Squamish runners top Whistler 50 

Event a success despite challenging conditions


The conditions went from snowy and wet to cold and icy during the Whistler 50 Relay and Ultra on Saturday, but nothing competitors couldn't handle. Of the 52 runners who turned out for the Ultra portion - 50 miles or 80.5 kilometres - 46 finished the full distance.

On the men's side, Chris Downie of Burnaby averaged a kilometre ever four minutes and 25 seconds to finish the almost double marathon distance in a blazing five hours, 52 minutes and seven seconds. Darin Bentley of Surrey was second in 5:55:34, while Hassan Lotfi-Pour of North Vancouver placed third in 6:24:13.

There were four female runners from Sea to Sky in the race, all of them doing incredibly well. Jen Segger of Squamish placed fourth overall and first among women in 6:31:20, averaging 4:54 per kilometre from start to finish. She also won the Under 40 age category.

Segger left town after the race but referred Pique to her blog entry from the event.

"I didn't approach this race with any huge expectations other than I wanted to go sub eight hours and I didn't want to finish with an injury," she said. "Looking at my training log, it's not exactly how you set yourself up for a 50-miler... I trained hard the past 10 days, including one run from Squamish to Whistler at a very easy pace and then lots of speed work."

The speed work was for the Honolulu marathon in December, which will round out Segger's incredible race season. At this point she's completed nine ultra runs ranging from 50km to 161km, a one-day adventure race, a half Iron, the Kelowna GranFondo ride Ultraman Canada (roughly a triple Ironman race) and the Kaslo Sufferfest.

The only drawback for Segger in the Ultra was being stopped by a train for over 20 minutes, which cooled her down.

"When the train finally decided to move again, my body didn't want to," she said.

That was on the third lap, and Segger said it took an hour to warm up again properly - at which point she was in second place and four minutes behind North Vancouver's Nicola Gildersleeve, a very experienced ultra runner. Segger managed to catch her by the last transition and by the end she was back in the lead by about six minutes.

Gildersleeve was second among women in 6:37:40, while Suzy Vandyck of Langley third in 7:17:25.

Margreet Dietz of Squamish placed 13th overall, was fourth among women and was first in the 40 to 49-age category in a time of 7:57:16.

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