Neff nets 5 Peaks victory
Callum Neff dominated the 5 Peaks half marathon at the Canmore Nordic Centre, finishing the 21.8-kilometre course in 1:29.04, Saturday (Sept. 29).
The race is the Bow Valley’s last half-marathon of the season and attracted many top runners from Calgary.
“It was a tough course for only my second half-marathon. My first was last Sunday in Utah,” the Cochrane native said. “This distance is good for my energy.”
He led for most of the race and earned a four-minute gap on Calgary’s Steven Griffith-Cochrane (1:33:20) for the win. Canmore’s Phil Villeneuve finished third (1:33:46), using the run as a warmup for this weekend’s Grizzly Ultramarathon at the Canmore Nordic Centre.
Neff has a strong track and field background and has caught onto the nuances of trail running quickly. He’s looking for more running partners around his Cochrane home – if anyone dares keep up.
“Icing the legs is key (after the long training runs), not killing it on the uphills but having a quick turnover once you’re up is good. Not falling today also helped,” Neff said.
Lucie Kaucky won the women’s half marathon (1:54:16). It was a first attempt at that distance for the 23-year-old engineer from Calgary and she hopes the result will propel her into bigger races.
“The single track and technical aspects were awesome,” Kaucky said. “This result wasn’t expected. I was running alone, but I’m pretty good at pushing myself.”
She said she’ll try a few more half marathons before graduating to full 42-kilometre races. Michelle Wingmore of Hinton was the second-fastest woman, stopping the clock at 1:57:34.
Canmore native Amy Golumbia returned to the racing circuit with a win in the 14.5-kilometre endurance race. Golumbia missed most of the running season with double Achilles tendonitis, but managed to finish the run in 1:08:50.
“I didn’t feel super fresh, but on the trails, I love just concentrating on where to put my feet. It’s my meditation time,” Golumbia said.
Injuries kept her from completing her goal of racing the TransRockies trail run, but she says her legs felt good on her hometown trails. She plans to be “more respectful” of her body next season while training for an ultra marathon.
Annie Quinnett of Red Deer was second fastest (1:10:08), followed by Sara Hewitt of Canmore (1:12:00).
Travis Cummings won the men’s endurance distance (1:04:25). Travis Hanna was second (1:05:51) and John Castrillon was third (1:09:40).
“It was a tough, technical course. You really had to watch your footing,” said Cummings, who used to run for the Calgary Dinos and Queen’s University. “It was a tough effort with tons of climbing, but I was using this as a training run for the Victoria half-marathon next weekend,” Cummings said.
The seven-kilometre sport race was the most contentious as unofficial winner Sheldon Ginter was stripped of his title after he admitted to taking a shortcut on the course. Although he originally accepted his medal, he later returned it after a protest was filed. Mike Martens of Calgary was eventually crowned the winner with a time of 33:44. Douglas Evans was the second fastest male (35:00).
Kathryn Stone of Canmore won the women’s sport race (34:57), gutting out a first-place finish by catching Rhonda Jewett (35:10) in the last kilometre. Stone led for the first five kilometres, but slowed down when illness struck. Jewett grabbed the lead and earned a large gap, however, Stone had enough speed to catch her before the finish line.
“It was a tough one. I cramped up for half the race and felt sick, but during the last kilometre and a half, the cramps went away and my legs were still fresh enough to sprint the finish,” Stone said.
The race was the last of the year in the 5 Peaks series. Organizer Evan Weselake said he plans to bring the series back for two races next year.
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