The annual Whistler Loppet
has taken place in some interesting conditions recently, with new snow the past
two years, and frigid weather the year before that.
This year’s race, the 30
annual, was perfect, hovering around zero degrees Celsius at the start and
warming up slightly as the day went on. The races also got underway in the
sunshine, which was a welcome sight for those athletes that took a few seconds
to look up from the fast track.
The senior athletes raced a
28.7 km course, the recreational racers went 17.9 km, and junior racers went
anywhere from 2.8 km to 6.7 km around the Nicklaus North golf course.
In the senior women’s race,
Whistler’s Joanna Harrington took the gold medal with a time of 1:25:56, just
over four seconds ahead of Minttu Repo of the Whistler Nordics. Maria Lundgren,
an instructor for the Whistler Nordics youth programs, was third in 1:26:51.
Tom McCarthy won the senior
men’s race in a time of 1:14:14, almost a minute and a half faster than Guillem
Sancho. Revelstoke’s Andrew Russell was third.
In Master Women 31-40
Katarina Smith placed first in 1:32:40, followed by Jill Calkin in 1:36:25 and
Stacey Bodnaruk in 1:37:02.
In Master Men 31-40, Silver
Star’s Glenn Bond set the winning pace to finish in 1:14:20, followed by James
Shaw, a previous winner of the event, in 1:15:41. Whistler’s Duncan Munro was
third in 1:23:26.
For Master Women 41-50,
Barbara Turner posted the fastest female time of the day, coming in at 1:24:44.
Catherine Hunchak was second in 1:28:39, and Laurie McKinney third in 1:43:40.
For Master Men 41-50, Claude
Prica of the Squamish Nordics set the pace to beat, finishing first out of 24
racers in 1:15:41. Ron Carmichael was second in 1:16:33, followed by Paul Sim
in 1:19:34. Keith Ray was the top Whistler racer in 1:21:02.
Pippa Wall raced alone in
Master Women 51-60, finishing in 1:54:20, while Alena Branda raced alone in the
61-Plus race and finished in 2:00:32.
For Master Men 51-60, Olav
Stana placed first in 1:15:39, followed by William Letham in 1:22:22, and Mike
Fitzmaurice in 1:22:55. In 60-Plus, Colin Gray was first in 1:39:21, followed
by Ernst Wallgram in 1:47:47, and Hakan Lillquist in 1:52:05.
In the Women’s Recreation
category, Michele Marsh of the Whistler Nordics was first on the 17.9 km course
in 54:32, followed by Dawn Hunter in 1:00:56, and Sabine Lassen in 1:05:42.