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Slow snow but good to go at Woppet

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The last thing the more than 110 racers who participated in the second annual Woppet at Whistler Olympic Park on Saturday needed was a fresh coating of snow and soft conditions for the 30 km course.

Groomers worked hard to firm up the track as much as possible for the race, but it was still a tough slog for the racers.

Max Saenger, director of biathlon for the Olympics, took the win in one hour, 30 minutes and four seconds, averaging just under 20 km/h despite the slow conditions.

Up and coming Nordic Combined racer Wesley Savill was second in 1:30:16, while Camille Cheskey of the Callaghan Valley Training Centre pulled up third in 1:32:28. Antoine Arcand was fourth in 1:32:45 while John Aalberg - the manager of the Whistler Olympic Park through the 2010 Games - was fifth in 1:33:41.

Rounding out the top 10 were Lee Churchill, Illmar "The Married Man" (who had a wedding that afternoon at 4 p.m.), Aaron Neumann, Chris Bishop and George Urosevic.

Only 13 women took on the entire 30 km course. Biathlon competitor Megan Tandy - the other party to the afternoon wedding - placed first in a speedy 1:37:43, followed by Julia Ransom in 1:49:16 and Emma Lunder in 1:51:37. Maria Lundgren and Katja Heincke were fourth and fifth.

In the men's 45-plus 30 km race William Letham was first in 1:42:29, followed by Brent Murdoch and Robbie Metza of the Whistler Nordics in 1:43:03 and 1:46:52 respectively. Rich Rawling and John Heilig - the manager of Nordic Combined for Whistler Olympic Park - place fourth and fifth respectively.

Trish Macleod was first in the women's 45-plus category in 2:05:56, followed by Margot Murdoch of the Whistler Nordics in 2:10:00 and Cheryl Morningstar of the Whistler Nordics in 2:10:54.

There was also a 7.5 km short circuit available.

Michael Murdoch won the Under 12 boys category in 30:57, followed by Erik Heilig of the Callaghan Winter Sports Club in 31:15 and Seth Putnam-Rea of Hollyburn in 36:58.

Ilya Nordin of the Whistler Nordics won the women's Under 12 race in 41:13, followed by Anna Goodwin and Jenna Sim.

Kayden Sim and Braden Metza of Whistler were first and second in Under 20 men in 30:17 and 30:49.

Nicki Murdoch won the women's Under 20 race in 28:42, with teammate Jenya Nordin third in 29:54. Carmen Underhill was second. Lauren Doak and Jennifer McTavish of Whistler were fourth and fifth.

Paul Beswetherick won the Open Men's category in 28:52, followed by Kirkland Barett in 29:52 and Graham Schulz in 30:01.

Lorraine Vollmer of the Whistler Nordics topped the Open Women's race in 41:21, followed by Sara Hamilton in 41:58 and Catherine Boniface in 43:14.

For some competitors the Woppet was only the first part. The event was also bundled with the first Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association Toonie Race taking part on Sunday as the inaugural Pole to Pedal Race. Athletes were ranked based on their combined time in both events.

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