Runners brave elements for Rubble Creek Classic

Campbell, Segger come from behind to win in awful conditions

Seeing the weather on Sunday morning (Sept. 25), Vancouver's Adam Campbell nearly rolled over and hit the snooze button.

But cold and rainy conditions weren't enough to keep Campbell and Squamish's Jen Segger from winning the men's and women's divisions of the Rubble Creek Classic, the annual cross-country race following the Helm Creek Trail from Cheakamus Lake to the Rubble Creek parking lot.

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"I understand that the weather was some of the worst on record for the race and I can believe it," said Campbell in an email. "I seriously considered staying in bed when I looked out the window.

"Lashing rain, sleet, hail, snow, freezing creeks and streams and arctic wind make for good but demanding mountain weather and it was definitely a factor. My legs were seizing from the cold and my feet felt like ice."

Through all that, Campbell managed a winning time of one hour, 59 minutes and 45 seconds to record the only sub-two hour time and hold off good buddy Edward McCarthy by 17 seconds.

Whistler's Seamus Frew had an impressive third-place finish (2:09:24), while Duncan Munro placed 11th overall with a time of 2:33:56. Whistler resident Ashley McMillan also cracked the overall top 20 by clocking in at 2:42:55.

Campbell said his victory was a come-from-behind effort, as he caught McCarthy late in the race.

"We ran almost shoulder-to-shoulder the whole day and joked after that it felt more like a training run than a race, but we definitely pushed each other," said Campbell. "He opened up a small gap on me at the top of the downhill and actually built up his lead to about 30 seconds with five km to go. That downhill is relentless and he burned himself out. I slowly started catching him and passed him back with about a kilometre to go."

Segger finished eighth overall at 2:30:43 and similarly had to battle her way past other competitors for the win. Stephanie Hamilton and Margret Scallion had the same time (2:36:53) to place second and third among female runners.

"The other two ladies who I think finished second and third blasted from the start line on the uphill and I never saw them again until after Taylor Meadows," said Segger. "Once I did catch them, I relied on my ability to descend with speed and focused on keeping a really high cadence on the downhill."

Campbell was taking on the race for a first time, while Segger returned to the event after several years away. Both said they were thrilled to run it this year, not wanting to miss out on what's become known as one of the province's toughest and most scenic cross-country races after 27 years in existence.

"I raced the Rubble a few years ago but I'm usually out of town on this weekend as it's always the MOMAR Cumberland (adventure) race," explained Segger. "However, I decided to stay home this weekend so it was great I could finally participate once again."

James Retty of presenting sponsor Escape Route said he was glad the vicious weather didn't deter folks too much from coming out, as the total of 58 finishers wasn't far off regular participation numbers.

"It was quite a burly run. The crossing at Helm Creek, the flow is glacial so it's super cold and it was mid-thigh in some spots," said Retty. "But it's a fairly tough group that will go out and do this run - people who enjoy the freedom of being responsible for yourself and getting out in what nature's got to offer, and in tough conditions, too.

"It's a different kind of beauty - it's not the nice, sunny-day, great big vistas. It was kind of ominous and when you looked into the alpine coming across the Cinder Flats, it looked like winter."

Visit www.escaperoute.ca and click on the 'Events' tab for full results of Sunday's race.

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