Valley Trail Run winner goes sneakerless 

Turnout lower than normal for this year's run

The fastest man in the 20th annual Whistler Valley Trail Run didn't even wear running shoes, completing the hilly 10 km course wearing Vibram FiveFingers shoes.

Robin Poirier finished the course in 39:01 after leading for most of the race. With a cyclist pacing him and Seamus Frew on his tail for most of the run, he said it was easy to keep his head down and run.

"It's a fun run, but this is a really hard course," said Poirier, who is new to Whistler.

"For a while it was just me and Seamus, and the cyclist, so I didn't have to think about anything other than running."

Poirier switched to the "Barefoot" running shoes a few years ago as a result of various knee and foot problems, and hasn't looked back. Although he had some issues with his achilles tendon, he says it taught him to run differently.

"I still have shoes for some runs but I use these most of the time," he said. "Seems to work for me."

Frew came in at 39:25, with Chris Kennedy placing third in 40:51.

Catherine O'Neill won the women's 10 km category in 45:04, followed by Hannah Garcia in 46:21 and Lizanne Bussieres in 46:33.

There was also a 5 km option. First overall, and the top female, was Judith Elliman in 21:49, followed by Sarah Strother in 23:54. Elizabeth Mezzdotta was third.

Brad Rusaw was the top male in 24:00, followed by Rob Wilkins in 24:58 and Denny Nelson in 29:16.

In the Boys Under 15 race, Fraser Doak and Michael Murdoch timed the finish to cross together in 31:28. Will Taylor was second in 39:56, followed by Taylo Larrieu in 44:42.

In Girls Under 15, Lauren Doak was first in 25:14.

Turnout was less than half of what it was last year, which could be the result of last minute promotion - the race has a new organizer this year - or of locals signing up for the North Face Whistler Half Marathon, taking place this weekend. It's also been a late season for trail-running, with snow in the valley until a few weeks ago.




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