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Engaged champs return to defend Whistler Spirit Run titles

Sports Briefs: Lumpy Award Winner, Coaches Sought at Wss and Netball Begins



Defending Whistler Spirit Run champs Chris Winter and Rachel Cliff are back again this year, but with a twist.

When they return to Whistler Olympic Park on Sunday Sept. 28 to defend their titles, they come back after getting engaged this summer.

Winter, a member of the national steeplechase team, finished the eight-kilometre course with a time of 26 minutes and 14 seconds last year, while Cliff, who won the women's Sun Run race this year, finished the women's six-kilometre course with a time of 21:23:56.

But the annual event, now in its seventh year, isn't all about the high-performance athletes and the prize purse. There are also events for the whole family including the one-kilometre Family FUN RUN at 2 p.m. followed by the 4x2 km relay at 2:30 p.m.

The Whistler Spirit Run is part of the Lower Mainland Cross Country series.

"There are races for highly competitive people," said Peter Diemer, president of the Whistler Spirit Run, of what he calls the premier race that typically draws about 300 participants.

"And then we round out the day with a number of races aimed at elementary, junior-high and high-school age kids."

But it is not just the rare prize money that draws racers.

"I think it's (also) the setting," said Diemer, describing the spectacular Whistler Olympic Park venue.

"A lot of people make a weekend out of it as well."

The Whistler Spirit Run, he added, was the first non-winter sport at Whistler Olympic Park, using the facility two years before the Olympics.

Ski jumping returns to Callaghan

Ski jumping is back — this weekend, and the rest of the winter season.

Whistler Sport Legacies is resurrecting the Olympic sport with a new multi-week training program in the corridor this winter.

Two new training jumps have been constructed — 20 metres and 40 metres — that will allow young jumpers to learn in a beginner-friendly facility.

"Together with the local Nordic clubs we will not only be offering cross-country, but also exciting ski jumping, biathlon and multi-sport programs throughout the season," said John Heilig, manager of Nordic sports at Whistler Olympic Park.

This weekend, during the annual Whistler Spirit Run, children and youth can try out ski jumping as well as biathlon.

Between 12:30 and 3:30 p.m. children between eight and 14 years old, can test their mettle with Whistler Olympic Park's sport school staff at the bottom of the Large Hill Ski Jump with some free ski jumping and biathlon sport demos.

Lumpy Leidal Award

The annual Lumpy Leidal Award and grant, which goes to a youth WORCA member who is active in both racing and the mountain biking community, was given out last week.

This year's award went to Stephanie Denroche, one of a handful of female riders to win the award in its 16 years. Denroche competed in both downhill and cross-country events this season, and was a regular at local races.

Past winners include Will Routley, who went on to become a national road champion, and Brandon Semenuk, the world's top freerider.

by Andrew Mitchell —

WSS seeks coaches

With students back in the classroom, the new athletic director at Whistler Secondary School is looking for parent coaches for school teams.

The immediate need is for volleyball coaches — the season kicks off immediately.

The volunteer community coaches will mentor students aged 12 to 17 years with practices and games requiring a commitment of two or three days a week. Practice times are after school, from 3 to 6 p.m., but times are flexible. Games will involve travel to neighbouring schools.

A criminal record check and driver's abstract are required.

In you are interested, contact Jeannette Kwiatkowski at

Netball league set to start season

The Whistler Netball League is set to start another season of games beginning Wednesday, Oct. 15 at 7.30 p.m. Team and individual registration is at Longhorn on Monday, Oct. 6 at 6 p.m.

This season, Gibbons Life is officially supporting the league by providing vouchers for the volunteer umpires, uniform tops for the umpires, and sponsorship of the Gibbons Grizzlies netball team.

"At Gibbons we believe that if our team and community are thriving, then we will too," said Joey Gibbons, Gibbons CEO.

"Initiatives like the netball league make Whistler a fun place to live, our staff engage with it, as does the wider community, and we're proud to be part of something that brings people together."

Myrtle Philip Community School has been a key supporter in the success of the Whistler Netball League. They have allowed for the lining of their indoor gym to provide netball courts for the league.

Whistler Netball League brought the game of netball to life in Whistler at the start of 2013, so that there was another social activity for friends, colleagues and people new to town to be involved in during the cold winter nights. The league runs a mixed competition for local adults, which after its successful first season has continued with fall, spring and winter seasons including a tournament between Whistler and Vancouver netball teams.

"Every season has brought together a great group of expat athletes who love the game of netball," said Steph Ball, Whistler Netball League founder.

"The local competition and teams get stronger each season, and it's going to be fantastic to watch which team with the most strengths will take the next premier."

To contact the Whistler Netball League, or for more information, go to, and follow Whistler Netball League on Facebook or 'whistlernetball' on Instagram. Email

Radio-control car racing starts in Squamish

The Area99 Radio Control Racing Club will be hosting Event #1 of the Squamish Shootout on Saturday, Sept. 27 at the Automind Raceway at 38942 Bowen Avenue — with off-road racers entered from all corners of the Sea to Sky the day promises to be an epic winner-take-all battle

There will be organized racing for all skill levels, and all hobby-grade electric R/C vehicles are welcome. Racing speeds off at 1 p.m. sharp, and spectators are encouraged to come along. Entry is free.

To find out more information, or sign-up to be an event volunteer go to the Area99 R/C Racing Club Facebook page, or emailing

Saints still recruiting

The Whistler Saints find themselves 0-2 on the season after a close 18-6 loss to the West Vancouver Falcons.

Lachlan Rhode opened the scoring for the saints with a 10-yard run from scrimmage. Other highlights for the saints included a 60-yard scamper by Quinn Goertzon to set up the score.

The defence had strong performances from Kolby Wilton and Trenton Schumann. Leif Gascoine also had an exceptional game on Special Teams.

The Saints are still recruiting for the season- interested players can contact coach Ralph Forsyth at