Whistler’s Dave Burch came close to winning the Lumpy’s Epic trail run in 2004 and 2005 before wrong turns cost him at the last minute. In 2006 he kept it together and won the 10 km race for the first time.
He missed 2007, but was back this year to run in conditions that were as perfect as can be, from the grippy climbs and descents to the views of mist rising over the Pemberton Valley as they rounded the back of the hill.
Burch finished the technical course in 41 minutes and 36 seconds, about 24 seconds ahead of Devon Matthews.
Somewhere after the first climb, Burch realized he would need a strategy to win.
“I came out at an easier pace than race mode to warm up because I didn’t get much of a warm-up, and I felt pretty good,” he said. “At the steep part (Matthews) came with me, right behind me, and then I let him go ahead. I didn’t know who he was and whether he was going to turn up the heat. I hoped not because we had a good pace going.
“I tailed him for a long time, and noticed he was a little faster than me on the downhill. I waited for a chance and went by him and led for a bit. Sure enough on the last downhill on the backside of the course he passed me again onto the flats but I was able to stay with him. I knew I had to get ahead of him on the last uphill on the hydro line because he would pass me on the downhill so I passed there and turned up the juice a bit.”
Burch was first to the top of the last big climb, and didn’t look back until he got to the finish line.
“It was so inspiring, just beautiful to come out in the sun. I was feeling good and enjoying the run and the best conditions I’ve ever raced it.”
In third place was his wife Lindsay Burch, who crossed the finish line in 47:26 followed by Jim Sandford a second later.
Burch, who has won Lumpy’s Epic several times, was the only woman to place in the top-10.
She said she just tried to run her own race and was inspired to know that her husband was one of the two runners ahead of her.
“It was just an awesome day, and I enjoyed knowing that Dave was up there in first or second. If he was going to win, I wanted to win,” she said.
Sandford also helped push her to the finish, but otherwise she said she ran her own race.
“I really like this course, and today the views from the lookout were beautiful,” she said. “I tried not to think about anybody coming up behind me, but just to keep up a good pace.”
Rounding out the top five was Donald Clark in 47:53, followed by Sean Wolfe in 48:55, Keil Wrethan in 49:24, Joe Maika in 41:41, Rich Rawling in 52:30 and Andy Lambrecht in 52:45.
On the women’s side, Lisa Kmouri was in at 54:54, and Nancy MacConnachie third in 55:25. In total 51 runners turned out to race on Sunday.
The Lumpy’s Epic run was also the last race in the Sea 2 Sky Trail Running Series, which includes the Whistler Valley Trail Run (10 km course), Comfortably Numb Trail Run (25 km), STORMY (50 mile and 100 mile ultra marathom), the Loop the Lakes (15 km course), and Rubble Creek Classic (almost 26 km).
The results are not official, but the top three men under 40 were Chris Downie, Duncan Munro and Ted Lawson, while the top three women were Marieve Legrand, Martina Ramage and Catherine O’Neill. In the 40 to 49 category Jim Sandford, Mark Bennett and Mick Peatfield were the top men, and Diana Thaxter Nancy MacConnachie and Elspeth Miller the top women. In 50-plus, the top runners were Walter Walgram, Jim Bowers and Imre Sorban, and Gail Forshaw and Heather Sidworth. There was a four-way tie for third.
For more information, visit www.s2srun.com.