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Nick Elson crushes ultramarathon in eastern California

The Squamish, B.C. resident mixes it up with some of the best at Squaw Valley in eastern California at the Broken Arrow Skyrace

Nick Elson
Nick Elson
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer / @mykehphoto.

In the snowy mountains of eastern California, Nick Elson came away with a third-place finish at the Broken Arrow Skyrace.

Elson, of Squamish, B.C., finished the 52K in 5:11:24, behind only champion Tayte Pollmann and Tim Freriks. The ultramarathon takes place at world-famous Squaw Valley, the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, on the eastern edge of California near Lake Tahoe and Carson City, Nevada.

“The Broken Arrow represents a unique style of European-inspired mountain running characterized by off-trail scrambling, steep terrain, and massive amounts of vertical gain and loss,” reads the race description. “The majority of this takes place above 6,000 feet and above treeline.”

The Broken Arrow Skyrace, which in addition to a 52K offers a 26K and a vertical kilometre, ended Saturday with the 26K/52K going off at 7 a.m. PDT. The 52K, two loops of the 26K course, features more 3,200m of elevation gain and loss.


As is tradition, each runner who crosses the finish line rings the bell to signal the end of the race. Elson, who is a talented rock climber in addition to being one of the nation’s top mountain and trail runners, rang the bell less than four minutes behind Freriks (5:07:43) and eight minutes behind 20-year-old Pollman (5:03:17). (You can see Elson’s Strava data here.)

“Dropping south from Canada Nick Elson is no stranger to the snowy conditions he found around Squaw Alpine and charged the Broken Arrow Skyrace course to take 3rd place,” the event wrote on Instagram. The 33-year-old was named Canadian Running‘s trail runner of the year for 2016.

RELATED: Trail runners to follow on Strava.

Meanwhile, the third-place finisher at the Broken Arrow Skyrace 26K, JP Donovan, completed the entire race in board shorts.

Eastern California, specifically Squaw Valley, will again be in the trail and ultrarunning spotlight next weekend as the world-famous Western States Endurance Run, a 100-miler from Squaw Valley to Auburn, goes off June 24-25. Western States, now in its 44th year, is the world’s oldest 100-miler (160K).