A new champion was crowned in this year’s Skeena River Relay on June 2.
The Kitimat Bastards took the top spot with an unofficial time of 10:54:00, dethroning the three-time champions from Terrace Out For A Rip, who did not participate in this year’s race.
The result capped off another successful year for the relay, which returned for its 17th year. Twenty-nine teams and nearly 300 runners took part in the race where they tested their running mettle against the winding, 142-kilometre jaunt that is Highway 16.
The 10-stage race began at 7 a.m. at the Lester Centre of the Arts and finished at Canadian Tire in Terrace.
This year’s competition brought one of the most diverse fields in recent memory, drawing teams from as far away as Aldergrove and Surrey to compete against stalwarts from Prince Rupert, Terrace, Smithers and Haida Gwaii.
“It shows that the event has grown and everyone has love for it, and that it’s near and dear to a lot of people’s hearts,” said Crystal Sawatzky, one of the event’s co-directors.
Sawatzky added that the combination of enthusiasm from new teams and competitive spirit from returning teams made for a positive race environment that lasted through the day. Volunteers and supporting teammates dotted the highway, providing water and shouting out encouragement to the runners.
“Everybody just seemed really happy and excited,” she said. “We always seem to get a good bunch. I think it went really well.”
According to unofficial race results made available before deadline, Not Fast Just Furious came second in the open category with a total time of 12:13:04, followed by the Gooeyducks, who finished with a total time of 12:59:55.
The top mixed team was the Swamp Donkeys, who finished with a total time of 11:30:14, followed by the Calf Muscle Models in second with a time of 11:41:54 and the Skeena Valley Runners in third with a total time of 11:42:11.
The Semiahmoo Sunrunners, from Surrey, took home the top masters position with a total time of 13:45:03. The Rupert Relics came second with a total time of 13:56:09.
The top women’s team was Propel Your Health, who finished in 14:14:07 followed by Transcend Fitness with 14:15:43 and All About U(s), from Haida Gwaii, at 14:16:55.
The top corporate team was There Are Margaritas At The End, from Smithers, with a time of 11:28:31.