Garnett beats heat on 50-mile run to Whistler

July 7, 2013

By Vince Shuley, Whistler Question

The scorching temperatures of the Canada Day long weekend were not the most ideal for a trail running ultra, but organizers of the fourth annual Tenderfoot Boogie were prudent in getting the race started pre-dawn at 5 a.m.

“The guys coming in a few hours from now might have a different story, but for me (the temperature) was good,” said overall 50-mile winner Jonathon Garnett, who crossed the line with a personal best of seven hours, 41 minutes, 25 seconds — more than two hours ahead of Roy Kok, who came in second at 10:03:27.

“It started off nice and cool, about 16 degrees with a bit of rain. By the time the sun crested the ridge it was half over.”

Garnett, originally from Victoria, is no stranger to running in heat and humidity being based in Hong Kong.

“Training in Hong Kong has good crossover benefits, you come back from a run in thirty-degree heat and you’re soaked. For me, this is actually really nice.”

The 50-mile course started at the Squamish Adventure Centre and wound its way past Brackendale, Brohm Lake and the Paradise Valley before following the Sea to Sky Highway. Several more trail diversions at Lucille Lake and Brandywine Falls Provincial Park kept runners on their toes before the final stage through Whistler’s Westside to the finish at Meadow Park.

“The first half of this 50-miler is pretty flat, so it gives you the opportunity to really put the pedal to the metal and get some fast kilometres in,” said Garnett.

“Obviously that brings in the risk of overdoing it, you have to hold it back a little bit so you can keep some fuel in the tank for when the hills do start. It’s actually quite nice because you get a bit of ebb and flow with the hills. It undulates, it flows, it’s a good mix. It only goes on the road when it has to.”

Read more,


Ultra competitive: Why the North Shore is a trail-running hotbed

May 30, 2013

By Justin Beddall, North Shore Outlook

Even though he’s decked out in a bright orange jacket, electric blue shorts and red runners, he doesn’t turn many heads when he enters the Starbucks at the base of Grouse Mountain.

Nobody here seems to know that the sweaty runner who just ordered a coffee and yogurt is Adam Campbell. You know, Adam Campbell, the North Van athlete named Canadian Male Ultra Trail Runner of the Year by Trail Running Canada in 2012. OK, so maybe he’s not a household name — yet.

But if this was Europe, or maybe even Japan, where the ardent ultra racing fans line the trails to cheer on the competitors, he might get asked for an autograph or to pose for a photo.

Ultrarunning, by Campbell’s own admission, is somewhat of a fringe sport. But its popularity is growing and there are a few Canadians, who are making a living — albeit modest — at it.

“There’s a handful of us who do it full-time. Two other people who do it at a high level [are] Gary Robbins and Ellie Greenwood and they both live on the North Shore,” says Campbell.

Read more,

A walk in the park

September 5, 2012

The 21st annual Walk in the Park Ultra Race went off without a hitch at Kenna Cartwright Park, Kamloops on Sunday, Sept. 2.

Participants chose between 18-, 36- and 54-kilometre loops.

Mel Bos of Kelowna established a new female course record, finishing the 54k in 5:04.

Logan Baulieu of Edmonton was the first male finisher at that distance with a time of 6:01.

The lone 36k runner was Geoff Blunden of Kamloops, who finished in 5:06.

In the 18k, Ian Robertson of Kamloops was the first male finisher with a time of 1:43.

Two minutes later, the fastest female, Jennifer Elfenbein of Kamloops, crossed the finish line.

Sandra Pasmen of Kamloops finished all three loops in 9:30, winning the event’s traditional last-place prize, a lawn chair.

Full results:

Ellie Greenwood second at Comrades (Ultra) Marathon

June 5, 2012

Recent return-to-BC resident, and winner of the BMO Vancouver Marathon, Ellie Greenwood was in South Africa on the weekend, contesting the world’s largest and oldest ultramarathon. The 89km Comrades Marathon is run between the cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg, alternating in direction each year. This years race was run “down” to Durban, but despite the 600m of net elevation drop, the course also includes almost 1400m of climb along the way.

The race drew over 19,500 entries, and almost 12,000 finished before the 12-hour cut-off.

Greenwood described it as the most intense race she has ever run, due to its competitiveness. In the early going the lead women were running with many fast starting men, but by 25km the top-5 women were only a minute apart. Greenwood took the lead around halfway, reached in 3:07:09, and the only woman to stay with her was 6-time winner Elena Nurgalieva from Russia. For the next 20km the two ran stride for stride, often with physical contact. With 20km to go, Greenwood suffered some calf cramps, and was forced to power-walk the up-hills. Nurgalieva opened a lead of close to 3 minutes, but Greenwood never quit in her pursuit. Over the final kilometers she slowly closed the gap again to finish just over a minute back (6:07:12 to 6:08:23)

Loutitt second at IAU 70K trail champs

July 15, 2011

By Mihira Lakshman, Canadian Running

Jason Loutitt, a former elite marathoner, is now proving himself in the sport of ultra trail-running, finishing second at the the world 70K trail-running championships in Ireland, July 9.

Loutitt, who lives in Vancouver and runs for North Face, completed the course, which featured five steep climbs, in 6:40:32. He was less than two minutes behind France’s Erik Clavery, the winner in 6:39:07.

There were 121 competitors from 20 different countries in the event that is nowhere near as big as IAAF cross-country, road or track races. But the sport of ultra trail-running appears to be growing.

At the 40K mark, Loutitt had a five-minute lead over Clavery, but the French athlete made up the gap, and stayed in the lead. Loutitt faded to fourth at one point, before clawing his way into a silver medal position in the final 5K.

In the women’s competition, Team Canada finished third in aggregate time, behind France and Italy.

There’s more information about the race on the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) website, and the IAAF website.

Loutitt has been a regular fixture in Canada’s road racing scene for the past decade, having run a marathon best of 2:24:37 in 2009. He has also represented Canada at the world mountain running championships.

Elk/Beaver Ultras, Victoria

May 11, 2011

This classic early season opener, has become the “Bench Mark” for many of the local, and not so local Ultra and would be Ultra Marathon runners. The race consists of loops of the gravel trail around the scenic shoreline of Elk and Beaver Lakes in Victoria.

This years race had one of the larger fields of athletes, vying over five different distances. The 25 mile (40k) Glenn Jaques Ultra walk; The “First Timers” 42.2K Marathon; the 50K five looper; the 50Miler, which was this year’s national championship event; and the daddy of them all, the 100K.

The 50 Mile Championship race was won by Adam Campbell of Victoria in 5 hours 44 minutes, shattering the course record of 6:08:50 set by Peter Holubar 16 years ago in 1995. He ran a very solid race and wasted little time at the aid table, replenishing his hand-held, and swinging right back at it. Second place and first master was Keith Wakelin of Courtenay, despite some GI issues, he toughed it out for a solid sub 7 hour run. The Woman’s Champ was Audrie Stibbe in 8:24:19, fourth overall.

First place in the 100K went to a last minute entry from Squamish, Jason Loutitt. Jason just came off his first 100 mile outright win in the HURT in Hawaii. Running at a relentless low 40 minute pace per 10K, he managed to double lap second place Michael O’Hare of San Diego California, winning in 7:28:25 to Michael’s 9:48:24. Third place went to Dario Herrera in 10:15:54. Suzanne Johnson from North Vancouver was the only woman in this tough event, and finished 23 minutes behind the Herrera in 10:38:40.

Read more:

Complete results:

American River 50 Mile Ultra

April 20, 2011

Jason Loutitt recently placed second at the prestigious American River 50 Mile Ultra, from Sacramento to Auburn. In so doing he qualified for the Western States 100 mile in June.

Read Jason’s first hand account of his race here:

Diez Vista 50K Ultra

April 20, 2011

Report by Martha Grant

Fifteen years ago, George and Gail Forshaw designed and directed the first Diez Vista 50 km trail run.  They were keen on show-casing the wide variety of trails that they had found in their own backyard.  Looking back at the list of finishers in the early years, you can see the names runners who have since become known as the pioneers of ultrarunning in the Pacific Northwest.  Two of those first finishers have continued to enter, race and finish each of the fifteen DV races.  The friendly competition between Peter Zubick and Judy Kopotski is legendary, as they try to out-race each other on a higher level – by simply showing up each April.  This year, their efforts were rewarded when they were each presented with a personalized, hand-carved walking stick made by long-time volunteer, Ken Cretelli.  Each stick is topped with a mountain lion carving and wood-burned with the runner’s name and the dates of all the races.

The Diez Vista 50 km is the epitome of a grassroots event.  The registration table was pulled out of the van moments before the first racers pulled into the gravel lot.  The start line was made by pulling flagging ribbon across the lot near a specific Douglas fir tree.  And the racers were sent off by George ringing a cowbell and simply shouting “go!”.  This year’s racers consisted of 111 runners from BC, Alberta and Washington State.  The course had to be altered due to high water and flooding at Buntzen Lake.  Since the lower trails and the ‘floating bridge’ were all under water, the racers were detoured over Lakeview Trail, which offered more technical footing and increased elevation than the original course.  As a result, the overall times were much slower.  The front runners added 30 to 40 minutes to their usual times and some back-of-the-packers added over an hour to their previous DV times.  Despite the longer day, racers seemed pleased with the course changes and embraced the challenge of a more difficult run.

Leading right from the clang of the cowbell was Justin Angle, who went on to win in a time of 4:52.  Bill Huggins, also from the Seattle area, finished in second, and David Papineau in third place.  In the women’s race, local favourite Suzanne Evans won her sixth Diez Vista in a time of 5:12, finishing in 5th place overall.  Mel Bos, from Kelowna, finished closely behind and Nicki Rehn was third.  It is notable to say that only 2 finishers managed to break the 5 hour mark this year, while last year there were 7 runners under 5 hours.

As soon as racers crossed the finish line, the atmosphere felt more like a backyard barbeque than a race.  Comraderie took over as everyone shared their tales over BBQ’d smokies and bowls of Gail’s homemade apple crisp and brownies.  The aid station crews were welcomed back to the finish line and eagerly awaited the finish of the two 15 year veterans.  The first raindrops of the day began to fall just as the finish line crew was packing up the van.  The only thought at the end of the day was – what kind of 20-year finisher award could possibly out-shine the walking sticks given this year?  Rocking chairs??

Race results and photos of the walking sticks:

High waters, more hills in Diez Vista race

April 8, 2011

By Larry Pruner, The Tri-City News

The odds of a record being broken at Saturday’s 15th annual Diez Vista 50 km ultra race on the trails of Belcarra and Anmore are extremely high.

How high? About as high as the extra 1,000-plus feet in elevation that’s been added to the already gruelling, goat-geared mountainous course.

The change by event organizers was not an elective one but rather a necessary one due to extremely high waters on Buntzen Lake that have boosted the winding, treacherous trek from a peak climb in elevation of about 6,200 feet to roughly 7,300, estimates race co-director George Forshaw of Port Moody.

A fair chunk of the run that formerly encompassed the beach area and floating bridge at Buntzen’s south end can no longer be navigated on foot at present, Forshaw said, shifting that portion of the race primarily to the considerably steeper Lakeview Trail on the lake’s west side.

Read more:

Whistler 50 Relay & Ultra Logo Contest Winner

March 9, 2011

Congratulations to Amanda Ehrlich, the winner of our contest to design a logo for the new Whistler 50 Relay & Ultra to be held on November 5. Amanda and 7 friends win a complimentary entry to the Relay, as well as a nights accommodation courtesy of Tourism Whistler.

For complete information about the Whistler 50 Relay & Ultra, visit the website at

Fast times at the Elk/Beaver Ultras

May 4, 2010

Fifty athletes toed the line on a blustery rainy field in Saanich adjoining Elk/Beaver Lake, to contest a variety of distances, consisting of multiple 10K loops of the lake.


Ellie Greenwood, a British citizen who has called Canada, and most recently Banff, home for the last 8 years, produced the outstanding performance of the day. Last year’s winner Hasan Lofti-Pour from North Vancouver led for the first 9 laps, but never by more than about 5 minutes. When he slowed on the final circuit, Ellie maintained the steady pace she kept throughout, to come home in 7:36:40, with Hasan second in 7:43:04.

Not only did this break the Wendy Montgomery’s women’s course record by more than an hour, it was only a minute slower than the fastest time in the world last year, and ranks Ellie 67th on the world all-time list. This in her debut attempt at the distance. Her lap times were remarkably consistent, with her fastest 10K circuit being covered in 43:25, and her slowest in 48:44.


The 50K race was also the Association of Canadian Ultramarathoners 2010 50K Championship. This too was a close contest, this time between two masters men. Victoria’s Darren Froese led from the start, but was unable to shake Keith Wakelin from Comox. Entering the final lap, Darren held a slim one minute lead, which he extended to just over two minutes by the finish, earning the championship honours in 3:37:39, to Keith’s 3:39:55. Audrey Stribbe was the women’s champion in 4:35:58.

50 Miles

The 50 miler was a low-key event, as Simon Wedel led throughout and won comfortably in 7:10:34.

Results of all events here: