Photo: Instagram

The women’s race at this year’s Sinister 7 in the Alberta Rockies was won by a young woman running her first 100-miler.

Arden Young, 32, a Calgary dentist, was the first female to cross the finish line. Her time was 22 hours, 50 minutes, 29 seconds–faster than all but six (out of 21) of the women’s relay teams who completed the course, and all but six (of 11) men’s teams.

Jean-Francois Cauchon of Quebec City set a new course record of 18:17:29. 

Featuring 6,400m of elevation gain over seven legs ranging from 10.7K to 36.2K and a time cutoff of 30 hours, the race is named for the majestic Seven Sisters Mountain, an icon of the Crowsnest Pass. Runners may enter solo, or in teams of up to seven people. Finishers are known as “sinners.” The race’s website is blunt about the perils of taking it on: “This race will punish those who are not prepared.” Registration fills up almost instantly.

RELATED: Ailsa MacDonald beats entire field at Sinister 7 in first 100-miler

We caught up with Young after she’d had a chance to bank some recovery sleep back home in Calgary. “I knew it would be hard,” she says, “But I could not have fathomed just how hard it would be.” Young had not run more than 50 miles (80K) in training. “It felt a little crazy to be doubling that distance,” she says, and credits her crew with getting her through the final 60K.

Young’s coach, Charles Miron, holds the 148K course record from 2011, and knows the course well. “My two friends were great,” says Young, “But they learned so much from Charles,” says Young. “He knew exactly what I needed. I came in from leg four overheated, I wasn’t eating, and I was panicking. Charles said ‘You’re ok, take these salt tabs, drink this, and off you go.’ He knew I didn’t need the pressure of decision-making at that point, and I just kept going. And my crew turned into a well-oiled machine. I’m so grateful to these people. They helped me push past limits I didn’t think it was possible to push past.”

Of course, it’s not all about the winners. But we liked Young’s approach to this race, and the way her Instagram posts tell her Sinister 7 story, in words and pictures.

In the women’s race, Elizabeth Halleran of Banff was second, in 24:40:24, and Jessi Morton-Langehaug was third, in 25:18:53.

Sinister 7, my first 100 miler. I’m still in disbelief that it actually happened. I knew this race would be hard, but nothing could have prepared me fully for all the feels. Unusual knee pain started early on, and without my amazing crew – and the one and only coach Charles @solosportsystems – I don’t know if I would’ve made it to the finish line, never mind cross it as first solo female. It took a village. For anyone that thinks ultra running is a solo, lonely sport, just show up to one of these races. The support and comraderie felt in this community is what keeps me coming back. Out on the trail, sure we are competing, but everyone becomes friends, helping each other to find their limits and then push past them. My trail angel of the race was Jill (@calgarymarathon ) who offered me her hiking poles when she saw me struggling in leg 6. Thanks for all the support, encouragement and congratulations! Feeling so grateful. Really sore, and grateful. 📷 @leannehazard (And yes I was bribed with a popsicle to start leg 5)

A post shared by Arden Young (@ardenly) on

On the men’s side, Luke Glapa of Nelson, B.C. was second, in 20:20:56, and Patrick Humenny of Kimberley, B.C., was third, in 20:28:40.

Crewing duties at @sinister_sports Sinister 7 100 miler were tough 😜 . So stoked to have seen inspiring performances (@runningtherockies you rockstar!) and even managed to sneak in some awesome runs; although this is really not a challenge in this country! . Ran up Turtle Mountain to admire Frank Slide, checked out leg 6 of #sinister7 ultra (maybe an option for my first 100 miler 🤔) and soaked up the golden hour around Beauvais Lake! . @runuphill.ca @inov8_canada @runderwearofficial #running #trailrunning #traillife #travel #outdoors #itrainfor #mountains #ultrarunning #ultrarunner #mountainlovers #crewing #goexplore #optoutside #runtheworld #smilesformiles #goodvibesonly #beautifuldestinations #sheadventures #lovetrail #nature #liveyourpassion #runuphill

A post shared by Svenja (@thehareruns) on

Patrick Humenny was also first in the master’s category. Brian McArthur of Red Deer was second, in 22:21:32. Troy Dzioba of Spruce Grove was third, in 23:12:21.

In the women’s master’s race, the top female was Jessica Laird of Edmonton, in 26:06:46. Second was Karen Johansen of Calgary, in 28:18:48, and third was Natalie Baldo of Calgary, in 29:27:05. 

Next year’s race is July 5-7, 2019.

Editor’s note: in an earlier version of this story, we made an assumption that Patrick Humenny was not be rewarded with both third place and first master’s, and incorrect information was published. We regret the error. 

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