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Higgins, Burke set pace in Valley Trail Run

Weather keeps numbers down but enthusiasm still high

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The numbers were down for the 13 th Annual Whistler Valley Trail Run last Sunday, May 30, but with all the rain and cold in the days leading up to the race the organizers weren’t surprised by the lower turnout.

Still, the event did raise more than $2,500 for the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, from registration and T-shirt sales.

The rain held off for the 70 runners and walkers that turned out this year, and the cooler air gave them a reason to get going at the start. Some 14 of the runners in the 10 km race broke the 40-minute milestone, and three runners in the 5 km broke 20 minutes.

The first 10 km runner across the line this year was local triathlete David Higgins, who finished in a time of 36 minutes, 17.58 seconds.

"I’m very happy with my time," said Higgins. "This is the first thing I’ve every won in my life at this distance. I was just amazed to do this well – my days of winning races should be over. I just came out to get a bit of a run in, it was always more of a social thing."

Higgins, who was running in the men’s 30 to 39 category, said he actually preferred the weather, although it took some getting used to.

"The weather was actually perfect. It was a little cool at the start, but that made you go a little faster to warm up, and once you were into it, it was actually quite nice," said Higgins.

Higgins is currently training for a pair of half-Ironman and Olympic distance triathlons over the summer.

He was followed in the category by Paul Nicholas in 37:53.04 and Duncan Munro in 38:48.99.

Munro, who runs a local trail running company, was happy to break the 40-minute mark. "Running on pavement, on a hilly course like that, I’m pretty happy with my time," he said.

Scott Taber was the second-fastest runner overall in 37:17.71, winning the men’s 40 to 49 group. John Blok was second in 38:36.47 and Bob Deeks third in 39:16.78.

In the men’s 50 and Over race, Jannie Grobler finished in 39:01.75. Bryan Walhovd was second in 54:10.21.

The first woman across the line was Val Burke running in the women’s 30 to 39 race. She crossed the line in 40:26.01, a minute faster than the previous year.

"There were a lot of good women who weren’t running today, but I’ll take the win," said Burke.

Burke coaches several local runners and triathletes, including men’s winner David Higgins, but rarely competes herself.

"I have three kids now, so I mostly just run for fun these day and come out for local races.

"The people I coach keep me moving pretty fast."

The second woman was Marie-Anne Prevost in 42:43.48, followed by Christine Suter in 45:57.53, all in the 30-39 category.

In the women’s 40 to 49 group, Lois Lemieux had the top time of 52:04.47 and Barbara Boulanger was second in 1:02.11.

Pattie Ritchie was the top 50 and Over runner in 50:04.96, and Jill Jacques and Heather St. Arnaud were in at 54:42.44 and 1:03:36.14 respectively.

In the 5 km 15 and Under category, Char Reiss finished in 20:16.23, the fourth-fastest 5 km time of the day.

In the 20 to 39 category Sean McCreanor came in at 17:38.42, Mark Pauw in 21:02.92 and Christine McLeod in 23:03.13.

The second-fastest run of the day belonged to Brenda Baker in the 40 and Over group with a time of 18:17.11. Alaine Rey was second in 18:45.08 and Jinny Ladner third in 24:52.73.

The next local run is the annual Spud Valley Run in Pemberton, a 7 km race and fundraiser.

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