Saturday morning of the Labour Day weekend saw a hive of mountain running activity on Mount Gardner.
Two races saw runners take to the trails: the 21 km Handloggers Half Marathon and Relay and an 11 km Classic Uphill and Downhill Race.
Handloggers Half Marathon hosted both events in cooperation with Canadian Mountain Running Association and with sanction from BC Athletics and Athletics Canada.
Both events got under way simultaneously at 9 a.m. with the stroke of two axes.
The Handloggers event included 71 open class runners, one junior, and six relay teams of three runners.
The course followed the usual route from the ferry dock through Crippen Park, around Killarney Lake and then climbed the Skid Trail to Handloggers Trail, returning via the Mid Island Trail, through Camp Bow-Isle and Crippen Park to the finish on the causeway.
Handloggers Half Marathon results
Laurel Booker of North Vancouver and Matthew Dorton of Port Coquitlam stood on top of the women’s and men’s podium, respectively, defending their 2019 titles in the event. Jenny Kleininger (Vancouver) was second and Laura Wright (Bowen Islander) was third for the women. Harrison Glotman (Vancouver) and Riley Webb (Squamish) placed second and third for the men. All three men’s podium finishers led for the majority of the race. Glotman commented that he went out fast with Dorton at the start but had to drop off the lead pace to hold on to second. Colin Kerr was the top male finisher from Bowen Island with a tie for fifth place finish.
Alison Marshall (West Vancouver) Bryan Baker (Bowen Island) finished first in the masters division for women and men, respectively.
Wyatt Edwards once again received honours for the top junior (under 20) in the event.
The relay was won by the Three-Legged Racers team that included Bev and Richard Attfield from Bluewater.
Canada’s best mountain runners arrived on Bowen Island on Saturday afternoon to test their mettle on the steep course to the summit of Mt. Gardner and back for the Canadian Classic Up and Down Mountain Running Championships. Alex Ricard (32, Squamish) and Andrea Lee (31, North Vancouver) were crowned Canadian Champions on the 11km course, which featured 750 metres of ascending and a matching descent.
Alex explained after the race that he went out hard knowing the uphill was his strength. His ascending accomplishments include winning the Red Bull 400 World Championships in 2019. Alex had some unexpected challenges on the descent when he sprained his ankle trying to avoid an aggressive off-leash dog. Despite hobbling to the finish in some pain, he hung on for the win.
Andrea came away with the victory thanks to a strong descent. She was in second place near the top of the climb, trailing Lindsay Carson (31, Burnaby) – the eventual second place finisher – at the summit. Both Andrea and Lindsay are experienced trail and road runners. Lindsay has an impressive list of credentials, including representing Canada at the World Cross Country Championships on three separate occasions.
Qualifying spots for the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships were up for grabs at the race. The top two in each race automatically qualified for the World Championships. In addition to the winners, Lindsay and Shaun Stephens-Whale (31, Squamish) secured their spots at the World Championships. Shaun is a training partner of Alex and ran a consistent effort to ensure his qualification for the World Championships.
Katie Brougham (22, Bowen Island) used her local knowledge of the trails to her advantage and ran a strong race to round out the podium. Jessie McAuley (21, Squamish) finished third to make it a sweep for Squamish in the men’s race.
It took a significant volunteer effort and support from sponsors to host two events simultaneously. A team of more than 30 volunteers supported the event assisting, with registration, gathering supplies, operating aid stations, and assisting with race safety and communications. Special thanks to Joan Vyner, Hilary Butler, Margaret Butler, Karla Everitt (Arc’teryx), Will Kells (Red Bull) and Jeannie Magis, Jane Osborne, Jenny Harris, Vanessa Jasso, Jacob Publicover, Scott Slater, Amanda Ockeloen, Pam Matthews, Lisa Brougham, Murray Skeels, Ted Benson, Rob Pineau, Leah Gregg, Kathy Clarke, Adam Koehle, Toni Leverett, Andy Hoppenrath, Brenda Louie, Wendy Hackney, Bruce Steele and the Emergency Communication Team (Vishal, Bill, James, Erica, and Haldane), and Julie van de Valk and Ran Katzman from North Shore Search and Rescue. We are very grateful to all our event sponsors this year, including: Kintec, Lambert Intellectual Property Law, Arc’teryx, Edward Jones (Ross McCorquodale), Camp BoweIsle, Red Bull, The Snug, Saucony, Cocoa West, Bowen Island Pub, First Credit, Bowen Island Volunteer Fire Department, Down Under Travel, McTaggart Water, and Mary Lynn Machado (Realtor).