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Survivorfest 2023: Canadian six-hour and 50-mile records broken

The annual event in Sherwood Park, Alta., saw numerous spectacular performances

Catrin Jones Photo by: Facebook

The sixth annual Survivorfest took place from June 10 to 11 in Sherwood Park, Alta., and once again the official six-hour and 24-hour Canadian national championship resulted in multiple impressive performances. Last year, Woodstock, Ont.’s Amanda Nelson was the star of the show, breaking the female 100-mile and 12-hour records, but this year it was Catrin Jones’s turn to shine. Jones broke the 6-hour Canadian record with 78.571 km, as well as the 50-mile Canadian record, in 6:08:16.  

The B.C. ultrarunner is no stranger to setting records; she had already set both the six-hour and 50-mile records back in 2020, when she ran 6:09:12 in the 50-miler, then turned around and completed 75.538 km to break the 6-hour record only a few weeks later. 

catrin jones
Catrin Jones sets Canadian 50-mile record in Victoria. Photo: Joseph Camilleri

Since Survivorfest began, it has been a qualifier for athletes wanting a spot at the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) World Championships. Some of the best ultrarunners from across the country make their way to Strathcona Athletic Park’s 400m track to test their limits, and several other athletes came away with qualifications and records.

Michel Leblanc, Richard MacDonald and Tim Higham qualified for the Canadian 24 Hour National team. Along with Jones’ records, Carla Rodriguez DiMitrescu set a new Women’s 6-hour Mexican record with 66.268km, and Kathia Rached set two new Lebanon women’s records by running 200 km, as well as running for the entire 24 hours.

Fun for all

In celebration of Pride Month in Alberta, the event included a non-binary category for the first time. “June is an important month for all Albertans and beyond. We are so excited to now have a non-binary category to increase inclusion and allow for more athletes to feel comfortable in the sporting world,” says Laura Sherrer-Townsend, Survivorfest race director and founder.

All proceeds from the event went to the Saffron Sexual Assault Centre; Sherrer-Townsend has been very vocal about her own experiences with sexual assault, and her commitment to preventing sexual violence is the main reason she started Survivorfest Running Event in 2018.

This year’s event was a huge success, and Sherrer-Townsend only sees it getting bigger from here. “We’re only going to grow and we can’t wait to see what next year brings! A huge shout-out to our athletes, supporters, volunteers, donors, and the community at large–we couldn’t have done any of this without you,” she says. 

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