Of all the local trail runs in Sea to Sky, the annual Rubble Creek Classic is the longest running — the first informal run was held in 1985 without the permission of BC Parks — and the most consistent. The course has not significantly changed in that time, consisting of part of the trail to Cheakamus Lake, the climb up the Helm Creek Trail, the Cinder Flats behind Black Tusk and the long descent down the Rubble Creek Trail.
The consistency of the run — if not the actual running conditions — makes Edward McCarthy's time from the 2012 edition all the more remarkable. He finished the 24.5km route, with its 1,340 metres of vertical climbing, in one hour, 50 minutes and 51 seconds, averaging over 13km/h. He smashed the previous record of 1:56:45 set by Phil Villeneuve in 2009, by more than five full minutes.
McCarthy, who placed second in last year's Rubble Creek Classic, was excited to get the record. "(Phil) is a friend from cross-country skiing back in the day. We grew up across the river (in Ottawa) and I've known him for a while, so there was a lot of personal motivation to beat him today," said McCarthy.
"Last year (Villeneuve) tried to bet Adam (Campbell, the 2011 Rubble Creek Classic winner) and I a dinner that we wouldn't beat his course record, and of course the weather last year was just brutal with the snow and sleet. Adam turned to me at one point and said that there was no way we were beating the record, and he was right. I wish I told Phil 'double or nothing' for this year's race.'"
McCarthy said he started the climb with Nick Elson, who placed second in the race in 2:00:34, but Elson dropped off the pace.
"I know Nick hasn't been doing that much training recently, but he kept up with me on the climb and then I went. I did look over my shoulder at one point on the flats and didn't see anybody after that," said McCarthy, who said his entire strategy was to break Villeneuve's record. "And the only way I was going to do that is to run my own race and not worry about the other guys."
Because of the high ceiling this year, McCarthy actually got to see Black Tusk, and appreciated the view. "This is one of my favourite races before I even saw the view," he laughed. "I came over the top and I was like, 'oh yeah, there's the tusk.' I had no idea where it was last year, you couldn't see anything."
McCarthy said the Rubble Creek Classic ranks among his best races this year, including a personal best at the Vancouver Sun Run (16th overall, sixth in category), the BMO Vancouver Marathon (fifth overall) and the Canadian Mountain Running Championships qualifier (fourth). He also won the Comfortably Numb Run in Whistler this year.
Eric Carter placed third for the men this year in 2:01:24, while Whistler's Ben Biswell was the top local racer in fourth in 2:06:21.
On the women's side, Marieve Legrand was first to the finish line in 2:24:15.
"It was great," she said. "I've done this a few times and I've come to know the course quite well. I know you get a lot of everything, it's all singletrack and it's in the right order — there's a big climb, the flats have scenic views and the then the long downhill — it's always rewarding."
Legrand said she was pacing herself with other runners on the climb, but did most of the middle on her own. She ran with Whistler's Kevin Hodder for the last part of the race because they were moving at the same pace. "You try not to worry what everyone else is doing and just enjoy the trail," she said.
Kristina Rody was second in 2:30:35, while Janet Lun placed third in 2:35:38.
Complete results will be posted online on the Escape Route website, www.escaperoute.ca under Events.
Men's Top 10
1. Edward McCarthy — 1:50:51
2. Nick Elson — 2:00:34
3. Eric Carter — 2:01:24
4. Ben Biswell — 2:06:21
5. Brad Schalles — 2:06:57
6. Alex Dunn-Katzer — 2:09:17
7. Mathew Hewitt — 2:12:23
8. Chris Kennedy — 2:13:28
9. Tim Musselman Bell — 2:17:06
10. Brady Dunne — 2:17:12
*Top over 40 Master is Michael Henry in 11th in 2:17:18.
Women's Top 10
1. Marieve Legrand — 2:24:15
2. Kristina Rody — 2:30:35
3. Janet Lun — 2:35:38
4. Birgitte Marthinsen — 2:46:33
5. Sarah Stepec — 2:48:17
6. Karen Norton — 2:52:21
7. Leah Trudeau — 2:54:26
8. Naomi Dunaway — 2:57:17
9. Christine Suter — 2:59:43
10. Cindy Bonnell — 3:00:48.
* Top Master is Janet Lun.