Snowy start for Whistler 50 

Jeremy Clegg, Melanie Bos top 80km ultra category

click to enlarge Cool runnings Nanaimo's Jeremy Clegg was the first ultra runner to reach the finish line at the Whistler 50 Ultra and Relay on Saturday, finishing the 50 mile/80km course in 6:23:49.
  • Cool runnings Nanaimo's Jeremy Clegg was the first ultra runner to reach the finish line at the Whistler 50 Ultra and Relay on Saturday, finishing the 50 mile/80km course in 6:23:49.

Nanaimo's Jeremy Clegg wasn't bothered by the snow.

A trail runner most of the time, he said he switched his road shoes to his trail shoes at the start for some added traction before he headed out into the dark on Saturday morning. If anything his pace was hurt more by the fact that he raced the Victoria Marathon 13 days earlier, placing eighth overall with a career-best time of 2:36:39 — not bad for a guy who's only been running for about three years.

"The biggest issue for me was that I wasn't as fresh as I should have been," he said of his time in the Whistler 50, a 50-mile/80km distance ultra race sanctioned by BC Athletics. "My goal for this race was time-based and I didn't make that, but I had a fantastic time and I'm really happy with the win."

Clegg said he enjoyed the new route, which had a thin layer of snow on the first lap that melted away over the next three. It continued to snow off and on during the day, but at times it cleared up enough to see the local mountains.

"I really liked the course," he said. "For the first lap you're just following the glow stick on the pace bike but the next two laps were in the light and it was a whole new course, it was really scenic. There was great crowd support the whole way and a lot of people came out to cheer you on, so I can't complain."

Clegg also did the Squamish 50 race this year, where he placed sixth.

Asked what he likes about ultra runs, Clegg shrugged. "The truth is I just like jogging all day in the mountains," he said. "It took me a while to build the confidence and fitness to do that, but I ran up Mt. Benson about 70 times this year, and I've been on trails about six days a week. Who doesn't want to be out in the forest?"

Clegg finished in 6:23:49, averaging a kilometre every 4:48.

Placing second overall, and first among female racers, was professional ultra runner Mel Bos of Kelowna. She needed a strong result to be named to the national ultra team this year, and guarantee her spot in the JFK 50 Mile in Maryland in November.

She had a little trouble with the snow on her first lap, but kept up her pace to finish in 65:34:10, averaging a kilometre every 4:56.

"It was a little slippery with snow and ice on the course, and my quads were in agony the first couple of laps because I was trying not to slip on the downhills," said Bos. "The third lap was perfect running conditions, and then it started to snow again on the last lap — it's always hard when the weather turns, but you also know you're getting closer to the finish."

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