After more than nine kilometres, the top three in last weekend's Lumpy's Epic trail run in Pemberton were less than two seconds apart heading into the finish.
Trail running veteran Seamus Frew of Whistler took the win in 37:26, holding off Geoffrey Richards and Thomsen D'Hont, who are with the Callaghan Valley Training Centre, in the final sprint to the finish. Richards crossed the line in 37:27 and D'Hont in 37:28.
Frew held the lead the whole time and actually managed to get away on the technical downhill, but the young skiers - Richards is 18 and D'Hont 22 - reeled him back in.
"It was a great race, these guys really kept me on my toes," said Frew. "They were there pretty much the whole time. The gap at the finish was one of the biggest the whole way. I got away on the downhill, but it didn't last."
Frew said he likes to be pushed, but usually prefers a little more breathing room.
"It made it a lot harder, that's for sure," said Frew, steam rising off his back.
It was just two degrees Celsius when the race started at 10 a.m. at One Mile Lake, and only a few degrees warmer by the shaded finish line.
"There was no resting anywhere."
Frew enjoys the trail overall.
"It's a good run, really scenic and technical," he said.
This was Frew's second win in as many years.
For Richards, it was fun to race D'Hont and be in the mix. He was in third place for a lot of the race, making a pass near the end.
"It's really fun, really hard," he said. "The best part is that you get the hills over with at the start, but the downhill is tough and it's technical," he said.
D'Hont says he wasn't surprised to finish so close to his teammate. They have been training together and came to the trail to pre-run it the previous week.
"I knew it was going to be close, we both have the fitness for races like this," he said.
The top female racer was Joanna Harrington, seventh overall, finishing in 47:17.
Though better known for her mountain bike abilities, Harrington has been getting into trail running this year to cross-train and has been enjoying the experience. She ran the Rubble Creek Classic at the end of September but had never raced until last weekend.
"It's one of my favourite trails to ride or run," she said. "I was racing this time. I've done a lot of running this year, and thought it would be good to challenge myself and see how I could do."
Robin O'Neil came a close second in 47:38, followed by Adriene Underhill of the Callaghan Valley Training Centre in 48:08.
The youngest runner was Joe Davies, 9, who ran the route with his father. He managed to place 14th overall out of 44 runners in a speedy 50:23.
Top Five Men
1. Seamus Frew - 37:26
2. Geoffrey Richards - 37:27
3. Thomsen D'Hont - 37:28
4. Jeff Wood - 40:17
5. Greg McDonnell - 40:25
Top Five Women
1. Joanna Harrington - 47:14
2. Robin O'Neil - 47:38
3. Adriene Underhill - 48:08
4. Kajsa Heyes - 48:52
5. Michaela Howie - 51:04