A high school runner from Port Alberni has emerged the winner of the 2019 Vancouver Island Race Series.
Mackenzie Loyer, 15, competed in the 16–19-year age category, often racing against runners in their first year of university.
The VIRA is a series of eight road races held over the winter and spring on Vancouver Island. The series this year included the 15-kilometre Paper Chase that started at the Cherry Creek Community Hall in March.
Loyer started running in 2016 when she was 12 years old. “I put her in the No. 7 Challenge…it’s where you race the (steam) train and end up at McLean Mill,” said Loyer’s mother, Alana Brown.
“At 12 she won the 23 and under division and since then it’s been non-stop racing for this girl.”
In March 2018 Loyer ran her first international race, the Valley to the Sea Half Marathon in Maui, Hawaii. Only 14 years old at the time, she finished in just under two hours. She finished first in her division.
Loyer aspires to run the Boston Marathon one day. She has competed with the ADSS track team, run in the Vancouver Island Race Series for two years, competed in cheerleading and was a youth ambassador for the Tri-Conic Challenge in Port Alberni in 2017.
Loyer said she is disappointed that the Race the Train event has been cancelled since the trains are not running in Port Alberni this year, but it hasn’t stopped her advancing her running opportunities.
She is now training hard with her school track team as well as preparing for a few 30 km mountain races including the Kusam Klimb in Sayward on June 22 and Finlayson Arm races at Goldstream Provincial Park Sept. 6–9.