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Squamish 50 men’s course record falls amid smoky skies

Squamish's own Karl Augsten ran 7:14:40 to shave more than 15 minutes off the 50-mile course record

Karl Augsten Photo by: @srobarts

The thickening haze of wildfire smoke didn’t seem to faze runners at the Squamish 50 over the weekend, as one of Canada’s most popular trail races produced some impressive times—including a new course record in the men’s 50 mile event. Here’s a rundown of the top results:

The 50 mile

Squamish’s own Karl Augsten ran Saturday’s 50-mile race in 7:14:40, shaved more than 15 minutes off the men’s course record set by Dakota Jones in 2016. Also breaking the former course record and now boasting the second-fastest men’s time in the course’s 11-year history was Chris Balestrini of London, Ont., who ran 7:22:28.

For Balestrini, who summed up the event as a “tough day out against a great field,” this was not only his first race on the course, but the first at this distance: “I hadn’t really attempted to run more than 50-ish K in my life, so there were many unknowns going in,” the Canadian 50K record holder told Canadian Running after Saturday’s race. “I feel fortunate to be able to have raced well in Squamish. It’s a building block for my future in trail running, and I have nothing but positives to take away from it.”

Taking third place was Brandon Miller of Calgary , who ran 7:34:30.

Emilie Mann led the women’s field in 8:38:22, the third-fastest time by a woman in the course’s history. She told Canadian Running that, similar to Balestrini, she usually runs in the 50-km range and isn’t used to the longer distance. She noted she felt a little concerned when she hit the 55-km mark, but said once she passed 60 km mark and realized it was 20 km to the finish line, she knew she could continue her strong effort the rest of the way. She added that it was an emotional experience to be able to run while Kelowna, her hometown, was grappling with devastating wildfires that has forced mass evacuations and destroyed homes and businesses.

Helping to make the women’s podium a clean sweep for B.C. were Imogene Scott of Vancouver, who ran 8:54:33, and Mercedes Vince of Saanichton, who finished in 9:09:56.

The 50K

B.C. runners also dominated the men’s podium in Sunday’s 50K. Brandon Gardiner of North Vancouver placed first in 4:45:12, followed by Shaun Stephen-Whale (4:50:40) of Roberts Creek, and Marc Fawcett-Atkinson (4:59:06) of Vancouver.

The top three women were former road-runner Robyn Mildren in her first ultra ( 5:30:28), Alexandra Harriss of Squamish (5:37:31) and Caitlin Schindel of Saskatoon (5:38:43).

The 50/50

Participants in the 50/50 run the 50-miler followed by the 50K on back-to-back days. Returning to the men’s podium was John Dean of Squamish, the winner of both last year’s 50 miler and 50/50, who finished this year’s 50-miler and 50K in a combined 14:04:17. He was followed by fellow Squamish runner Oskar Michalak (14:55:22), and Alexandre Campbell (15:35:49) of North Vancouver.

Jennie Labrie of women’s topped the women’s 50/50 in 16:39:13, followed by Christine Mosley (16:48:02) of Issaquah, Wash., and Teresa Kaiser (17:16:36,) of Park City, Utah.

With reporting from Keeley Milne

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