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Photos: Charlie Sikkema sets 22k course record at 2024 XTERRA Pemberton

14-year-old Zoey Crosby on top in ladies' race

163 people took part at the second annual XTERRA Pemberton trail run last Saturday beneath partly cloudy skies and optimal temperatures. 

The 22-kilometre course record now belongs to North Vancouver's Charlie Sikkema, who reached the line in one hour, 59 minutes and 31 seconds. Benjamin Hughes of Port Moody (2:02:01) took silver, just ahead of Panorama resident Lewis Dickson (2:02:07) who earned bronze.

Revelstoke native Zoey Crosby prevailed in the women's 22k. The 14-year-old got it done in 2:28:40 and outdueled runner-up Heather Dart by 12 seconds in a sprint finish. Coline Heyden, a Spud Valley local, was two minutes and 26 seconds back in third while Angela Shoniker laboured to fourth despite battling illness. 

"A stellar course, so runnable, so flowy, man that was fun!" quipped Sikkema in a press release.

Others may not have shared that viewpoint, with the track delivering 900 metres of elevation gain over an 11-kilometre stretch in the Mackenzie Basin. 

Max Robinson (42:44) and Maja McCloskey (52:17) emerged on top in the men's and ladies' 9k events respectively. Pemberton's own Liam McNolty, 16, finished second as he gave Robinson a run for his money. 

"It was a fun course, I’m pretty exhausted, but it was good," Robinson said. "Happy is a nice gradual climb, Waco is a slog and then the descent is super fun. My legs were like jelly going down…and I was like, just don’t trip!”

Amidst a colourful field of U17 runners, 11-year-old Norton Maubacq Gourian was the youngest of all and managed to place 10th overall. 

Race organizers donated $5 from each registration to the Pemberton Valley Trails Association (PVTA) for a total of $1000. Participants also contributed almost $900 to various bodies like the Lil’wat Nation Recreation Department, the Indigenous Life Sport Academy and the PVTA. 

"We’re very grateful to longtime local Keith McIvor who supported the event both by taking part and through sponsorship, and looked like he thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of the 9k course and the finish line celebrations," wrote organizer Charlotte Paul in a release. "The finish line vibe was fantastic, where runners recounted their stories, cheered fellow runners, and regaled in completing the challenge. It’s so good to see fathers and daughters running together, husbands and wives. 

"[The sport] really brings people together. Runners enjoyed ice baths provided by local Wim Hof instructor Laura Douglas and refreshments kindly donated by Pemberton Valley Supermarket [as well as] Scandinave Spa who offered post-run stretching space, Aava Whistler Hotel and Habitat Kits."