There was a huge turnout for the annual 5 Peaks Trail Running Series events in Whistler last Saturday, with close to 500 runners taking part in the 10.6 km Enduro, 4.9 km sport and 1 km Kids Challenge races.
While shorter than some 5 Peaks races, most runners would say that the Whistler event - taking place on a series of roads and trails through the alpine of Whistler Mountain - is one of the toughest. The climbs are long and unforgiving and the downhills steep and technical. After a long climb up to the peak of Whistler, the Enduro racers go all the way back down to Harmony Lake before the uphill finish.
Edward McCarthy of Vancouver placed first overall in the Enduro, completing the course in 55:09 while averaging a kilometre every 5:13. James Richardson of Vancouver was second by roughly a minute and a half in 57:24, while Ryan Ervin of North Vancouver was third in 59:34. They were the only three runners to break the one-hour mark.
"It was a lot harder than I thought," said McCarthy, who was racing the course for the first time. "The uphills were really long and steep, but then the downhills were really steep and technical. I'm also not used to the altitude, I do most of my running in Vancouver and everything is pretty close to sea level. That hurt a lot more than I expected."
McCarthy, who is in training for the world mountain running championships, says he broke out on the first climb with a group of runners, but was on his own by the time the course headed out to Harmony. He did the odd shoulder check to see if any runners were gaining on him, but otherwise didn't look at his watch and tried to run his own race.
"I did a few shoulder checks, mostly on the climbs because I didn't feel like I was going that fast. To be honest I think I'm a little better on the downhill sections, that's where I made my best time. You never know who's sneaking up behind you."
The top female runner across the line was Emily Solsberg in 1:08:06, followed by Martina Ramage in 1:09:28 and Mirabelle Tinio in 1:09:54. All hail from Vancouver.
The top Whistler runner was Lee Churchill in fourth place overall and third in the male 30 to 39 category with a time of 1:00:46. Ben Biswell was fifth overall and second in the 20 to 29 age category in 1:01:08.
Greg Camirand was seventh in Male 20 to 29 in 1:05:18 while Camille Cheskey was 17 th overall and first in male 15 to 19 in 1:06:34.
Kevin Hodder was fifth in male 40 to 49 in 1:11:00.
Barry McClure was third in male 50 to 59 in 1:11:55.
Walter Wallgram was sixth in male 50 to 59 in 1:13:00.
Warren Warner was 18 th in male 30 to 39 in 1:13:09.
Venetia McHugh was the top Whistler female, placing 47 th overall and fourth in female 30 to 39 in 1:14:07.
Craig Johnson was 22 nd in male 30 to 39 in 1:14:58.
Martin Kyndbol was 13 th in male 20 to 29 in 1:18:37.
Erin Donnelly was sixth in female 20 to 29 in 1:20:27.
Cathy Jenkins was second in female 40 to 49 in 1:23:36.
Heather Armitage was eighth in female 20 to 29 in 1:24:26.
Robert Flynn was 47 th in male 30 to 39 in 1:34:36.
Katie Holden was 13 th in female 20 to 29 in 1:35:56.
Craig Smith was 15 th in male 50 to 59 in 1:39:20.
Tami Mitchell was 22 nd in female 30 to 39 in 1:42:20.
Chandra Kipfer of Squamish was 21 st in female 30 to 39 in 1:38:49.
Jesse Lyman of Shawnigan Lake was first in the men's Sport course in 28:22, followed by Doug De La Mare of Whitehorse in 28:36 and Ray Barrett of Vancouver in 28:54.
The top local runner for the second year was Pemberton's Logan Pehota who placed 11 th overall and first in the male 10 to 14 category in 30:25. Dalton Pehota was close behind in 16 th place overall and second in 10 to 14 in 31:29.
Andy Robinson of Whistler was eighth in male 30 to 39 in 35:02.
Amy Mackay was third in female 20 to 29 in 36:53.
Michelle Blunden was fourth in 20 to 29 in 37:01.
Patrick Ruddy was sixth in male 50 to 59 in 40:07.
Jason Mathies was 20 th in male 30 to 39 in 40:49.
In the Kids Challenge, Ben Hegditch was 28 th and Julia Hegditch 35 th respectively. Kerry Walker of Pemberton was 20 th .