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Running couple pace each other to the finish

More runners than expected

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Organizers were expecting in the neighbourhood of 100 racers for the 15 th annual Valley Trail Run on Sunday, May 28, but with a flurry of last minute registrations the event set a new record with 148 participants. The run included 5 km and 10 km courses, and with a field that included everyone from professional runners to beginners.

In the 10 km race, the running couple of Oliver Blake and Kristina Rody sprinted to the finish to place first and second overall. Blake crossed the line in 36:17, and Rody 1.5 seconds later in 36:18.

"It was prime condition for running, but it helped having a tough competitor chasing me down," said Blake.

"I was waiting, coming up to the finish I thought she’s going to run by me."

If she tried to pass in the sprint to the finish, Blake says he would have done his best to hold her off. "There was a little family pride on the line."

Blake is relatively new to competitive running. He entered his first marathon last year in Toronto, finishing with an impressive time of two hours and 30 minutes. The Valley Trail Run was his first 10 km race.

Blake credits Kristina for his results. "I have Kristina to chase and that helps, because she’s always going out the door and I feel lazy if I don’t go with her."

Blake said he liked the course, but said it was challenging – the hills on the Valley Trail around the Whistler Golf Course were particularly hard.

Rody, one of Canada’s top competitive runners in university, moved to Whistler after graduation and spent a few years training and working before heading back to Ontario for graduate school. She returned in January and is currently working on her thesis.

She has competed in a few events since she’s been back, and is training for a marathon at the end of September. She’s also considering whether to enter a few more local events, including the Comfortably Numb Run, which she won in the event’s first year.

She enjoyed the Valley Trail Run this year. "We just got back from London on the Thursday so I’m still a little off, but it was fun," she said.

"It was tough, that big hill in Blueberry was a killer but Ollie was pacing me. I thought I would try to pass him in the end but I haven’t done a race in a long time. Besides, Ollie’s pretty fast, he did a 2:30 marathon, so I was content to come in second."

Whistler’s John Blok was third overall in 38:05 and first in the 50 and Over age category.

Tony Leland of Maple Ridge was the third male across the line in 38:51.

Behind Rody the next woman across the finish was Marie-Anne Prevost, who placed eighth overall in 40:06.

Emma Smith was the third female and ninth overall in 40:10.

Pemberton’s John Teitzel won the 5 km race once again in a blistering 17:39 – averaging under three minutes a kilometre. Sean McCreanor of Squamish was second in 18:43 and Logan Goodwin of Whistler third in 20:42.

Christine Chen was fourth overall and the top female in 21:09, followed by Renata Hasel, fifth overall, with a time of 21:10. Junnifer Shutts of Seattle was eighth overall and the third woman in 24:49.

Complete results are online at www.whistlervalleytrialrun.org

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