Both the men's and women's records for the North Face Whistler Half Marathon were broken on Saturday, which may not seem that unusual for an event that's only in its second year. However, given all the hills and twists and turns from start to finish this was expected to be a slower race — and not the kind of event where runners set personal bests. But that's just what David Palermo of the Vancouver Falcons Athletics Club did on Saturday, posting his personal best half marathon time while shaving eight seconds off the time set by James Finlayson in the inaugural event last season.
Palermo's time was 1:09:17, a full minute and 40 seconds ahead of Squamish's Jason Loutitt. Edward McCarthy of Vancouver was third in 1:11:32.
"That first part was pretty windy and we were all pretty close over Blueberry Hill. When we got to the bike path part that was up and down, up and down, that's where I broke free," said Palermo.
While he spent the next half of the race looking over his shoulder, he felt good and even had the lungs to chat with the pace cyclist ahead of him.
He studied the course ahead of time, but it was Palermo's first time actually running the route. "You know what, it was a little tough in places (and changing directions) but the organizers put just enough flat and straight in between the hills so you always got a little break," he said. "I loved it.
"It was my personal best by a long shot, I'm ecstatic with my time... You never know how things are going to happen on race day."
For Jason Louttit, this was his first high-cadence run since he was injured three months ago. Louttit is in training for a 100-mile ultra marathon at the end of August, and came into the day with no expectations.
"I'm very happy," he said.
"David had a great run. He took off and I kind of dropped back, not having that speed work in. I eventually caught up to Ed (Edward McCarthy). I pretty much run at the same speed, so I think he fell off the pace a little."
Loutitt was right about keeping the same pace; he finished the first half of the race in 35:17 and the second half in 35:40.
On the women's side it was a tight battle right to the finish, with Karen Tulloch of Vancouver taking the win in 1:17:30. It was her first half marathon win.
"I signed up for this in January when I was still injured," she said. As a result she came into the race with four options — to run hard and try to win, to run for an hour and then ease up, to take it easy for the first hour and try to win strong, and option D), "to give my number to my husband and hang out with the dog and kids on the side of the course while he ran."
She went with the first option. While it was close, she managed to keep the same pace going and moved from third to first in the last few kilometres.
"I was running steady and I realized at the end, 'Hey, I'm going to catch up with these girls,'" she said. "I ended up in the last kilometre and a half catching up, and the last kilometre was hard but it was fun, it was a wonderful course and Whistler is just such a happy place to be."
As for winning her first half marathon, she said, "I just shows that no matter what, as long as you just keep going, that slow and steady wins the race, that there's something to that," she said.
Tulloch was sixth overall in the race, while seventh overall — and the second female — was Catrin Jones of Victoria in 1:17:45. Care Nelson of Langford was ninth overall in 1:19:23.
All told there were four women in the top 10 overall.
Jones was also excited about her result.
"I dropped three minutes off my time from last year, so I'm really happy about that," she said. "There were a few of us up there in the lead for a bit and then Care and myself. I would have liked to hold onto the pace and win, but I did better than I believed I would so I really can't complain."
The fastest Whistler runner was B.D. Cooper in eighth overall in 1:19:12, as well as second in the 30 to 34 age group. A group of fast Whistler runners also rounded out the top 20: David Moloney was 16th overall and third in men's 30 to 34 in 1:23:32; Kevin Hodder was 17th overall and first in men's 40 to 44 in 1:23:48; Craig Henderson was 18th overall and fourth in male 30 to 34 in 1:24:45; John Blok was 19th overall and first in male 55 to 59 in 1:25:51 (his own personal best); and Mark Allard 20th overall and first in male 45 to 49 in 1:25:58.
The event was sold out with over 1,000 runners at the start line Saturday morning. The weather was grey and overcast, but cleared up before 8 a.m. with the sun shining through. The good weather held until after the Drum Café's free class, before a sudden hailstorm struck the village.
Race Director Dave Clark noted that the event raised over $15,200 for the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of Canada, the event's official charity.
Plans for next year's event are already being discussed, including whether they can increase the number of participants in the half marathon or add additional events like 10km and 5km runs.
Female 24 and Under
1. Lisa Brooking, Langley — 1:20:10
2. Alexa Harder, Whistler — 1:33:34
3. Alisha Leonard, Whistler — 1:39:15
Male 24 and Under
1. Max Proske, Langley — 1:26:12
2. Andrew Kates, Whistler — 1:36:47
3. Joseph Salazar, Vancouver — 1:44:57
Female 25 to 29
1. Care Nelson, Langford — 1:19:23
2. Clare Pollock, North Van — 1:31:06
3. Ciara McLoughlin, Squamish — 1:35:53
Male 25 to 29
1. David Palermo, Vancouver — 1:09:17
2. Edward McCarthy, Vancouver — 1:11:32
3. Shawn Nelson, Victoria — 1:13:20
Female 30 to 34
1. Catrin Jones, Victoria — 1:17:45
2. Amy Schneeberg, Vancouver — 1:22:08
3. Gillian Clayton, Vancouver — 1:22:50
Male 30 to 34
1. Mike Chandler, Victoria — 1:14:14
2. B.D. Cooper, Whistler — 1:19:12
3. David Moloney, Whistler — 1:23:32
Female 35 to 39
1. Niki Jacques, Coquitlam — 1:28:50
2. Hannah Garcia, Whistler — 1:33:38
3. Mardi Maynard, Whistler — 1:34:15
Male 35 to 39
1. Jason Loutitt, Squamish — 1:10:57
2. James Warren, Comox — 1:21:52
3. Gary Martin, Pemberton — 1:27:56
Female 40 to 44
1. Karen Tulloch, Vancouver — 1:17:30
2. Tina Connelly, PoCo — 1:26:32
3. Michelle Hamilton, San Jose — 1:34:11
Male 40 to 44
1. Kevin Hodder, Whistler — 1:23:48
2. Stephen Meralta, Boulder — 1:27:51
3. David Terrana, Delta — 1:29:26
Female 45 to 49
1. Rebbecca Reid, Vancouver — 1:22:24
2. Judy Riddle, Squamish — 1:34:10
3. Diana Thaxter, Victoria — 1:34:51
Male 45 to 49
1. Mark Allard, Whistler — 1:25:58
2. Tom Ballhausen, Pemberton — 1:31:57
3. Greg Diamond, Whistler — 1:32:28
Female 50 to 54
1. Lori Nelson, Victoria — 1:36:15
2. Ginger Rabkin, Whistler — 1:41:19
3. Renata Hasle, Seattle — 1:43:32
Male 50 to 54
1. Grant Finnighan, Vancouver — 1:35:39
2. Marvin Haasen, Whistler — 1:35:59
3. John Weston, West Van — 1:39:25
Female 55 to 59
1. Brenda Baker, Whistler — 1:35:44
2. Libby Burrell, Whistler — 1:42:22
3. Martha Heintzman, Whistler — 1:51:30
Male 55 to 59
1. John Blok, Whistler — 1:25:51
2. Mike Heiliger, Squamish — 1:31:19
3. Walter Wallgram, Whistler — 1:33:50
Female 60 to 64
1. Adrienne Hughes, North Van — 1:51:52
2. Joy Silcock, North Van — 2:12:54
3. Marian Paterson, Campbell R. — 2:13:02
Male 60 to 64
1. Peter Bucholtz, New West — 1:30:02
2. Michael Rowe, Victoria — 1:41:11
3. Jim Budget, Whistler — 1:43:12
Female 65 to 69
1. Agnes Benna, Vancouver — 2:28:59
2. Daphne Panter, Victoria — 2:32:25
Male 65 to 69
1. David Hughes, North Van — 1:40:50
2. Tony Hetherington, Whistler — 1:40:47
3. Dave Silcock, North Van — 1:58:50Complete results are online at www.whistlerhalfmarathon.com.