By Andrew Mitchell
This 2007 Comfortably Numb Trail Run came close to selling out this year, with 191 people registering for the 200 start positions.
Only 153 runners actually started the race, with excuses that ranged from training injuries to the poor weather, and one runner required a lift out by helicopter after injuring her ankle.
Despite the wet and slippery conditions, Vancouver’s Adam Campbell set a new record time for the 25 km course of one hour, 58 minutes and 45 seconds — besting the previous record of 2:01:09 set by Stefan Fairweather in 2004, the first year of the race. The course did change slightly this year, but if anything it was slightly longer with the addition of Tommy Moore to the Hydro Cut road.
Whistler’s Jason Shorter was second in the race and the top local, trailing Campbell by just 11 seconds with a time of 1:58:56.
This was Shorter’s first time running Comfortably Numb, and first trail race since he entered the Grouse Grind several years ago. Running is just something he does casually in the spring and fall to stay in shape for mountain biking.
“I typically run in the shoulder seasons when I can’t get on my bike or skate skis, and even then I usually only run for about an hour — and even that’s a long run for me,” said Shorter.
To train for the race Shorter ran Comfortably Numb twice to familiarize himself with the trail and see what it was like to run for more than two hours. His best training time was around 2:10, but he felt strong on the day of the race and let Campbell set the pace.
“It was so close and we had some great battles, but the guy who won definitely won the day,” said Shorter. “I think we were pretty equal on the uphills and I had him on the downhills, but on the flat rolling sections I was doing everything I could to stay with him, and pace with him.
“I found out after the race that the guy is training for an uphill marathon in Switzerland, and trains with (triathlete) Simon Whitfield. When I heard that I was not too upset (about) placing second. I’m basically still a cyclist, but I think I could enjoy runs like that.”
Shorter says there is a good chance he’ll be back next year, but has no immediate plans to enter more trail runs.
Brad Cunningham and J.F. Robert also broke the course record, placing third and fourth with times of 1:59:21 and 1:59:41 respectively. After they finished there was a 12 minute gap to the rest the field. All four runners were in the Men’s Under 40 category.