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Alberta's Canadian Death Race features local runners

"It was a real energy sucker," said one competitor at this year's event
laurie-finish line
Laurie Cardinal crosses the finish line at the 2021 Canadian Death Race in Grande Cache, Alta.

If you don't know Laurie Cardinal personally and happen to ask her how she spent her long weekend, you’re in for a bit of a surprise.

For those who know the ultra-marathoner, the answer is pretty simple – the Canadian Death Race in Grande Cache, Alta.

For the fifth time in six years, Cardinal spent close to 24 hours running, walking, and hiking in and around the Alberta foothills community, including up the side of a mountain.

Her official time: 23 hours, 20 minutes and 20.8 seconds.

"It was very hot this year," Cardinal said.

"A different year in that it was muggy. The morning started out really nice but it then it got progressively hotter, and hotter, and hotter," she continued.

"It was a real energy sucker."

Already a tough course at the best of times, the heat certainly played a factor on many, especially those in the ultra division, which Cardinal was entered in.

129 runners who started, didn't finish.

"You drink a ton of water...use a lot of electrolytes, stuff like that," said Cardinal  as a way to overcome the heat.

Eating is just as important when racing such a long distance but it's not always easy for some competitors.

"It's really a tricky situation to get in nutrition because a lot of people can't often digest in that kind of heat which can result in stomach issues. It's a real challenge for quite a lot of people."

While she was originally in the 29th position among ladies in the ‘ultra’ division at the end of the race Sunday morning, Cardinal climbed up the leader board later in the day to finish in 26th, good for 110th placing among 332 ultra competitors according to the race’s website Sunday afternoon.

The 45-year-old personal trainer was joined by a number of other Peace Country competitors in this year’s event including Dan Hawker who placed 98th in the mens ‘ultra’ category and 129th overall.

A smaller Near Death category event saw Dawson Creek’s Jenny Keith and Stefan Pavlis place 23rd and 44th overall. Others included:

  • Fort St. John’s Katherine Kruse, 50th
  • Elaine Webb of Chetwynd, 84th
  • Chris Addison from Fort St. John, 139th
  • Jenny Desiar came in over the allowed time limit

Three Fort St. John-based relay teams took part, which meant team members shared the full five-leg 118-kilometre race.

  • The Sweat Box Plant-Life, 13th
  • The Sweat Box 1, 16th
  • The Sweat Box 2, 43rd
  • The Sweat Box 3, 64th

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