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B.C. local earns his fifth 50/50 finish at Squamish 50

Colin Miller was the first to finish the 50-miler/50K double at Squamish yesterday. The Lion's Bay resident is the first person to earn five 50/50 finishes

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Colin Miller, 40, a chemical engineer from Lion’s Bay, B.C. completed his fifth 50/50 in first place at Squamish yesterday, and is the only person with five finishes of the back-to-back 50-miler and 50K. He earned the coveted orange-and-grey Squamish 50 trucker hat for his efforts.

Miller was eighth across the finish line in Saturday’s 50-miler with a time of 8:33:44. His time for the 50K (which he finished in fourth place) was 5:42:26. Miller managed to take about nine minutes off his time over last year, when he was also first in the 50/50. In 2016 he finished second. “Experience definitely helps on this course, especially on the technical downhills,” says Miller, who often travels to ultras scattered around the Pacific Northwest along with his wife, Erin Fujibayashi. “The more you run them, the more enjoyable they become.” He also had high praise for race organizers Gary Robbins and Geoff Langford of Ridgeline Athletics.

With the 50-mile race boasting more than 90 per cent singletrack and 3,352m of elevation change and four other events going on over the weekend (50 miles, 50K, 23K, and 50/50, which is the 50-miler and the 50K done on consecutive days), the Squamish 50 is the highlight of the summer for trail runners.

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Directed by Gary Robbins, the race attracts the hardest of hard-core trail runners. The courses are highly technical, and crews are only allowed at certain specific aid stations. Pacers and poles are not allowed on the 50-mile course, which is described as “a nice little day of suffering.” Thinking of trying the 23K for your first trail race? Think again. The website says “This SHOULD NOT be your first trail race. It is a very difficult 23K course.” But those who take it on get to enjoy some of the world’s most spectacular scenery.

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Americans John Maxwell and Gabe Wishnie finished second and third in the 50/50. Canadians Adrienne Dunbar, Emily Sabo, and Kristen Hanson were the top three women 50/50 finishers.

Meanwhile, Gina Middaugh became the first woman to achieve three 50/50 finishes.

Three Canadians stood on the podium for the 50-miler on Saturday: Karl Augsten (7:40:37), Mike Sidic (7:49:16), and Mike McMillan (7:55:45). Sidic won the North Shore Knee Knackering Trail Run last month.

On the women’s side, Courtney Dauwalter of Golden, Colorado was first (and fifth overall), with a time of 8:22:15. Darbykai Standrick was second, in 8:45:22. Kat Drew was third, in 9:03:40. Dauwalter is fresh off her Western States 100 win in June, and Standrick won the Knee Knacker last month. 

In the 50K it was Canadians Etienne Robert (5:18:58), Xavier Bouchard (5:20:14), and Ian McKinley (5:35:53) on the men’s podium. Catrin Jones (5:53:58), Jeanelle Hazlett (6:01:55), and Arden Young (6:03:18) were the top women finishers in the 50K. Young was fresh off her win at Sinister 7 (her first 100-miler) in early July. Hazlett was third at the Knee Knackering North Shore Trail Run last month. Jones won the 30K at Whistler in June.

In the 23K, Cheryl Pepin was first, and third overall, with a time of 2:01:30. Liza Pye and Erin Woodrow went second and third, with identical times of 2:20:42. Brendan Hunt was the first male to finish, in 1:43:49. Marcus Allen was second (1:58:10) and Tyson Newell third (just a few minutes behind Cheryl Pepin) in 2:04:22.