Island women take on rain, rocks and mud at races

Runners compete in Cumberland and Lower Mainland

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Sunday was a big day for Salt Spring running competitors.

At Cumberland, just south of Courtenay-Comox, was the inaugural running of the Dodge City X, an off-road triathlon whose organizers billed it as Canada’s toughest off-road course. Marcia Jansen and Marion Young went to Cumberland planning to do the standard version of the event: a 1.5-km swim in the local lake fed by the Mount Washington snow cap, a 23-km, single track mountain bike course of rocks and roots with 746 metres of climbing and a 9-km trail run with 312 metres of climbing. Out of respect for Jansen’s still recovering calf injury from the Super-League triathlon three weeks ago, they made  a fortuitous last-minute decision to switch to the Sprint version of the race: a 750-metre swim, a 12-km bike trail course with 347 metres of climbing, and a 5-km trail run with 187 metres of climbing.

“Glad we dropped down to the Sprint. It poured throughout the whole race,” Jansen said. “Biking was fun. Roots, rocks and rain but no crashes (although skinny Marion had problems to warm up during the bike portion). Took it easy in the run, skipping through ankle deep puddles the whole way. Happy my calf held up through it all! Great last race of the season.”

Jansen finished the course in one hour, 49 minutes and one second for seventh of 32 overall, second woman, and first in her age group, along the way ending up first female in the swim portion, fourth female in the bike portion and ninth female in the run portion.

Young finished 28th of 32 overall in two hours, 23 minutes and 33.4 seconds, 15th  woman, first in her age group, 12th woman who finished the swim, 14th woman in the bike portion and 10th in the run portion.

Meanwhile over on the mainland, Susan Gordon, Salt Spring Sneaker’s coach, entered the Forever Young 8k, an out and back flat course along the Fraser River from the Richmond Olympic oval, along with her brother, who lives on the mainland. The event is limited to runners 55 and over. Gordon finished the 8-km course in 34:22 for fifth of 255 overall; first of 146 women, and first of 32 women in her age group.

In Gordon’s own words, “Quite a push back from the strong wind on the way back but I’m pretty happy with an overall win.”  

It is believed, pending certification, that Gordon’s time set a course record. (By the way, she beat her brother in the same age group by four places and two minutes.)

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