Victoria’s marquee track meet, the 2013 edition of the annual Victoria Track Classic, is celebrating its 25th year on Friday, July 5th at the University of Victoria’s Centennial Stadium. One of the meet’s (and Canada’s) most talented veterans Gary Reed will be there, not as an athlete, but as a fan of the sport. “I will cherish my Victoria days forever," said Reed, upon reflection of his time in the city as an elite competitor. The main event and the finale will be the "Gary Reed 800m" race, to honour his accomplishments and dedication to the event.
Reed competed in nine Victoria Track Classics and set the event record for the 800m, with his 1:45.66 performance from the 2008 edition. When asked about his Victoria Track Classic record-breaking performance he said, “That race was very special for me. I had struggled through that year with loads of injuries. The race marked the first time I had felt decent in months. I had always loved to challenge and push my body in races, but through the early season I just could not find form. That race was special being at home and going through the bell lap I really did feel the crowd lift me and that combined with a somewhat decent level of fitness made it very exciting for me to race that night.”
Reed retired in 2011 to work in real estate in Vancouver and set up the Reed Athletics Fund. The RAF mission is to provide support to Canadian men and women attempting to participate in the Olympics and World Championships in the sport of track and field (“athletics”) during the developmental phase of their sporting careers.
The hallowed stadium track has seen many international-level performances over the years. One of those events saw the legendary Grete Waitz of Norway run two of her first professional races in Canada. At that time, in the early 1970s, she was Grete Anderson and still a teenager. She went on to compete in the 1972 Munich Olympics as a nineteen-year-old, and later won nine New York City Marathons, which is more than anyone in history. She held world records in the 3000m and the marathon, but before all that she ran at Centennial Stadium contesting the 800m and 1500m distances during the final of a three nations meet between Norway, Sweden and Canada.