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Narayana, Powell win Whistler 50 Ultra

MacNairn captures Canadian title at 80-kilometre race



A new Canadian resident overcame some chilly weather to take the Whistler 50 Ultra on Saturday.

Ullas Narayana, who moved to Vancouver just four months ago, blazed to the title in a time of six hours, 30 minutes and 46 seconds (6:30:46) to best Ian MacNairn by over 10 minutes.

However, because Narayana is not yet a Canadian citizen, the Canadian 50 Mile Trail Championship went to Calgarian MacNairn.

Lauren Powell took both titles on the women's side, finishing sixth among all competitors with a time of 7:04:00.

Vincent Pagot was the top Whistler finisher, taking seventh among men.

Narayana explained he attempted to pace himself better than he did, but it certainly didn't cost him in the end.

"I wanted to take it easy. I always get carried away with races, going really fast. I repeated than in the second loop (of four)," he said. "I slowed down and realized I had a bit of a gap on the second guy, so I took it easy and kept the lead and finished the race."

Narayana, who is originally from India, lived in Singapore for the past 12 years before moving to Vancouver for work.

MacNairn, meanwhile, has also done some globetrotting, though his most recent sojourn was on a little more compressed timeline. The 29-year-old competed in Andorra last weekend and spent much of the week on planes getting back to Canada before this weekend's race.

MacNairn explained the first half of the race went well before some aches and pains started to catch up with him.

"The pounding on the paved pathways and the hard-packed trail took its toll. I got through the third lap to 60 kilometres on schedule, and then it was trying to hold on as long as I could and luckily, I did," he said. "The first half was fairly even and then my plan was to see if I could hold that for the third lap as well, and I did that with a couple-minute error. The fourth lap, there was only 20 kilometres left, so I pushed myself as hard as I could."

As for Powell, the Vancouverite by way of Toronto pushed herself this year, having never run further than a marathon distance before the year started. She made a jump to her first 50-kilometre race earlier this summer and after success there, decided to register for her first 50-miler. Weeks later, she's the national champ in the discipline.

"It was my first 50 miles, so I didn't really know what to expect going into it... My legs felt pretty good until about 50K, and then it was just pushing it to the end from there," she said. "It was painful for sure, but at that point, it's all relative. There's only about 20K to go and you just have to remind yourself of that."