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Toughest field yet for Whistler Loppet

Over 140 turn out to 29th running of XC race

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By Andrew Mitchell

Conditions were fast enough at the start of the 29 th annual Whistler Loppet this Sunday, but when the snow started falling about half an hour after the mass start things got a little more challenging. It wasn’t as tough as last year’s 30 cm snowpack from the morning of the race, but competitors still found themselves having to pole their way downhill.

This year 142 people took part, including 44 kids, with courses ranging from 2.8 km for the younger jackrabbits to 30 km for the more ambitious adults. The race started and finished at the Nicklaus North clubhouse, and used sections of the golf course and Lost Lake Park.

This year was the toughest yet for races, with VANOC Director of Nordic Sports and former Olympian John Aalberg in the field, as well as some of the top racers from around the province — Glen Bond, Lars Ole Valoen, Sten Grahn and Vesa Suomalainen.

For the leaders in the 30 km race, the top five athletes were separated by a matter of seconds after the first lap, and by less than a minute after the final stretch on the second lap.

First across the line was Glenn Bond of the Silver Star Nordic Racing Team in 1:23:16, followed by Lars Ole Valoen in 1:23:23. Vesa Suomalainen of the Whistler Nordics was third in 1:23:29, Whistler Nordics coach Sten Grahn placed fourth in 1:23:41, and John Aalberg was fifth in 1:23:54.

On the women’s side, Tobi Henderson was the fastest skier in 1:42:43, followed by Anne Parent in 1:43:26, and Sylvie Allen in 1:45:46. All three were in the 30 to 39 age category.

Complete results are online at www.zone4.ca , a website tracking races in provincial Zone 4 cross-country events.

Age Category Results:

Girls 7 and Under, 2.8 km

1. Lauren McKay — 23:38

2. Martina Gershon — 24:37

3. Julia Long — 27:30

Boys 7 and Under, 2.8 km

1. Michael Murdoch — 20:03

2. Owen Reith — 21:32

3. Ian Davidson — 25:00

Girls 8 to 13, 5.3 km

1. Akiko Clarke — 24:22

2. Tachona Jones — 25:22

3. Nicole Murdoch — 25:57

Boys 8 to 13, 5.3 km

1. Sam Morris — 21:12

2. Alex Gershon — 24:36

3. Braden Metza — 24:36

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