For immediate release
The 23rd annual running of the Knee Knackering North Shore Trail Run took place on Saturday, July 9, 2011, with clear skies and mild weather a marked improvement from the showers and dampness in the days leading up to the race. Course conditions were generally excellent, but the remaining snowpack on the peaks of the North Shore mountains provided an additional challenge along the 30-mile trail and demonstrated why the race is known as the “knarliest” in Canada and one of the most difficult ultra-marathons in North America.
The men’s field saw an exciting competition between the top three 2010 finishers, with Vernon’s Aaron Heidt leading the group from start to finish and winning with a time of 4:53.06. Closely trailing Heidt was 2010 winner Adam Campbell of Victoria and Oliver Utting of Burnaby. The snowpack posed challenges for the first runners through each section, with slips and falls commonplace as runners attempted to follow the marked route along the Baden-Powell trail. Heidt was able to convincingly separate himself from the others only in second half of the race, opening up a clear lead by the third-quarter check-in. The men’s under-40 division dominated the leaders of the race, with seven of the top 10 finishers from this age group. Former record-holder and perennial challenger Peter Findlay of Kamloops again led the 50-59 division in 5:36.13, while newcomer Ran Katzman of Vancouver won the 40-49 category in 5:53.22 and Neil Wakelin again dominated the 60 and over division in 7:16.58.
In contrast to the men’s race, the women’s field was wide open as all three top finishers from 2010 were unable to return to challenge for the crown. Louise Oram of Vancouver, running her first Knee Knacker, held off Vancouver’s Lisa Polizzi and won by only five seconds with a time of 5:41.19. The two women from the under-40 age category ran neck-and-neck throughout the entire race, with the victory decided only in the final section of the trail outside Panorama Park. Former course record-holder Suzanne Evans of New Westminster finished as the third overall woman. Knee Knacker regular Susan Reynolds of Vancouver won the 40-49 category with a time of 6:15.18, Port Moody’s Kathryn O’Grady finished with a five-minute lead over her nearest competitor and won the 50-59 group in 7:49.08, and Marlis Dejongh took the 60 and over division, finishing in 9:37.28.
A total of 204 runners started the Knee Knacker at 6:00am just above Horseshoe Bay. Of the starters, 198 arrived at Panorama Park in Deep Cove by 4:00pm, finishing within the 10-hour race limit and setting a new record for the largest number of finishers. Four entrants also finished their 10th Knee Knacker: Francine Hong, Sharon Hope, Desmond Mott, and Dave Whitworth joined an exclusive group of 35 other runners who have attained this milestone.
Complete results are available online at www.kneeknacker.com.
Proceeds from this year’s race benefit the North Shore Search and Rescue team. In total, the Knee Knacker event has raised over $55,000 for local charities and non-profit organizations in the community.
Kelsy Trigg, Race Director