Ailsa MacDonald, in her first 100-miler, beat everyone in the solo division, and all but eight relay teams, at the Sinister 7 Ultra at Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass.
The top Canadian from the 2016 Boston Marathon completed 160K in 18:54:57 beating the next best finisher, Alex Petrosky, by more than 90 minutes. The July 7-9 100-mile event features more than 6,000m of elevation gain and takes runners through the challenging, yet stunning, Rocky Mountains.
The 2017 Sinister 7 Ultra also doubled as the Association of Canada Ultramarathoners (ACU) 100-Mile Championships. MacDonald, who resides in St. Albert, Alta., ran faster than all but eight relay teams and covered the 160K course faster than the top all-women’s relay squad.
This year featured sweltering heat and, according to the Pincher Creek Echo, only 18 per cent of starters in the solo race finished the 10th anniversary of the Sinister 7. In the same newspiece, assistant organizer Kelsey Cox says race registration fills up in less than two minutes.
Alissa St Laurent, who won the event in 2015, holds the women’s course record at 18:37:19.
“First 100 mile ultra completed!” she wrote on Facebook. “To say it was a successful race is an understatement! Took first place overall in the solo event in 18:55! I couldn’t have done it without my team. I can’t thank my crew enough! They kept me cool, comfortable, relaxed, fed, hydrated and in good spirits the entire day! I looked forward to seeing their faces at every aid station!”
Around the 6.5-hour point in the race, MacDonald took in a “nice cold beer mid-race to beat the heat.” At other aid stations, she took in chocolate milk and Gatorade protein drink among other refreshments. The race’s name is inspired by the treacherous Seven Sisters Mountain that looms over much of the course, according to the race website. The course is appropriately split into seven stages.
Prior to Sinister 7, MacDonald was coming off a win in the open women’s 25K at Rundle’s Revenge at Canmore Nordic Centre. Prior to that, MacDonald won the Calgary 50K, run as part of the Calgary Marathon race weekend, finishing third to only Jacob Puzey and Eric Reyes.