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Czech runner takes Valley Trail Run

All Uphill from Here Seamus Frew, Jan Francke and Ashley McMillan led out of the start of this year’s Valley Trail Run. Francke took the win by more than two and a half minutes.


Jan Francke is currently in training for triathlon season, and if his result in Sunday's Valley Trail Run is any indication, he's going to be tough to beat in the Squamish XTC, Squamish Triathlon, Xterra and other local events this summer.

Francke was first across the line of the hilly 10 km run in 36:53, over two-and-a-half minutes ahead of local runner Ashley McMillan.

"I like (the course)," said Francke. "The worst part was the first hill, and not knowing the route. There were a few of us at the front, but after about a kilometre there was one guy behind me. I pushed as hard as I could to get away because I didn't know the trail. It was a very good trail for running, and good preparation for off-road triathlons."

Francke, who lives in Squamish because of the windsurfing, kiteboarding and year-round training, says he usually prefers to have someone to race with at the front but it was also nice to have a strong finish.

"The Squamish XTC is in three weeks and this gives me confidence that I'm running well on trails," he said.

Ashley McMillan crossed the finish line in 39:33, followed by Seamus Frew in 39:56.

Erin Donnelly was the fastest female runner in 46:48, followed by Ondrea Ross in 48:05 and Sarah Olner in 48:45.

Donnelly is currently in training for the Scorched Sole 50 km ultra run in Kelowna on July 3, and has been running four or five times a week for the last few months while following a program by Squamish coach and adventure racer Jen Segger. She also fits in some speed work with the Escape Route's Tuesday night trail running clinics.

She didn't have any expectations for the Valley Trail Run and was surprised to find herself in first. "I just do it for fun," she said.

"I guess I was on my own for the race, there were no other girls around. By the time we got to Tin Pants I didn't really see anybody."

In the 5 km race the fastest time belonged to John Teitzel in 19:30. Moe Jichi was second in 21:10, followed by Phil Pyatt in 22:47.

Brook Baker was the top female in 24:58, followed by Crystal Nicol in 25:53 and Melanie Day in 26:13.

All told over 93 racers registered for the 10 km run and 55 for the 5 km - not a bad turnout considering only 65 people were registered by Saturday morning.

"We signed up 30 yesterday and the rest today, so we're ecstatic over the last minute registration, which seems to be how things work around here," said event director Christine Suter.

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