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Team Canada to race to the top at World Mountain Running Championships

Team Canada is in Bulgaria for an uphill challenge as 14 vertical specialists will take on the World Mountain Running Championships on Sunday (photo: Emmanuel Mercier).

Canada’s mountain running team has an uphill battle ahead of them as they take on the World Mountain Running Championships in Bulgaria on Sunday. Canada has sent three full teams, including in the senior women, senior men and junior men categories, who will take on the Rila mountain range, the highest in the Balkans.

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Vertical running specialists from 36 countries will compete at the world championships including 145 in the senior men’s race, the largest of the four categories. There will be 73 senior women, 65 junior men and 51 junior women in their respective races.

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In races with Canadians, the senior women and junior men will run 7.3K with more than 700m of elevation gain. The senior men will be tasked with a 12.5K course that includes more than 1,400m of climb.

“This team is one of the strongest teams we’ve had in a last few years and we’re looking forward to seeing their results,” Adrian Lambert, the team leader of Canada’s trail and mountain running association, told Canadian Running.

Canada’s senior men’s team features six runners including Shaun Stephens-Whale who ran for the University of British Columbia and is a renown stair climber. Kristopher Swanson is the veteran of the group having been on Canada’s national team from 2008-2011 and 2013 to the present.

Vancouver’s Mirabelle Tinio is the most experienced of the senior women having been on the national team in 2012, 2014 and again in 2016. She’s one of four Canadians who will contest the 7.3K course on Sunday.

Nick Elson and Brooke Spence, the Canadian mountain running champions, did not make the trip to Bulgaria. Meggan Franks, the bronze medallist at the North American, Central American and Caribbean championships, too did not make the trip overseas.

As is the case with many long-distance running events, East African runners typically dominate the World Mountain Running Championships. A Ugandan has won the senior men’s race each of the previous three years as well as the most recent senior women’s race in 2015.

Full team


Shaun Stephens-Whale
Matt Setlack
Benoît Gignac
Mike McMillan
Kristopher Swanson
Mark Vollmer


Adele Blaise
Mirabelle Tinio
Ashley Ramsay
Marianne Hogan


Emmanuel Mercier
Greg Hetterley
Aidan Doherty
Mitchell Cauchi


Sue Lambert (Team Leader/Manager)
Brent Hetterley (Junior Team Manager)
Patrick Doherty (Junior Team Manager)

Event details (all times local)

Sunday 11 September 2016
 Start time Category  Distance  Ascent Descent
 09:30  Junior Women  ~ 3.6 km  + 531 m  -14.5 m
 10:30  Junior Men  ~ 7.3 km  + 773 m  – 89 m
 11:00  Senior Women  ~ 7.3 km  + 773 m  – 89 m
 11:30  Senior Men  ~ 12.7 km  +1468 m  – 107m

Photos from the Bulgarian race course