Kris Sneddon is no longer a bridesmaid.
After finishing third in 2009 and second in 2010, the Sechelt native finally got over the hump and captured the 2011 version of the legendary race.
“This is the biggest local race in Canada and it's a very prestigious race to win,” he said. “Overall I'm feeling great, the course was good but I really had to push hard to keep ahead of Neal [Kindree] and Chris [Sheppard].”
Sneddon had to fight his way from fourth to first during the race, passing Kindree, Sheppard and Max Plaxton in the process.
“Max blew a tube and I caught Neal just after the Water Tower,” he said. “Then about halfway through Ring Creek, I passed Sheppard.”
But he knew it wouldn't be an easy task holding off the local favourite.
“I really had to push hard just to keep my distance from Neal,” he said. “He knows these trails better than any of us and knows when to attack, but I managed to hold him off.”
Sneddon put together a time of two hours, 32 minutes, 10.6 seconds, beating out second-place Sheppard by 69 seconds. Kindree placed third, with a time of 2:36:59.1.
“I missed this race a bunch of times because of Canada Cups,” Sneddon said. “But if it fits on the schedule, I always like to come.”
It was a solid return to the Test of Metal for local favourite Kindree. The Squamish resident is a two-time champion at the event, having won in 2006 and 2007, but he seemed a little disappointed to not win in his return to the race.
“I'm tired, wet and hungry,” he said, shortly after finishing the race. “I think maybe I was a little too excited and started a little too hard.”
Kindree was battling for first with Plaxton in the early stages of the race, as he won primes one, two and six, but said he may have expended too much energy on the Nine Mile Hill climb. He fell behind Sheppard on Bonk Hill and dropped behind Sneddon after a rough stretch on the Lava Flow portion of the race.
“I just didn't manage myself really well,” he said.
As the race continued, Sneddon turned it on and Kindree didn't seem to have the energy to catch him.
“I think he definitely poured it on, especially in a few of the climbs,” Kindree said of the winner.
It was also a good day for Team Squamish member Mo Lawrence. He won the 14 to 19 male age group and posted the 24th best time overall, blazing through the course in a time of 2:53:16.9. His teammate Nicholas Bruce placed second, with Team Whistler member Jesse Melamed in third.
Other local winners included David Roulston, who won the 20 to 29 age group and Olivier Gendron, the winner of the 30 to 34 group.
Kelowna’s Stephen Ushy captured the 35 to 39 division, with Whistlerites Michael Boehm and Trevor Hopkins placing second and third, respectively. Leighton Poidevin of Canmore, Alta., won the 40 to 44 age group, with North Vancouver’s Matt Shandro and Canmore’s Craig Barlett rounding out the top three. North Vancouver’s David Kvick picked up first place in the 45 to 49 category, with Squamish’s Max Saenger finishing second and Victoria’s Craig Gillet in third. Port Moody’s Ted Russo won the 50 to 54 category with Delta’s Sheldon Orr and Penticton’s Tim Daeschel finishing second and third. Other winners included Whistler’s Tony Routley (55 to 59), Victoria’s Robin Willard (60 to 64) and Whistler’s Gary Baker (70+).
For more information and the complete results from the race, visit www.testofmetal.com.