If the past month is any indication, the business of running is booming in the Nicola Valley.

A total of 13 local foot racers took part in the 29th edition of the Vancouver Sun Run on April 21. Frank Joe was Merritt’s top finisher in one hour, one minute and 33 seconds, followed by Audrey Ward (1:05.36), Jordan Joe (1:10.01), Randy Coutlee (1:11.29), Kathy Oppenheim (1:22.50), Carianne Spahan (1:48.39), Debbie Petzelt (2:01.13), Faye Gambler (2:10.23), Shawn Bob (2:14.09), Amy Gambler (2:14.11), Tanis Haviland (2:15.03), Darla Grieshaber (2:18.00) and John Jackson (2:51.50).

All told, a record 45,765 runners took part in this year’s Vancouver Sun Run, making it the largest road race in Canada.

Two weeks later, on May 5, five Merritt area runners took in the Vancouver Marathon. Sixty-eight-year-old Darch Oborne was the only one to run the full 42.2 km distance, finishing in four hours, 27 minutes and 29 seconds, good for 2,086th place overall and 12th in his age group (M60-69).

Three locals ran the half-marathon distance: Erika Doyen (1:59.21, 153rd F30-34), Colleen Mullin (1:59.21, 125th F35-39) and Corinna Francis (2:08.36, 145th F45-49), while Wendy Silverwood completed the 8K distance in 49 minutes and 37 seconds (11th F45-49).

On the same weekend as the Vancouver Marathon, a pair of Nicola Valley educators competed in the Kal Lake Ultra Endurance Trail Run in Vernon. School District 58 superintendent Bob Peacock completed the 50K event in seven hours, 42 minutes and 15 seconds to win his age group (M60-69) and place 23rd overall. Collettville School principal Marie-Josee Bedard ran the 25K distance in 2:36.55 to finish third in her age group (F30-39) and fourth overall.

On May 12, Bedard, Hans Aabye and Bruce Wark travelled to Nara-mata to compete in the Blossom 10-Miler, the sixth event in the 2013 Interior Road Running Series. Aabye placed first overall in the field of 152 participants with a stellar time of 54 minutes and 40 seconds, over two minutes faster than second-place finisher Ryan Day from Penticton.

Wark (M60-64) and Bedard (F40-44) were both age group winners in 1:07.11 and 1:07.22, respectively.