On one of the valley’s most-used recreational mountains, locals were defeated by visitors in the 2013 Swansea Scramble.
The event took place on Sunday, July 28th and marked the first official year of the Swansea Scramble, which saw the debut of a digital timer. With five- and ten-kilometre tracks marked up the mountain, the latter gaining 932 metres in elevation, scramblers were challenged on several fronts: on ascent, descent, and on the “kick-ass” sprint.
The sprint was an uphill, 200-metre marked distance on a steeper section of the route that was completed the fastest by Max Regitnig of Invermere.
Finishing in first place among the five kilometre racers was 12-year-old Cole Richardson from Canmore, posting a time of 39:31.
“I didn’t think I was actually going to do it, but I asked my mom to wake me up this morning to double check, and I decided to do it,” he told The Echo. “I wasn’t thinking I would do so good — I was the only kid in the race. Everyone was way older than me so I was kind of nervous about that.”
Cole and his mom, Lynne Richardson, ran the five-kilometre side-by-side. Cole waited for his mom, who finished only seconds behind him.
“The Swansea Scramble twigged my imagination — I knew it would make for a good mother/son race,” Lynne said. “Cole just jumped out of bed and got his shoes on this morning.”
Claiming victory after completing the ten-kilometre in 1:10:50 was Chris Nakahara from Cranbrook, who was first past the post at the full route of the 2013 Scramble.
This was Chris’s first year competing in the Crazy Sole’s event, but he said he does a lot of hiking, trail running, and climbing
“I didn’t have much expectation so the win was good,” he told The Echo. “Great views up at the top and a good, gruelling climb.”
Placing first among the women with a time of 1:25:31 was Stephanie McGregor-Jones from Cranbrook. For her, the Swansea Scramble was part of her participation in the Trail Races of the East Kootenays (TREK) series.
Along with keeping active outdoors, Stephanie has an extreme routine.
“I do CrossFit five days a week — that helps me out big time,” she said.
After its first two years of gaining momentum by running in a grassroots-fashion, the Swansea Scramble has grown to 40 racers. Organizers introduced an electronic timing system in addition to increasing sponsorship.
“People love it, and so many enjoy the challenge of it, so we thought we’d make it more official,” said Nadyia Fry, event co-organizer. “It’s such a challenging ascent and descent that it’s really technical, like Luca Lake, which is also fabulous, but it’s a totally different challenge.”
Cole, Chris and Stephanie all hope to return in 2014 to defend their titles.