After 54 kilometres and about 3,000 vertical metres of climbing, Max King and Anne-Marie Madden emerged triumphant at the first ever TrailStoke race at Revelstoke Mountain Resort.
“The most memorable part was me suffering up a lot of those hills that I thought I was going to be running,” said King. “It ended up being a lot more hiking, a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be.”
Nick Elson of Squamish finished second to King – an American – to claim the Canadian Long Distance Running title. King, an accomplished ultra-runner who was one of the guest speakers at a special event on Friday, completed the course in 4:42:57 – only 40 seconds ahead of Elson.
King had the lead through the road sections of the race, but Elson was able to pass him on the technical alpine portion, only for King to regain his lead once the race returned to the roads.
“A lot of is nice hiking through meadows but the footing’s so bad, you can’t run,” said Elson. “I’m used to hiking a lot, so it works in my favour.”
Madden’s time was around 6:05:04, more than 21 minutes ahead of her nearest female competition. The race for second came down to a sprint between Deb Russell and Michelle Roberts, with Russell coming out four seconds ahead.
“I was definitely prepared for a technical course and I was pleasantly surprised by how runnable it was,” said Madden. “That said, I spent 80 per cent of the way up walking.”
Revelstoke’s Sarah Newton won the women’s master (40+) class, finished in 6:55:46. Jeff Krar won the men’s masters race in 5:32:17.
The winning team was Thundergun Express, consisting of Chessa Adsit-Morris, Justin Hains and Laura Bestow, who completed the course in 4:56:12.
In other Revelstoke results, Rory Luxmoore and Travis Hunt were fifth and sixth respectively in the men’s masters division, while Ann-Marie Gill finished seventh in the women’s race.
The team of Anne-Marie Baribeau and Bart Jarmula finished eighth in the relay, while the Sole Sisters, consisting of Debbie Koerber, her daughter Tayla, and Maryjoy Marshall, finished third in the women’s relay.
Full results can be found by clicking here.
The course saw about 250 runners tackle a course that saw them ascend from the base of Revelstoke Mountain Resort to the the far reaches of the resort’s cat skiing terrain in the alpine extending towards Ghost Peak and Mount Cartier. The course then returned back to the ski resort and up to the top of the Stoke Chair before the final, leg-pounding descent to the mid-mountain lodge.
They ran a mix of single track, logging road, and trail-less alpine terrain. They passed through swamps, up and down steep slopes, and in and out of the clouds. Many runners described it as a true mountain race, that challenged them to their fullest.
The first big challenge for the runners was the marsh at the bottom of Montana Bowl, where competitors had to gingerly step on and around rocks and logs and avoid getting bogged down in the mud.
The most difficult stretch was from the bottom of Kokanee Bowl to the top of the ridge leading south, where the run turned to a hike up a steep slope filled with loose dirt and rock, followed by a steep ridge climb before finally reaching the courses high point. Afterwards, they had to run back down the same route.
“It was a real mountain course. There was a lot of scree, a lot of off-trail, a lot of side hill. I wasn’t expecting that and it was a real challenge,” said third place men’s finished Ed McCarthy. “I was thinking I would really deserve the beer at the end. It was a race where I thought finishing was a really good accomplishment.”
A rainstorm early on compounded things for the runners, who had to contend with the wet weather, cool temperatures and slippery surfaces as they arrived in the alpine.
“The weather added to it to,” said Elson. “There was pretty atmospheric mist coming in. Max was wearing his white jacket, so I couldn’t see him up ahead. It was etherial.”
Next year’s race is scheduled for August 29.