Years of racing and exploring the trails of Squamish served Jason Loutitt well on Saturday (Aug. 11).
The Squamish resident used his experience and knowledge to cruise to a win in the 50-mile category at the inaugural Arc'Teryx Squamish 50 trail race.
“Any elite athlete has the ability to switch their brain off and just do the race,” he said at the finish line. “It definitely made it a lot easier that I knew some of the trails, because I already have that connection with the rocks, mountains and trees on the course.”
Loutitt blazed through the course in 7:25:22, beating out second place runner Aaron Heidt of Vernon by seven minutes and 10 seconds. Vancouver's Ed McCarthy placed third with a time of 7:47:48 and the top female was North Vancouver's Ellie Greenwood, who was fifth overall and finished the race in 8:04:36. Loutitt had high praise for the debut race.
“Gary [Robbins] and Geoff [Langford] put together a great course and I never had an issue with the markings on the run, which is unheard of in a 50 miler,” he said. “There was also a lot of diverse terrain and even some stuff I had never run on, so I had a really good time out there.”
It's been a good 2012 for Loutitt, with wins in several races throughout North America and a victory in the Salomon Five Peaks trail race in Alice Lake this past June. He said this win ranks as one of the most satisfying of his career.
“It ranks right up there,” he said. “It's definitely a big accomplishment for me and it's a sign that things are going good for me.”
Loutitt said he's going to continue training for a 100-mile race in Colorado in September, but noted that he is still running coaching sessions for anyone interested in learning from him. For more information on Loutitt, visit his website at www.runningthroughmountains.com.
Four other locals took on the 50 mile course as Brackendale's Gordon Hunt placed eighth with a time of 8:45:21, Squamish's Andreas Sandell completed the course in 12:07:50 (42nd overall), Monics Rohl finished in 12:49:33 (54th overall) and Frank Smith was 63rd with a time of 13:30:13.
The 21-kilometre race saw Adam Campbell from Victoria take home the top spot with a time of 1:53:51. Campbell beat out second place finisher Mike Murphy from Maple Ridge by a scant 34 seconds.
“It was an amazing race,” he said. “Squamish has some of the best trails in the world and it was a fantastic showcase for this town.”
Campbell said the 21 km course was challenging, but a lot of fun.
“It was beautiful and relentless,” he said. “It doesn't really have a big climb, but the uphill is never ending and then you switch to some softer trails, it's just a fun course.”
Coming off a major injury after a 100 miler in Japan earlier this year, Campbell said he kept a solid pace but was mostly trying not to re-aggravate his injury. The top female in the 21 km was Anne-Marie Madden from Vancouver, who placed third overall with a time of 2:05:27.
“It was really well organized and I just feel privileged to be out there on those trails,” she said. “I kind of love uphill running and this race had that, but there was certainly tons of downhill too, it was a great mix of everything.”
Madden said she started cautiously, sitting in sixth or seventh near the halfway point of the race but settled into third about three quarters of the way into the race. Aobihe Glynn was the top local finisher as the Squamish resident finished first in her 20 to 29 age group and 14th overall with a time of 2:24:51. Other notable locals included: Don Wesley (17th overall), Jody Parry (19th overall), Mike Heiliger (20th overall), Brigitte Marthinsen (21st overall), Colin Geddes (25th overall), Ciara McLoughlin (30th overall), Courtney Wittenberg (39th overall), Dane Sweeney (43rd overall) and Jenni Chancey (44th overall).
Winners of the relay division included: The Trail Addicts (three person), Team Kintec (five person) and Fuelled by Bacon (seven person).
For complete results from the race, visit www.racedaytiming.ca.