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Dietz, Petrusic finish strong in H2H

Team relay and ultra run coming to Whistler for 2011

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The 2010 edition of the Haney to Harrison Road Relay and Ultra Run was the last of its kind, starting in Maple Ridge Saturday morning and finishing 100 km later in Harrison Hot Springs. Next year the organizers at B.C. Athletics have announced plans to move the race to Whistler.

For the most part the H2H route follows the Dewdney Trunk Road, winding up, down and around the Fraser Valley. For relay runners the sections range from 8 km to 15 km.

This year there were 198 teams in the relay, with up to eight members per team. As well, there were 21 runners going the full 100 km distance; 20 made it to the finish line.

One of those finishers was Squamish's Margreet Dietz, an experienced marathon and Ironman racer who has stepped up to both trail running and ultra races this year.

She started off with the 50-mile/80-km STORMY in Squamish on Aug. 8, where she placed 20th out of 43 starters and first in the women's 40 to 49 category. It was there that she heard about the Haney to Harrison ultra and decided to go for it.

She finished last weekend's race in 10 hours, 29 minutes and 17 seconds, fifth overall, second among women and first in her age group. Not bad considering her goal was just to get to the finish line.

"It's interesting how people get into running," said Dietz on Monday. "It literally starts with doing a run to lose a couple of pounds, and then you do your first 10-kilometre race, then your first marathon. One day you're meeting people who are doing something a little different, something that may seem crazy at first but later you start to think maybe it's not that impossible after all.

"That's the cool thing about ultra runs. If, at the end of the day, you prepare reasonably well you can finish the distance."

As well as an athlete, Dietz is a journalist and author who has written several non-fiction books about running - Running Shoes Are a Girl's Best Friend , Powered from Within: Stories About Running and Triathlon and A Work In Progress: Exercises in Writing . She's also written a book of poetry. She's currently working on a book about ultra-running, inspired by her own experiences, and keeps a blog at www.margreetdietz.com.

Dietz has completed 13 marathons and five Ironman races. While she's competitive in marathons, and her goal is to get closer to a three-hour mark, she decided heading into this year that she would take a break of sorts and sample other types of running. That's when she signed up for the STORMY.

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