Fit finishes at 2017 Totem to Totem

Marathoner Darcy Venne gets a warm welcome at the finish. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Desmond Collinson smiles after winning the men’s 10k. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
No matter how far they ran, walked, or rode in their parents’ stroller, everyone finished to the rustle of poms-poms shaken by cheerleader-in-chief, Sue Gladstone, one of many volunteers who make the race happen. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Several runners ran in pairs. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Skidegate was quiet the morning of the race — without Skidegate Days going on at the same time, runners didn’t have to thread through the candy floss line. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
For Robbie Jongewaard, the Totem to Totem was a family event – he ran the race, and his dad manned a water station. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Many said the drizzly rain was perfect running weather — some even turned it to their advantage by drinking hands-free. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Traditional Haida hats were a fine choice for anyone doing the Totem to Totem walk when it rained on Saturday. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Eagle feathers gave one runner an extra boost. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Carrie Manitopyes, right, and and Tara Stovel work their way through Skidegate on the way to finishing the half-marathon. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Ooka Pineault, doing her first-ever Totem to Totem with Tanisha Salomons, was already looking forward to more. “This is a starting point. Eventually I’ll go on to do the bigger stuff, if you give me another 10 years or more.” (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Half-marathon runner Brenda Dowsett passes the Unity Pole in Skidegate — one of two new totem poles along the Totem to Totem route. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Sabrina Frazier sported some true Haida Gwaii athletic wear: gumboots. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Ten-year-old Brody Rogers flies to the finish of his 21 km, half-marathon race. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Dave Medicus, visiting from Colorado, won the men’s marathon — his 14th marathon since 2001, it was also a sign of just how far behind Medicus has left his former habit of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Anna Kessler set a personal best while winning the women’s marathon. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
The finish-line smile on marathoner Johanna Price was pretty hard to beat, and so was her time. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
James Thompson finished a styling second in the men’s marathon. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Marathoner Marilyne Tovar rounds the final corner (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Given how he feels about running, one father needed a little extra help from his son to get over the line. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)
Friends and family of Jaylund Russ ran in his memory. (Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer)

Mist, light rain, and cheering supporters made for quick finishes at the 2017 Totem to Totem this Saturday.

Dedicated to the memory of Jaylund Russ, who would have turned 19 on Sunday, the Run for Jay brought dozens of marathoners, half-marathoners, 10k runners, and walkers to the Kay Centre start line.

“Oh man, it was beautiful — eagles overhead, views of the water, perfect running weather,” said Dave Medicus, winner of the men’s marathon.

While planning a summer trip to Haida Gwaii from his high-altitude home in Littleton, Colorado, Medicus decided to make the Totem to Totem his second marathon of the year after running the Boston in April.

Now 46, it was his fourteenth marathon since 2001.

“I love it,” he said, smiling. “I used to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day and was 80 pounds heavier.”

“I stopped smoking and started running, and it turned into an obsession of sorts.”

Ooka Pineault was also smiling when she spoke to the Observer mid-race — Pineault set a personal best by setting out early and walking the entire 10 k route with her friend Tanisha Salomons.

“Some people are looking out their window and waving at me — I like that,” she said. “It’s going to motivate me to continue.”

“If can do a 10k today, why can’t I walk for 20 minutes every other day? That’s my goal,” she added, laughing.

“Well, I probably won’t stick to it, but it’s a thought!”

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