Local runners hit their stride in first Five Peaks race 

There was a strong showing at the finish line from Whistler and Sea to Sky athletes at the first Nike ACG Five Peaks Trail Running Series of the season on May 25.

The Golden Ears race, held at Golden Ears Provincial Park in Maple Ridge, attracted more than 230 runners from around the province. The course was 14 km and included hiking and multi-use trails.

It’s not as technical as some of the other Five Peaks races, but there a few good hill climbs to tackle on the route.

Sean Wolfe of Mount Currie posted the fastest time in the Men’s Masters category, and the fifth fastest time of the day. He finished the course in 1 hour 5 minutes 59 seconds, almost a minute ahead of the next competitor.

Also in the Masters category, David Burke of Pemberton was third out of 53 trail runners with a time of 1:07:02, and Daniel Havens of Whistler was 11 th in 1:20:56.

In the Men’s Open race, Whistler’s Scott Pass of Squamish was fifth out of 87 racers, and seventh overall among men with a time of 1:07:56.

Two years ago Pass was ranked third overall at the end of the series after running all five races, and he did well in the three races he ran in last year.

"I try to stay in training, but I do get a little lazy in the winter. I go skiing and I’m busy at work, so you’re always a little behind for the first race of the season," says Pass, the manager of Whistler Transit. "I think it went pretty well though, for me and other locals who took part."

This year he will only run in three of the Five Peaks races. He’ll miss one on vacation and one while running in the 48 km Knee Knacker North Shore Trail Run from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove on July 13. He’s training for that race with local distance athletes Kevin Titus and Paul Nichols.

In the Women’s Masters race, Whistler’s Brendan Flann was third overall out of a field of 17 competitors with a time of 1:28:36.

In the Female Open race, Whistler’s Leah Powell was 18 th overall out of 63 racers with her time of 1:29:14.

Karen Halford and Beth Debeck of Squamish were 53 rd and 59 th with times of 1:50:42 and 1:54:35 respectively.

There are five races in the B.C. Coast Mountain Series, including a race at Mount Seymour on June 15, at Whistler-Blackcomb on July 20, at Cypress Bowl on Aug. 17, and the finals at Buntzen Lake on Sept. 14. There are other Five Peaks series taking place in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.

The B.C. Coast Mountain Series is one of the most challenging trail running series in Canada, including singletrack, double track, cat trails, and lift lines. Some of the courses also have a significant elevation gain, and they vary in length from 8 km to 15 km.

There is more than $30,000 in cash and prizes available on the tour, and all proceeds go towards the Sunshine Dream for Kids Foundation, which helps dreams come true for kids who are challenged by severe difficulties or life threatening illnesses.

For more information on the Nike ACG Five Peaks series, visit www.fivepeaks.com .

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