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Sigge's racers go the distance

Nordic event sells out 500 spots

Cross-country racers picked their pain on Saturday with three different distances of events at the first annual Sigge's P'ayakentsut loppet at Ski Callaghan.

There was a 50-km marathon race for the super fit, a 30-km race for people in peak season form and 15-km courses for recreational athletes. As well, there was a classic/free ski tournament for kids aged four to 11 and a ski cross for youth aged 12 to 14.

There were 29 men racing in the 50-km category, with a two-hour difference between first and last. At the head of the pack was Brian May of the Larch Hills Nordic Club with a time of 2:37:14, averaging a blistering 19.1 km/h from start to finish.

Phil Villeneuve of Canmore, racing for Team Salomon, was second in 2:41:13, followed by Elliot Holtham of the Nordic Racers in 2:42:50. Jan Francke, representing the Squamish Titans was fourth in 2:46:18, while the top Whistler racer was Michael Robinson in 3:08:57.

For age group results, visit

In the women's 50-km race, Carolyn Daubeny from the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Centre was first out of nine racers in 3:15:20, followed by Mara Letaine in 3:24:38 and Anita Holtham of the Nordic Racers in 3:45:12.

Anne Parent was the top Whistler racer in fourth in 3:51:02. Nadine Crowe, Charlotte MacNaughton, Micheel Crowe and Joan Denroche also went the full distance.

In 30-km men, there were 94 racers at the finish line. The Whistler Nordics own Dave Burch was the guy to beat in 1:26:55, followed by Mike Fitzmourice of the Hollyburn Cross Country Ski Club in 1:29:13 and Whistler's Matt Bodkin in 1:29:13 and two-tenths of a second. Brent Murdoch also made the top 10 for Whistler in 1:32:05.

Christine Fletcher from Golden was first out of 43 women in 1:39:51, followed by the Whistler Nordics Jennifer Tabbernor in 1:46:44. Birgitte Marthinsen of The Red Bench Diner was third in 1:49:34.

Other Whistler skiers in the top 10 were Francesca Cole in sixth in 2:01:05 and Irene Wood in 2:04:00.

In the 15-km race, Alistair Hardy-Poirier of the Nordic Racers and UBC was first out of 47 racers in 48:13, sprinting at close to 19 km/h from start to finish. Mikhail Fain of UBC was second in 50:43 and David Wilburn of the Nordic Racers third in 54:16. The top Whistler racer was Paul Beswetherick in 58:37.

Arlene Schieven and Kristin Johnston of the Whistler Nordics were first and second out of 53 starters in the women's 15-km, with times of 52:25 and 56:15 respectively. Laurie Bezzubetz of the Ontario-based Porcupine Ski Runners was third in 58:19.

In the Payak Youth Race, ages 15 to 17, it was all Hollburn on the men's side with Kayden Sim in front in 50:43, followed by Cam Fitzmaurice in 58:18 and Kazuto Knecht in 1:00:18.

The Whistler Nordics dominated the Youth girls race, with Nicki Murdoch in first in 58:24, Lauren Doak in second in 1:00:27 and Marlin Beswetherick in third in 1:13:40.

The P'ayakentsut is the biggest nordic ski event at Ski Callaghan since the Olympics, combining several corridor events like the Whistler Nordics Loppet into one big festival. The Callaghan Valley Cross Country Ski Club was the main organizer, with support from the Nordic Racers and Hollyburn in the Lower Mainland, and all three Sea to Sky clubs in Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton.