Comox Valley racers took top spots at the oversold Atmosphere Mind Over Mountain Adventure Race (MOMAR) Sept. 20 in Cumberland.
The overall winners of the 50km Enduro course were Brad Crowe and Clay Ward of Courtenay with a time of 4:53:57. Comox’s Ryan Stuart placed second overall and first in the solo male category, coming in at 5:00:29. Victoria’s Shane Ruljancich placed third overall and second in the solo male category, crossing the finish line at 5:08:15.
Ward said the race was tough but incredible. “Everything was tough – there wasn’t a single easy moment, but [it was] by far and away the best run race from start to finish that I’ve ever been at,” says Ward. “[The day] was unbelievable – the sponsors, the course, pizza and waffles at the finish line, the post-race medal. I can’t wait for next year.”
Crowe was also impressed. “As always, the race was challenging but an absolute blast as well,” said Crowe, who was competing in his fifth Cumberland MOMAR. “We knew the kayak was our weakest leg, so the goal was just to not lose too much time from the early leaders. We held on OK, and then things felt like they were just clicking in to place once we hit the mountain bike and trekking stages. Definitely the experience of having done the race several times, as well as having some local trail knowledge, were huge in how the day came together for us,” he added.
“I started racing as a team of two, then for the last two years I raced as a solo and placed third overall. The dream was definitely to get the overall win, so I am super excited that we were able to win the race this year. There are some pretty incredible athletes who have won the event, like Todd Nowak and Dave Norona, so it’s pretty amazing to join the short list of winners.”
Race director Bryan Tasaka describes this year’s race as “exceptional,” with a few MOMAR firsts. “The weather was perfect, spirits were high and the course was perfectly challenging,” says Tasaka. “We had four paddle boarders for the first time at a MOMAR, and a team from the Cowichan Valley paddled a dugout, which brought a cool new element to the race.
“The toughest part of the course seemed to be the hike-a-bike portions,” says Tasaka. “There were two of them in the Enduro course, requiring racers to carry their bikes up Miner’s Trail and Nikkei Mountain.”
Norm Thibault and Wendy Simms of Nanaimo placed first in the team of two, co-ed category, with a time of 5:31:57, while North Vancouver’s Aimee Dunn placed first in the solo female category coming in at of 6:27:48.
The first team of four to cross the finish line (6:29:57) was team Mooseknuckles, consisting of Richard Huggins of Ladysmith, Kevin Pond of Nanoose Bay, Dew Brunton of Victoria and Justin Barr of Nanaimo.
The Enduro course started with a 10km paddle on Comox Lake, followed by an 8km trek from the Cumberland Lake Campground, up the mountain then back down to downtown Cumberland. From there, teams began a 7km mountain bike ascent to Bucket Lake. Once at the top, racers changed back into their running shoes for another 8km trek, searching for seven more checkpoints. The final stage was a 17km cross-country mountain bike ride, ending in downtown Cumberland.
The Sport course included all the same elements, just 20km shorter.
Courtenay’s Eric Blakey and Julien White of Comox took first place overall in the 30km Sport course with a time of 4:34:21.
Second place went to Scott Pearce and Virgil Hawkes of Victoria, coming in at 4:47:35. Courtenay’s Cheryl and James Glennie came in third overall and first in the co-ed category, with a time of 4:54:07.
Comox’s Zoe Norcross Nuu and Cheryl Skribe of Whistler placed first in the female category, crossing the finish line at 5:31:02.
For more information on the MOMAR series, visit www.mindovermountain.com.
– Mind Over Mountain Adventure Race