On Saturday, July 29, 238 runners competed in the first ever Elk Valley Ultra, a 50 km endurance running race.
Ron Ellis was the first solo runner to complete the course in 5:57:45.7, after starting at 6 a.m. that morning. Becky Bates was the top female finisher with a time of 5:57:45.4. There were 69 solo male runners, and 57 female. 126 individuals competed in the solo category.
The mid-30 degree temperatures made it hard for runners to complete the already challenging alpine route.
One-hundred per cent of local soloists completed the race.
In the mixed relay category, the What Goes Up Must Come Down team took first overall out of 32 teams with a total combined time of 6:46:04.5. The first leg of the race was completed by Matthew Goulden, then Kaitlin Clement followed by Rahim Karmali.
The Sole Sisters team took first in the female relay category, and second overall with a time of 6:56:57.8. This team was comprised of Meg Jorgensen, Lisa Vinge and Gillian Hinton.
The top mixed male relay team went to The Tripod with a time of 7:42:37.8. They took sixth overall in the relay category. These runners included Cory Neal, Kyle Glover and Colin Zak.
The route took runners from the starting line in Annex Park, up the Mount Fernie Hiking Trail, to Heiko’s Rocky Road, across Heiko’s Trail to Tamarack Trail, Island Lake Lodge, the Old Growth Trail, Rail Trail to the base of the Lazy Lizard. From there, runners made their way up Project 9, Stupid Traverse, S-Bomb, Brokeback, to the Lazy Lizard Connector. From the campground at Mt. Fernie Provincial Park, runners took off up Woody, to Old Goat, Gorby, and the end of the Lizard Creek Trail. Next, the route went up Stove, to Mushroom Head, Red Sonja, Phat Bastard and back into town where runners went under the bridge and finally the finish at Annex Park.
Husband and wife race directors Abi and Mike Moore of Stag Leap Running Co. were pleased at the turnout for the first annual Elk Valley Ultra. Both knew the interest for an ultra was there, and the results did not disappoint. Putting the notice up, the race sold out in a few months.
“We were keen to bring one (a race) back to Fernie,” said Moore.
“It was a great race with some great runners. Lots of locals and lots of out-of-towners. A really good vibe, it went really well,” she said.
Moore was very grateful to the sponsors of the event which included Giv’er Shirtworks, Elevation Showcase, Evolution Health and Fitness, Fernie Physiotherapy, Good Grub Catering and Fernie Brewing Company.
“Thanks to anyone and everyone involved,” said the Moore’s.
“We have memories that will last a lifetime and we are so grateful.”
The running community has existed for a long time, but has grown over the past few years.
Stag Leap Running was started last summer, to motivate runners and grow the community spirit around trail running. Many of the local competitors took on the Elk Valley Ultra this year as their first-ever ultra race.
“That was really cool to see,” said Moore.