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Ultra-trail dynamo Ihor Verys blasts to top of Canadian Death Race podium

Verys beat veteran ultrarunning pro Harvey Lewis by two hours

Ihor CDR 2023 Photo by: Photo courtesy of Ihor Verys

Ukranian-Canadian Ihor Verys sped past the competition to a win at Canadian Death Race in Grande Cache, Alta. on Saturday, more than an hour and a half ahead of the other racers. The notoriously tough race traverses three mountain summits and runners must climb 5,181 metres of elevation. Verys ran a smoothly executed race, and finished the challenging 118K course in 12:36:11, just 16 minutes shy of the course record (12:15:54, set by Rickey Gates in 2011).

Calgary’s Ryan Patteson took second place in 14:08:35, and Lethbridge’s Brandon Regier rounded out the podium in 14:38:21. American ultrarunner veteran Harvey Lewis (of Big’s Backyard and Badwater 135 fame) finished more than two hours after Verys, in 14:41:33.

Verys has been toppling podiums across the country, notably taking first place at Fat Dog 120 in 2022. He was the last Canadian standing at the World Backyard Ultra Championships last fall and is headed to Ultra-Trail Harricana in September.

Ihor Verys CDR 2023
Photo courtesy of Ihor Verys

“It’s really exciting to see how Ihor is climbing the ranks and pushing people at each race he attends,” race director Brian Gallant shared with Canadian Running. “He won Sinister 7 last year and now Death Race. He has a great future in ultra running.”

The women’s race was dominated by Saskatoon’s Mandy Currie who ran 15:47:38 to take first woman and ninth overall. Currie is no stranger to ultra-podiums–she won the Sinister Seven 50K in 2022 and took third at the 2022 Squamish 50/50. “The race was so well organized and well marked. This was my first CDR experience and I loved that the town even had kids out on their lawn cheering for runners (even at midnight!),” Currie shared post-race.

“Something that stands out is the amount of strong women out there,” she added. “Ultras are getting more competitive–I think I was 7th or 8th for the first two legs. I was either just behind or just ahead of another strong woman the whole race and that was super inspiring.” Currie was closely followed by Amy Tuininga of Edmonton in 16:00:21, and Jasper’s Ellen Whitman in 16:12:04.

Top Men

Ihor Verys 12:36:11
Ryan Patteson 14:08:55
Brandon Regier 14:38:21
Harvey Lewis 14:41:33
Ben Marsh 14:57:05

Top Women

Mandy Currie 15:57:28
Amy Tuininga 16:00:21
Ellen Whitman 16:12:04
Natalie Johnston 16:39:49
Angela Bates 17:04:10

Near Death Marathon

The Near Death Marathon is 41.1 km, with over 1,700m elevation gain, and runners are given nine and a half hours to complete the race. Last year saw women sweeping the podium, with Edmonton’s Priscilla Forgie setting a yet-untouched course record of 4:06:21. This year’s race saw 18-year-old William Allaway Brager of Camrose, Alta. take the win–this is the second year Brager has made the podium (Brager was third in 2022). He was followed in by Calgary’s Benjamin Harper–Heir in 4:32:42 and Grande Prairie’s James Cameron in 4:37:36.

The women’s race also saw some athletes on the podium, with Grande Prairie’s Kim Cameron topping the podium in 4:37:41, and finishing fourth overall. Edmonton’s Lindsay McHardy took second in 5:09:56 and Angelica MacWilliams, also of Edmonton, ran to third in 5:29:28.

Top Men

William Allaway Brager 4:11:27.1
Benjamin Harper-Heir 4:32:42
James Cameron 4:37:36
Bobby Lahoda
Frances Simard 4:43:05

Top Women

Kim Cameron 4:37:41
Lindsay McHardy 5:09:56
Angelica MacWilliams 5:29:28.6
Meghan Fraser 5:45:09
Jenny Keith 5:57:17

For full results from the 2023 Canadian Death Race, head here.

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