Whistler runner Robin Poirier represented his home turf well on Saturday in the first running of the Warrior Dash in Whistler - a five-kilometre long obstacle course.
Poirier placed second overall with a time of 21 minutes, 16.30 seconds, just 18 seconds back of winner Phil Rock. He was also first in the 25 to 29 age category, which had almost 600 athletes.
Joseph Charbonneau was third overall and first in the 14 to 19 age group in 21:35.85.
Dawn Anderson was the first female through the fire and mud, placing 35th overall and first in the 30 to 34 age group in 25:28.50. Laura Struve was second among women and first in 25 to 29 in 25:43.90, with Leni Meade third - and first in 35 to 39 - in 26:21.05.
Another local category winner was Squamish's Andrew Clegg, who placed first out of 250 athletes in Male 35 to 39 in a time of 23:07.
Almost 4,500 athletes took part in the race. That means upwards of 600 athletes at the start line for each of the eight waves.
While that seems like a lot, it's actually one of the smallest Warrior Dash events with an average turnout of 15,000 to 20,000 participants over two-day events in the U.S. and a record turnout of 26,000 for a race last year. Those races might have dozens of start waves per day.
This is the first time that the Warrior Dash has come to Canada. There are 33 events on the calendar this year including Whistler and an event in Australia, with the other 31 events taking place across the U.S.
The race is known for its festive atmosphere, trademark Viking helmets and beer gardens. It's official motto is "Craziest Day of Your Frickin' Life." It's unofficial motto "Mud, Sweat and Beers." The Whistler event did not disappoint.
"It was a huge success for us," said Alex Yount, public relations director for Warrior Dash.
"I think everyone enjoyed the course. The obstacles were great and the festival is what we expected. Overall it was a really good event, and we're already in discussions about whether to come back next year."
Though it's difficult to tell where participants came from, there were some locals and lots of participants from the Lower Mainland and Washington State. At the bigger U.S. events 42 states are typically represented.
"It's a little different in Canada and for that location, but we are starting to get more people who travel and come out to experience different courses and different obstacles that we might have," said Yount.
A decision on whether to come back next year will be based on factors like the terrain and obstacles that organizers can offer, the festival grounds and how well the event was received. Organizationally, Yount said it was good to work with partners in the resort to host and promote the event, "which made the event a big success."
For more on the race and a gallery of photos from the event, visit www.warriordash.com and look for the British Columbia link.
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