Sports Briefs 

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Half marathon adds 10K race to schedule

After last year's sold out North Face Whistler Half Marathon, event organizers were looking for ways to expand the event and make it bigger and more inclusive. One of the ideas they considered was running a shorter distance event for athletes not interested in going the full 21.1K distance.

This week, organizers came through with the official announcement that the 2013 event, taking place on June 1, will include a 10km course option. As well, the number of spots available in the half marathon will be increased from 1,000 to 1,100.

"Our growth plan has always had the addition of another distance to be added to the mix of offerings on race weekend," said event director Dave Clark, "and now that we are entering our third year with a loyal running community we felt it was time to increase the offerings to make our event available to more athletes."

The 10K course will follow a slightly different route as the half marathon. It will use the first third of the half marathon course before heading back to the start/finish line at Whistler Olympic Plaza. "The 10K distance is a wonderful way for new runners to experience the excitement of longer distance events, and is also a great way for athletes training for longer distances, such as a full marathon or Ironman Canada, to get in some race training," said Clark.

As well as a new distance, Clark also confirmed that the Little Rippers 1K run would return this year after over 100 kids participated in 2012. With the schools, athletes actually ran the full half marathon distances over the weeks preceding the event, finishing with the Little Ripper run.

General registration for all events opens at 9 a.m. on New Year's Day at www.whistlerhalfmarathon.com. The fees for the half marathon are the same as 2012 at $78 including taxes and fees. The 10K race will be $45 and the Little Rippers Run $10. The half marathon is expected to sell out and early registration is recommended.

Whistler Nordics on top at BC Cup

A team of Whistler Nordics skiers made the trip to Sovereign Lake near Vernon this past weekend for the first BC Cup race of the year, with a few of the skiers reaching the podium.

In the class mass start race, Whistler's Michael Murdoch placed first overall out of 16 racers in Midget Boys with a gap of over 40 seconds. Teammates Fraser Doak, Sam Johnston and Ian Davidson were fifth, 10th and 11th respectively.

In Midget Girls, Benita Peiffer was fifth and teammate Lauren Kilfoy McKay 13th.

In Juvenile Boys 1997, Whistler's Austin Reith was seventh overall out of 19 racers.

Keeley Wentzel was 26th in Juvenile Girls.

In Junior Girls 1996, Whistler's Jenya Nordin was sixth and Lauren Doak ninth.

Next up was the individual start skate event, which was far better attended than the classic race.

Michael Murdoch was seventh in the combined Midget Boys category (1999, 2000) and second in the 2000 group. Owen Reith was ninth/seventh, Fraser Doak 10th/third and Ian Davidson 16th/sixth.

Benita Peiffer was eighth in the Midget Girls, and third in the 2000 group.

Austin Reith was 20th overall and 15th in the 1997 group.

Keeley Wentzel was 39th overall and 26th in the 1998 group.

Lauren Doak moved up to fourth in Junior Girls and was second in the 1996 category. Jenya Nordin was ninth and fifth respectively.

Ian Reith was 14th in the Masters Men, and eighth in his age group.

Humphries keeps streak alive

She doesn't always have the fastest starts, but bobsleigh legend-in-the-making Kaillee Humphries — the current Olympic champion —doesn't seem to need them all that much. She makes fewer mistakes than other pilots and has a knack for finding the fastest lines that let her build speed as she goes.

And while you could explain her previous six wins — three at the end of last season in North America and three in North America to launch this season — as home ice advantage, she stuck a pin in that theory this past weekend by extending her streak to seven at Winterberg, German, a course she doesn't know well as the North America tracks.

"I am very happy to keep the streak going in Germany," said Humphries. "I think that was very important for me. I haven't always had a lot of success in Winterberg because it is so weather-dependent here. The weather was perfect and we had good pushes and good runs today."

The Canada 2 sled — Jenny Ciochetti and Kate O'Brien — were 12th overall.

The men's two-man team of Lyndon Rush, this time working with Jesse Lumsden, took the bronze medal. It was Rush's second consecutive podium after winning silver in Whistler two weeks ago.

"We normally find the Winterberg track really difficult, but our runs worked out really well today," said Rush.

Chris Spring and Ben Coakwell were 10th, while Justin Kripps and Sam Giguere were 12th in the Canada 3 sled.

Calendar of events

What: Park Rider Ski and Snowboard Event Park Jam

Where: Blackcomb Mountain

When: Sunday, Dec. 16 at 10 a.m.

The first event of the series is billed as an "All-Rounder Park Jam," with participants sessioning various features of the park. All ages and both skiers and snowboarders are welcome, and all participants are eligible to win draw prizes. Registration is $29 in advance at Guest Relations, and is available until 9:45 a.m. on race day at the Rendezvous Lodge for $35. Participants can expect professional judging, music and live commentary.

What: Fire and Ice Show

Where: Base of Whistler Mountain

When: Sunday, Dec. 16 at 6:30 p.m.

This demonstration of ski and snowboard jumping skills is combined with music, fire dancers and fireworks, and runs every Sunday through to Mar. 31.

What: Santa Ski Day

Where: Base of Whistler Mountain

When: Saturday, Dec. 22

The first 75 people to arrive at the GLC on the morning of Dec. 22 dressed like Santa or Mrs. Claus will get a free lift up the mountain at 8 a.m. The only requirements is that skiers take part in a group photo, then skiers will be left on their own for the rest of the day to spread Christmas cheer.

What: Whistler Mountain Ski Club hosts K1/K2 Teck Races

Where: Whistler Mountain

When: Dec. 22-23

The Whistler Mountain Ski Club will kick off its race season for

K1 (age 11 and 12) and K2 (age 13 and 14) racers with slalom and giant slalom races. All races take place in the new Dave Murray National Training Centre.

What: King of the Rail

Where: Base of Whistler Mountain

When. Dec. 29, 7 p.m.

The first King of the Rail rail jam of the season takes place under the lights on Whistler Mountain on Dec. 29. All are welcome to take part in this athlete-judged event, which runs from 7 to 9 p.m. Registration is from 6 to 6:45 p.m. at the Showcase retail store for $15. Minors must have a waiver signed by a parent or guardian and helmets are mandatory.

What: Park Rider Ski and Snowboard Event 13 and Under Slopestyle

Where: Blackcomb Mountain

When: Sunday, Dec. 16 at 10 a.m.

The second event in the Park Rider series is a 13 and Under slopestyle on Blackcomb. Registration is $29 in advance at Guest Relations, and is available until 9:45 a.m. on race day at the Rendezvous Lodge for $35. Participants can expect professional judging, music and live commentary.

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