bike to Bamfield and the swim at Sproat Lake. She said she was so honoured to participate in this event with Gord Johns, and has received great support from the people in her community.

Loyer is a grade 9 student at ADSS and although she loves running, she also participates in soccer, softball, cross country and track. She is also on the ADSS Cheerleading team. Every two weeks Mackenzie has been taking part in the Vancouver Island Race Series, going to the mainland for her cheerleading competitions and then catching a ferry into Victoria to participate in the series Sunday Morning. She is looking forward to the ADSS track season, which starts next week, and is hoping to qualify for the BC Summer Games in Lake Cowichan this summer. She hopes to run the Boston Marathon in two years.

So what does a 14-year-old do after running 13.1 miles in Maui? Goes surfing for five hours, of course.