443 Squadron Hornets impress in TC 10K

Members of the 443 Helicopter Squadron Times Colonist 10K Run team.

Members of the 443 Helicopter Squadron Times Colonist 10K Run team.

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

Runners from 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron surprised everyone, including themselves, with a fifth-place finish in the Team category of the Times Colonist 10K race this year.

The Hornets celebrated an average time of 46:36, the top finish in the Police, Fire and Military category and better than 172 other teams registered in the annual race through the streets of downtown Victoria on April 29.

The North Saanich-based squadron took an unlikely path to the top of the race standings. They normally enter a team every year, but didn’t in 2017 after the previous team convenor transferred to another base. Hornets Team Captain Sergeant Richard Jomha agreed to take over team convening duties this year, but suffered an achilles tendon injury days ahead of the race. Those factors, coupled with a roster shortage, put their chances for success in doubt, said Sgt Jomha.

“We had three members join  just days before the race, but we were finally able to put a team together,” he said. “We were hoping to have good results, but had no idea we would do so well in such a large field of teams.”

Sgt Jomha’s wife, Nikki, and son, Spencer, a late edition to the 15-person team, were critical to the victory. Spencer was runner up for best time on the team, finishing the course in 44:29 while Nikki had the fifth best finish on the team, crossing the finish line at 46:20. Captain Brandon Philp had the top individual time for the Hornets at 42:10, good for 23rd place in the Male 25 to 29 category.

The top male and female finishers from the Hornets, Capt Philp and Nikki Jomha, will have their names engraved on the squadron’s own race trophy.

The other military participants, from Canadian Naval Reserve Unit HMCS Malahat, competed in the Government category of the race and finished with an average time of 57:43 to take eighth place in the team standings.

The next competition for the Hornets is the Navy 10k race in Esquimalt on June 17.

Hornets 10K Results
(With finish, name and time)
5th place. Combined time: 7:45:51. Average time: 46:36.

1. Capt Brandon Philp, 42:10
2. Spencer Jomha, 44:29
3. Maj Trevor Cadeau, 44:31
4. Capt Tyler Molloy, 45:20
5. Nikki Jomha, 46:20
6. Capt Marina Aude, 47:35
7. Sgt Paul Van Bommel, 48:13
8. MCpl Rene Rossignol, 48:25
9. Capt Steven Rios, 48:48
10. Capt Cody Hansen, 50:00
11. Sgt Maxime Gravel, 50:19
12. Cpl David Peterson, 50:50
13. Stacy McDonald, 1:02:24
14. Maj Sarah Thornton, 1:11:48
15. Seamus McDonald, 1:11:48

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