Whistler runner tops 5 Peaks 

Emma Smith, Venetia McHugh lead female field on Enduro course

click to enlarge Uphill Battle 5 Peaks runners climb back up to the Roundhouse after the first loop, before heading out to Harmony. Photo by Ian Robertson, www.coastphoto.com
  • Uphill Battle 5 Peaks runners climb back up to the Roundhouse after the first loop, before heading out to Harmony. Photo by Ian Robertson, www.coastphoto.com

The rain held off for the more than 400 people who ran the 5 Peaks Series race on Whistler Mountain last Saturday, with athletes taking on the 10.8 km Enduro course or the 5.6 km Sport course around the alpine.

Two runners finished the Enduro course in under an hour, which included a gruelling 1,517 metres of elevation gain, as well as a steep descent from the peak.

Jason Terauchi-Louti of New Westminster completed the run with a chip time of 55 minutes and 53 seconds, average a kilometre every 5:11.

The next competitor, Devin Matthew of Vancouver, was more than four minutes back in 59:55, while Mark Bennett — the current 5 Peaks leader — was third in 1:01:19. All three men also won their age categories (male 30 to 39, male 20 to 29 and male 40 to 49 respectively).

The first female, placing 18 th overall, was Whistler’s Emma Smith in 1:09:49, averaging 6:28 per kilomtetre. Smith was also the top Whistler runner in the event.

“That was my first trail race actually, and it was certainly the hardest race I’ve ever done,” she said. “It was intense, just really, really hard, but I actually loved it, enjoyed being on the trail, and it was good to win.

“I’ve never worked so hard or had my heart rate so high,” she added. Smith wore a heart rate monitor and said her average was 174 beats per minute, with a maximum of 184 bpm.

“The easiest part was (the Burnt Stew Trail) hill, you could get into a rhythm and keep going. But where it was rocky it took a lot of extra effort just to get over stuff, your heart is screaming, your legs don’t want to lift up. Still it was an excellent race, I was so glad I signed up.”

She wasn’t even planning on racing. She fractured a finger on the Loonie race Thursday night while descending Billy’s Epic and was told she’d be off her bike for a few weeks. On Friday, the night before the 5 Peaks race, she decided to enter on a whim at the Salomon store and bought her first pair of trail runners.

Smith said she is in pretty good shape right now, and is considering racing in the Subaru Sooke International Half Iron on Sept. 14. Her priority is the world Xterra championships in Maui in October.

Just 12 seconds back was another Whistler female, Venetia McHugh, in 1:10:01.

Martina Ramage of Vancouver was third in 1:10:33.

They competed in the 20 to 29 and 30 to 39 age categories.

The fastest Whistler male, and the winner of the 15 to 19 age category, was Michael Adams in 1:12:26. Just behind in 1:12:54 was Walter Walgram, who placed third in the male 50 to 59 race.

Also finding the podium was Melanie Bernier, who placed third in female 20 to 29 in 1:20:37. Tess Geddes was third in female 50 to 59 in an even 2:00:00.

On the short course, which included 355 metres of climbing, Ray Barrett of Vancouver was first overall and first in the 30 to 39 age category in 28:13. John Graham of Surrey was second in 28:45, racing in the male 20 to 29 group. Third overall was Pemberton’s Logan Pehota, who won the male 10 to 14 race in a time of 28:53, almost four minutes faster than the next racer.

The fastest Whistler runner was Ryan Howard, eighth overall, fourth in male 20 to 29, in 30:45, while Logan’s younger brother Dalton was 14 th overall in 32:44.

There was also a shorter race for kids, which took place while the other categories were on course.

The fifth and final event in the B.C. 5 Peaks Trail Running Series is on Sept. 13 at Buntzen Lake. Fore more information, visit www.5peaks.com. Complete results are available at www.raceheadquarters.com.

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