This past Saturday in Golden, BC, Sjaan Gerth and Emily Setlack were crowned the 2014 Canadian Mountain Running Champions.
Although poor weather was forecast, it ended up being the course that was the true challenge in this contest between mountain and runner. With over 1000m of elevation gain and an unrelenting 10% grade up Kicking Horse Ski resort, this race was not for the faint of heart.
In the women's 8km race, Emily Setlack pulled away from the field early and never relinquished her lead. She was chased up the mountain by Nadine Mueller and Chessa Adsit-Morris who battled throughout the race, with Nadine ultimately capturing second position. New mother Lauren King showed her strength by finishing fourth in her first mountain race on this continent and Catrin Jones finished in fifth after only recently returning from injury.
In the men's 12km race, it was triathlete Sjaan Gerth who made a move near the midpoint of the race to pull away from one of Canada's most experienced mountain runners, Kris Swanson. Kris held on for second place, with Michael Simpson finishing in third. Veteran runner Jeremy Deere went out conservatively and moved through the field to finish in fourth place. Shaun Stephens-Whale, another experienced mountain runner, ensured his place on the World Championships team with a laudable fifth place finish.
Oliver Bibby ran a gutsy race in the junior men's race to secure his place on the World Championships team.
Race results are available: here
Special thanks to race director Magi Scallion, and Amy Golumbia and the 5Peaks series for putting together a very well organized race at a truly exceptional venue.
Next up for the national team will be the NACAC Championships in Mexico on July 20th.