I rose at 4:30 am and departed the house by 5:00 am to arrive in time for the start of the 27th Annual Island Runner Elk/Beaver Ultras.  Immediately the walkers gathered and I was gleeful to find there were three of us.  I would be totally okay with a third place place finish.  Kristie Congram and I started off in pitch darkness but soon the dawn broke and we were treated to breathtaking misty views of the lake.  We marveled at the beautiful wildflowers, so many and so many different colours.  It even seemed as the sun came out and shone on, more flowers opened up.  Each time we checked in, we were greeted with cheering onlookers, cheerful food volunteers, especially Marthy McNeely, who made sure I was looked after, and two efficient time keepers.  In following tradition, the Elk/Beaver Ultras lived up to its reputation of being the best organized small Ultramarathon in North America.  The Race Director, Carlos Castillo, even ran the course in the opposite direction supervising to make sure that we didn’t break into a run, which was extremely tempting on several occasions.  He also relined the trail with chalk as some of the markings wore off, in time for the 50 Mile, 50K and 100K entrants so they didn’t get lost.   Strategically placed aid stations were stocked with fresh fruit, fig newtons, coke, tortilla chips, water, etc. and really filled the void.  The 100 Kilometre Division was won by Oleg Tabelev, from Calgary, age 48, in 8:01:50.  The 50 Mile Division was won by Alicia Woodside, from North Vancouver, age 25, in 6:58:28.  The 50 Kilometre Division was won by Adrian Walton, Victoria, age 43, in 3:41:41.  The 26.2 Mile First-Timers Marathon Division was won by Samuel Smith, of Victoria, age 40, in 3:50:06.  The 40 Kilometre Ultrawalk Division was won by Heather Stothard, of Edmonton, age 58 in 6:36:58.  Seventy-Seven (77) participants registered for the 2014 event, sixty-eight (68) started and fifty-nine (59) finished in all five divisions.  At the end of the race, we were each handed our respective placement ribbon, finisher’s medal, I got a beer mug for the men’s race as there were no entrants in the walking category, and a sweet souvenir coffee cup with a heart on it.  It was a totally enjoyable race.  Happy trails everyone. 

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December 10, 2023

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