The new highly technical Canadian Skyrunner® World Series race was well worth the wait. This Saturday, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Damien Humbert of France claimed his first Skyrunner® World Series win and local firefighter Emma Cook-Clarke fought off tough opposition to take home the winner’s bib at the Minotaur Skyrace, the fifth stage of the 2022 Skyrunner® World Series.
Three big climbs, rugged terrain and a long and technical ridge – Canada’s only Skyrunner® World Series race was a true test of physical and mental strength. The 33km course, which starts and finishes in the town of Blairmore, Alberta, attracted over 500 athletes from all over the world with two clear winners emerging from the start.
In the men’s race, it was the previous stage’s runner up and “man of the match” who finally took home his first SWS winner’s bib. Damien Humbert of France (team TSL Outdoor) led the race from the beginning with no other athlete even coming close. Humbert crossed the finish line with a time of 4h 06’ 48”, an impressive 23 minutes ahead of American athlete Jackson Cole (team La Sportiva) in second. Local runner Joren Titus closed the podium just 30 seconds after.
“The course was awesome! So technical with three big climbs and the views were incredible. I will definitely be back to do this race again.”, commented Humbert. His win places him at the top of the 2022 overall ranking.
Fourth place went to world cup mountain bike racer and world-champion obstacle course racer Ryan Atkins of Canada (team Craft) with a time of 4h 32’ 58” and Squamish native Jessie McCauley finished fifth, three minutes behind Atkins.
In the women’s race, it was dark horse Emma Cook-Clarke (team Arc’teryx) who came out on top. The Canadian firefighter took the lead early in the race and despite tough competition from an international field of women, managed to keep it, proving her technical skyrunning skills.
Cook-Clarke’s winning time was 5h 05’ 52”, four minutes ahead of skyrunning veteran, Maite Maiora(team Raidlight) from Spain in second and 11 minutes ahead of the pre-race favourite-to-win, Canadian pro-obstacle course racer Lindsay Webster (team Craft). Webster and Maiora switched between second and third place throughout the race with Maite securing the second position on the final downhill.
“The course was so technical, it really suited my strengths,” commented Cook-Clarke, the female champion. “The views from the top of the course were spectacular and it was just so much fun to race against these strong women.”
Fourth place went to another Canadian runner, Kalie McCrystal, with a time of 5h 22’ 11” and fifth was Great Britain’s Georgia Tindley (team Merrell) who finished nine minutes after McCrystal.
Cooke-Clarke, together with the rest of the top 10 male and female athletes of Minotaur Skyrace, has qualified for the 2022 SkyMasters, bringing the total number of qualifiers to 82.
The next race of the Skyrunner® World Series 2022 season will be Garmin Epic Trail in Vall de Boi in Spain on the 2nd of July 2022.
Minotaur Skyrace top 5 Men:
1. Damien Humbert (FRA) Team TSL Outdoor – 4h 06’ 48”
2. Jackson Cole (USA) Team La Sportiva – 4h 30’ 03”
3. Joren Titus (CAN) – 4h 30’ 31”
4. Ryan Atkins (CAN) Team Craft – 4h 32’ 58”
5. Jessie McCauley (CAN) 4h 36’ 35”
Minotaur Skyrace top 5 Women:
1. Emma Cook-Clarke (CAN) – 5h 05’ 52”
2. Maite Maiora (ESP) Team Raidlight – 5h 09’ 41”
3. Lindsay Webster (CAN) Team Craft – 5h 16’ 08”
4. Kalie McCrystal (CAN) – 5h 22’ 11”
5. Georgia Tindley (GBR) Team Merrell – 5h 31’06”