Runners take off from the Marine Drive starting line at the Sandcastle City Classic race Sunday morning in White Rock.

Newton runner leads Surrey sweep at Sandcastle City Classic

New five-km route draws varied field of runners, walkers to White Rock's Marine Drive.

Local runners pulled off a clean sweep of the podium at Sunday’s Sandcastle City Classic 5K run.

The annual event – this year, pared down from its traditional 10-km distance – was won by Newton resident Bilal Shamsi, who clocked a blistering time of 15 minutes and 34 seconds, which was a 1:36 quicker than the rest of the field.

“The race went awesome,” Shamsi told Peace Arch News.

“Great crowd… and the amazing views (running along Marine Drive) helped as well.”

Rounding out the medal positions were a pair of South Surrey runners who are no stranger to the Sandcastle City Classic podium – Drew Nicholson, who won silver with a time of 17:10; and Tyler Ginther, who placed third in 17:31.

Richmond’s Stephen Ptucha was fourth, 17 seconds back of Ginther, and White Rock’s Chris Barth – another former Sandcastle podium-finisher – rounded out the top five, with a 17:51 time.

The first woman across the line was Vancouver runner Jen Mroz, who finished eighth overall, out of a 106-competitor field, in 18:09.

This year’s five-km distance marked the second time in as many years that race organizers adjusted the course. For 2015, the 10-km loop returned to its historic start/finish line along Marine Drive at Bayview Park, after the 2014 event was altered due to road construction along the waterfront.

This year, the race was shortened as a way to attract more participants, including those choosing to walk the Marine Drive route, which again started and finished at Bayview Park.

“The new distance worked really well, and was especially suitable for a more varied running and walking set – from young to old,” said race director John Makepeace, a member of the host Semiahmoo Sunrunners.

“It had a really nice family-fun atmosphere. We had participants from eight to 86 (years old).”

The Sandcastle City Classic is part of the Lower Mainland Road Race series.

For full results, visit www.lmrrs.com

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