Mount Robson Marathon adjusts after flash flooding

by Jean Ann Berkenpas

The Mount Robson Marathon experienced another year of growth and was a big success due to the strong community support behind it.

This year all 500 spots were full before race day, with waiting lists for the Ultra and Half Marathons.

Despite a stormy forecast and a local power outage during package pick-up the night before (which we worked through with headlamps), most runners still showed up keen to take on the run Saturday morning. Thunderstorms and heavy rain the night before and morning of the race, resulted in flash flooding in and around the Kinney Lake area. Some knee deep puddles and creek crossings popped up that did not exist the day before. Volunteers adjusted on the fly, by rerouting a section of the Ultra to higher ground, and the BC Parks Rangers at Berg lake set up a warming stop at Hargreaves shelter in case if runners needed it.

The runners seemed to embrace the challenge, and set record times despite the soggy conditions and slightly longer course (due to the aforementioned re-route). The top two runners in the 50km Ultra Marathon finished in under four hours beating the previous course record. Piotr Babis won the Ultra with a time of 3:57:05, followed closely by Francois Dagenais-Cote. Ian McIlvenna, the overall winner in 2014, finished 3rd overall and 1st in the 40+ category. On the women’s side Johanna Wick from Prince George won with a time of 4:54:10, followed by Erin Woodrow in 2nd and Lynsey Romano in 3rd. The record for the women’s category set by Michelle Katchur-Roberts in 2015 still stands at 4:41:27.

Some notable local finishers include:

Ultra Marathon
Top local finisher was Michel Tremblay from Jasper in 25th overall with a time of 5:14:11

Half Marathon
Shaelyn Jackson (Valemount) was the top local finisher in 6th in the female 19-39 category, followed closely by Jenna Jackson (Jasper) in 7th and Miwa Hiroe (Valemount) in 9th.
Dustin Winzer (Valemount) was 9th in the male 19-39 age group.

Kinney Lake 12k
Dan Lausen (Jasper) was 4th in the male 40+ category
Lindsay McLellan (Jasper) 3rd in the Female 19-39 category
Meagan Taphorn (McBride) 4th in the Female 19-39 category

Flatlander 5k
Isis Hiroe of Valemount, 7th overall in the Flatlander 5k and the only youth (she is 8!) She ran the race with her grandma, Catherine Hiroe and they finished together.
Catherine Hiroe and Gail Burbidge (both of Valemount) finished 2nd and 3rd respectively in the Female 40+ age group.

We had 45 volunteers, plus many incredible community sponsors come out to support the event. It is great to have such a strong team behind the race!