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TUMBLER RIDGE, B.C. — The Wolverine Nordic & Mountain Society thinks that Victoria resident Kris Swanson could be a world record-holder after once again taking first spot in the Emperor’s Challenge last weekend.
Last Saturday, mountain runner Kris Swanson won the 19th Emperor’s Challenge, the 20 kilometre mountain run that passes over the summit of Mt. Babcock south of Tumbler Ridge. Swanson recorded a time of 1:29:24, while Fort St. John resident Julianne Kucheran was the fastest female with a time of 2:01:28.
Swanson has won 18 of 19 races, the only exception was in 2007 when he was just pipped by three-time Victoria marathon winner Steve Osaduik. The pair were both on the course again in 2009, when Swanson won an epic battle.
The Wolverine Nordic & Mountain Society said that they believe there is no comparable feat in Canadian running or athletics history of an athlete winning a single event so many times. In a press release yesterday, the Society also said that in the global annals of mountain-running, Swanson’s achievement is unique.
Maurice Wilson, BC Athletics Technical Manager for Road & XC Running, commented: “The Emperor’s Challenge has repeatedly demonstrated itself to be the most popular off-road event of its type in BC, a testament to quality of the organization. Kris’ accomplishment is unheralded in Canadian running, demonstrating his enduring strength and persistence.”
When approached for comment Swanson said, “Nineteen years ago, The Emperor’s Challenge started out as a perfect excuse for me to return to Tumbler Ridge for some thrilling runs. Since then, the race has evolved into one of Canada’s, and as far as I’m concerned the world’s premier mountain running events. With the immeasurable passion from the race organizers and breathtaking geography of the Geopark, that’s not overly surprising. The Emperors Challenge has never been an easy event, but it has always been unique and rewarding and I’m honoured to be part of its history.”
The Emperor’s Challenge is one of the largest events of its kind in Canada. The field for the adult race is capped at 1000; registration opens 4 months before the race day, and in 2017 filled up in just 15 hours.
Next year’s event will be the 20th Emperor’s Challenge, and plans are already underway to make this an extra-special event. Not surprisingly, Kris Swanson plans to be there. The Wolverine Nordic Society is now asking: Can Swanson perhaps use the Emperor’s Challenge to set a world record for the greatest number of victories in a single event?
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