By Nancy Tinari
The Lower Mainland X-C Running Series got off to a good start on Saturday, September 21 with the Pinetree Classic meet hosted by the Phoenix Running Club.
Runners, spectators, and volunteers benefited from the perfect temperatures, mixed sun and clouds, and total absence of the rain showers that had been predicted.
Once again the idyllic forest trails of Mundy Park provided a setting for some outstanding performances from athletes both young and old. The course reverted this year to the simple 2K-loop format that was used in the “glory days” of the meet when the university competition provided lots of excitement from elite university and open competitors.
The meet got underway with Race 1, featuring all Junior, Open, and Masters men and women. With the women running three loops and the men four, there was lots of spectator cheering as the runners came up the short steep hill at the end of each loop. Michelle Heneghan was well ahead of the other women and thus was the first to cross the finish line in 22:44. The men’s race was closer, with Tom Michie taking the win in 26:01 followed by Travis Vugteveen in 26:05.
However, the age-graded results make it clear that the most impressive men’s performance was achieved by Jim Swadling, who was the top age-graded competitor out of all the men and women with his 88.4%. Tyler Ginther gets honourable mention for scoring 86.9%. Thelma Wright, one of Canada’s female distance running pioneers (and a former Olympian), led the women’s age-graded results with an 84.7% performance.
Cameron Slaymaker (2003) won Race 2 (2K) in 8:23, with younger runner Carson Lecky (2004) not far behind in 8:43. Charlie Ford (2003) was the first girl to finish that race, recording an excellent time of 8:53.
Race 3 (2K) featured right-to-the-wire sprints from Justin Ralph and Declan Kingston (both 2001) with the former prevailing though both were given times of 7:45. Brandt Muncey-Buckley (2002) wasn’t far behind with a fast time of 7:54. Taylor Williams (2001) led the girls with a fast time of 8:01, while younger runner Kendra Lewis (2002) was close on her heels in 8:07.
Race 4 saw the 1998-2000 girls finish first as they only had to do the 2K course, while the older girls and all of the boys completed the 2-loop 4K course. Excellent times were recorded by Olivia Willett (1999) and Jessica Williams (1999) who finished close together in 7:43 and 7:44 respectively. Brandon Figueroa (1996-97) won the 4K race easily with a speedy time of 13:06.
Thanks to all the runners, volunteers, parents, and other spectators who came out on Saturday! Your high spirits, fast running, and great sportsmanship turned the meet into a big success.
Results and photos: http://www.phoenixrunningclub.com/pinetree-classic/2013-results