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Runners get Comfortably Numb

Mild weather and a slightly soggy trail greeted participants of the 2nd Annual Comfortably Numb Trail Run on Sunday, with 128 of 143 registered racers turning out for the event.



The course itself covered 24 km of technical singletrack with more than 4,000 feet of vertical gain and a steep downhill, followed by over a kilometer of running on gravel to the finish at Spruce Grove Park. There was one aid station in the middle, which meant runners had to be largely self-reliant.

Graham Sheldon, a 30-year-old long distance athlete and adventure racer from Vancouver, took the win with a time of two hours, three minutes and 53 seconds.

He was followed closely by Brad Cunningham of Victoria in 2:05:29, while third went to Andrew Clarke of Squamish in 2:06:38.

A visiting Australian runner, Lisa Polizzi, was fourth overall and first among women with her time of 2:10:50.

The top Whistler runner was Greg McDonnell, who is training for Ironman in August. Greg had never run the trail before, but still managed to finish sixth in 2:11:46.

"IÕm pretty stoked about my time, I had a great run," said McDonnell. "But I have to say there were some obvious omissions from the Whistler running contingent, like Munro Duncan and Kevin Titus and quite a few others. If they all raced instead of helping with this event, IÕd probably be a little further back in the rankings. As it was I found myself running with people I didnÕt think I had any business running with, and I was keeping pace."

McDonnell started up front, and heading into the singletrack he counted 10 runners ahead of him. He passed a few of those runners in the second half of the race even though at one point he was worried that he might have to pull out.

"I twisted my ankle about halfway through the run and I had to stop for a second. I was really worried that I did something to it. I walked a lot, shook it off, and decided it was okay and I actually had my strongest six or eight kilometers of the run."

McDonnell credits Val BurkeÕs running class for getting him up to speed and teaching him to run efficiently, as well as the advice heÕs gotten from Kevin Titus over a few training runs.

Daniel Havens finished a close seventh in 2:11:45, winning the 40 to 49 age category while cutting about 20 minutes off his time from the previous year.

The running family of John and Grace Blok captured both over 50 titles with times of 2:19:58 and 3:01:10 respectively.

Grace took part in the Test of Metal the previous Saturday, and on Friday before the race she stayed up all night doing the 12 hour Relay for Life in Squamish.