The congratulations continued to come in for Jakub Sumbera and Nadyia Fry once they returned home to Invermere from Whistler.
Partners in life, Sumbera and Fry also shared a victory celebration Sunday (Sept. 1) after they won the men’s and women’s solo races of the second annual Salomon Meet Your Maker 50 Trail Ultra and Relay. Their friends back home made sure to let them know the wins were being celebrated in the Columbia Valley as well.
“It was really exciting,” Fry said Tuesday (Sept. 3) of she and Sumbera both taking home the titles. “We just got home here and friends of ours who also own the running store in town have put little ‘Congratulations’ banners all over our door and garage, so that’s really sweet.”
Sunday marked the first 50-mile race for both runners, but one would never have guessed that looking at the times they posted. Sumbera’s time of seven hours, 38 minutes, 19 seconds was nearly an hour quicker than the winning mark from the inaugural event in 2012, while Fry (9:00:38) shaved more than 50 minutes off the existing women’s record.
“I didn’t expect any course records. It was my first ultra so I was just hoping to finish and obviously see how well I could do,” said Sumbera. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Sumbera finished nearly 12 minutes clear of runner-up Adam Campbell, who completed the course in 7:46:07. Aaron Heidt (8:28:15) held off Jorge Maravilla and Squamish’s Jason Loutitt for third, while Whistler’s own Alex Katzer-Dunn placed sixth in the men’s race at 9:08:31.
Sumbera had to battle from behind early, but eventually took the lead away from Loutitt during the gruelling climb from Base II to the Peak 2 Peak Gondola terminal on Blackcomb and ran mostly unopposed for the last half of the race.
“(Campbell) was catching up to me at the end … but I didn’t know how much behind he was,” said Sumbera, originally from the Czech Republic. “That was tough, but I also thought it was better not to know and just see how it goes, because I couldn’t have gone any faster even if I knew he was catching up. Mentally, I don’t know if it would have been easier to know or not to know (where he was).”
At 9:52:10, Darbykai Standrick was the only other female competitor to break the 10-hour mark Sunday. Abi Moore finished third in the women’s solo race. In total, 75 runners of the 104 who started were able to finish the course, which was made up of 90 per cent single-track trails around the Whistler Valley and once again included a ride on the Peak 2 Peak.
“I’m clearly really happy with the outcome and my body felt good through most of it as well, and the terrain was spectacular, which was a bonus to keep you going,” said Fry.
Fry has been steadily and successfully increasing the length of her races in the lead-up to her ultra-distance debut on Sunday. When asked if she would consider doing another 50-mile race in the future, she said it was something she was considering before her first one was even finished.
“I was wondering on the last leg if I would ever do one again, and I was thinking: ‘If I’m even considering doing another one while going through this pain, it’s probably likely going to happen,’” she said with a laugh.
In the relay, the Salomon Flight Crew squad took first place overall and won the mixed division by posting a time of 7:57:49. That put them comfortably ahead of the Running Wild squad that finished second overall in 8:21:43.
Team Gocho was the top men’s team, recording a time of 9:21:31. The winning crew in the women’s relay was Thought We Had More Friends, which covered the 50 miles in 10:26:03.
Visit www.racedaytiming.ca to view full results from Sunday’s race.