By Andrew Mitchell
With sun shining and perfect running temperatures a sold out field of 75 runners tackled the 22 nd annual Rubble Creek Classic on Sunday — the largest turnout in race history.
The course is 25 km long, and follows the Helm Creek trail 800 metres up to the Taylor Meadows/Garibaldi Lake area behind Black Tusk before descending over 1,000 metres to the finish line at the bottom of the Garibaldi/Rubble Creek trail.
Vancouver’s Volker Schneider placed first overall with a time of two hours, 12 minutes and 27 seconds, followed closely by Squamish adventure racer Gary Robbins in 2:12:56. Robbins also raced the 71 km Cheakamus Challenge mountain bike race the day before, placing eighth out of 70 riders in his category.
Third place went to Mike Edwards who, despite making a wrong turn, finished in a time of 2:14:51. Edwards also raced the Cheakamus Challenge, where he placed 15 th .
Fourth place went to Mt. Currie’s Sean Wolfe in 2:17:40, while Duncan Munro — who also made a wrong turn — raced back to finish fifth in 2:18:54.
Sarah O’Byrne, who raced the 42 km Cheakamus Challenge short course the previous day and placed second, was the top female on Sunday in 2:30:40. Marieve Legrand was second in 2:34:10, and Megan Rose — another Cheakamus Rider — was third in 2:37:30. Just over one minute back of Rose was her adventure race partner Lina Augaitis, who also did the full Cheakamus course the day before.
According to race organizer James Retty of the Escape Route, everything went as well as could be expected.
“The race was full with 75 people, which was good — we don’t want it to grow any larger than that, it’s really a very special race,” he said. “It was also the most competitive field we’ve ever had, but we also had a lot of people who have been doing this race for years or are just starting to get into trail running.”
Retty says the record turnout is a testament to the growing popularity of trail running in Whistler and elsewhere.
“It’s become the perfect summer business for Escape Route, trail running is perfect for what we do,” he said. “We’ve all been trail runners for years now, but it’s become really popular. Now we have a race like Comfortably Numb, which we help sponsor, we have a trail running clinic every Tuesday night that gets more popular all the time, hash runs at the end of every month, and the Rubble Creek to kind of tie up the season.
“People who didn’t used to enjoy running are discovering trail running, and they really dig it.”
One runner got seriously lost on the course, and another runner fell within half a kilometre of the finish line and required stitches in her knee. Otherwise, Retty says, the race went quite smoothly.
Complete results will be posted online at www.s2srun.com .
The Rubble Creek Classic is the second-last event of the six-race Sea 2 Sky Trial Running Series. The last event is the 12 km Lumpy’s Epic Run in Pemberton on Oct. 14.