Top places were on the line for Canada’s mountain running team at The North Face Dirty Feet Kal Park 50 on May 7.
The Vernon, B.C. trail race, part of the greater 2017 North Face Dirty Feet Trail Series, doubled as the 2017 Canadian Long Distance Mountain Running Championships. Attracting some of the area’s top trail runners, the race saw renowned stair climber Shaun Stephens-Whale who hails from Roberts Creek, B.C., set a new course record. He covered 50K in less than four hours. Arden Young of Calgary won the women’s 50K.
Both winners earned, if they so choose and granted they meet eligibility requirements, spots on Canada’s team for the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships in Premana, Italy. Those championships go off at the beginning of August. In Vernon, Stephens-Whale ran 3:52:08.7, nearly 27 minutes ahead of the runner-up, Mike Murphy; Young covered the course in 5:17:27.4, nine minutes ahead of Lisa Heidt.
Mountain running is classified as its own designation by meeting certain requirements for elevation change. Canada regularly sends teams to the world championships, which are often held in Europe. The North Face Dirty Feet Kal Park event also featured an 8K and 25K.
Men’s 50K champion – Shaun Stephens-Whale
Women’s 50K champion – Arden Young
There are two Canadian Mountain Running Championships: short course and long course. The short course championships, officially known as the 2017 Canadian Mountain Running Championships, will be run as part of the 5 Peaks Trail Running Series in Canmore, Alta. There, runners have a chance to qualify for the July 30 World Mountain Running Championships, which are conveniently located in Premana, the week preceding the long distance world championships.
Young was coming off racing the 2017 Boston Marathon where she ran 3:12:52. Two weeks separated the world’s most famous marathon and the Kal Park Dirty Feet 50.
Stephens-Whale, one of the world’s top stair climbers, says he will be racing in Canmore on June 10 in hopes of securing the double, winning both the short and long course championships. The race distance there is 10K and requires athletes qualify by meeting certain requirements, all of which can be found here.