By Andrew Mitchell
The annual North Shore Dirty Duo took place this past weekend with solo racers and teams of two tackling a very difficult course. There were several categories available — a 50 km ultra run, a 25 km run, a 15 km run, and a 25 km run and 30 km mountain bike race for solos and teams.
The event takes place on some of the steepest, most rugged terrain anywhere, and this year there was snow throughout the middle sections of the course.
Squamish’s Jen Segger-Gigg and Gary Robbins, both formerly of Whistler, both ran the ultra category and won their respective divisions.
Robbins completed the 50 km run in four hours, 25 minutes and four seconds, more than 10.5 minutes ahead of the next-fastest runner. There were 22 athletes in the category altogether, including some top trail runners from the Lower Mainland.
“It was my first solo victory and it just felt amazing,” said Robbins.
Segger-Gigg won the women’s race with a time of 4:39:03, which would have been good enough to finish third among the men. It was so good that the second place runner, who finished almost 27 minutes later, protested the results. She was overruled, as other runners and marshals testified to seeing Segger-Gigg on course.
Segger-Gigg recently moved to Squamish, which she says has paid off. “The terrain was tough, so I think being able to train year-round in Squamish is paying off when it comes to these early season races,” she said.
Segger-Gigg’s next competition is a five-day adventure race in Baja, Mexico with Team DART-nuun. That race gets underway on March 25.
Megan Rose did the mixed run and bike race, placing third in the women’s category with a time of 6:32:15.
In the team category, Duncan Munro finished the first 25 km leg in third place before handing off to Chris Clark — the winner of the 2006 Samurai of Singletrack. Clark made his way to first place before he flatted out on the top section of course and was passed by two riders while fixing his tire. In the end the team placed third in 4:51:50, less than two minutes out of second and less than six minutes back of first place.
“It was super fun,” said Munro. “I highly recommend this race for anybody who wants to explore the North Shore. It’s also a great low-key event with a good atmosphere.”
Running was almost impossible given the terrain, he said.
“You can’t compare running North Shore to any other terrain. You never really get to make a full running stride, you’re either going up or you’re going down. The descents are just relentless and technical, so you’re jumping and hopping from spot to spot. You really have to focus, because if you don’t you could end up wiping out and maybe breaking a leg or something. There’s no soft landings.”
All of the bike stunts in the snowy top section also made things difficult, and Munro fell on one icy bridge to slightly injure his back. “Everything was just covered in ice, you had to be really careful. It could have been a lot worse.”
This Friday Munro will find out if his name was picked in the draw for the Knee Knackering North Shore Trail Run, a 50 km ultra run that starts at Horseshoe Bay and finishes at Deep Cove.