Despite windy, cold conditions more than 130 participants took part in the Cross Border Challenge between Mount Whatley, N.B. and Amherst.
AMHERST – Chris Evers of Moncton blazed a trail finishing five minutes ahead of his closest competitor to win the half-marathon at the Cross Border Challenge in Amherst on Saturday.
“Conditions were good and the course was great,” Evers said after the race. “I wasn’t really sure what to expect coming to Amherst today. As I was driving down from Moncton you could see the storm clouds and I was wondering what the conditions would be like.”
The half-marathoners faced a stiff northerly breeze as the departed from a start/finish line in front of the Amherst Stadium and Evers said crossing the marsh on the way to Mount Whatley was a challenge, but he said there was a nice tailwind as he reached the half-way point and started on his way back to Amherst.
Evers completed the course in 1:20.32 and credited race organizers for putting on a quality event.
“It’s becoming a popular event among runners,” Evers said. “It’s really nice to run through town and to see people clapping and cheering you on and I can’t say enough about the volunteers. Fantastic.”
Anthony Fromm of Amherst was second with a time of 1:25.05 and Jon Evers of Head of St. Margaret’s Bay was third at 1:25.21.
On the women’s side, Amherst’s Kaili VanVulpen finished with a time of 1:35.45, nine minutes ahead of Diane Baxter of Moncton, who finished at 1:44.44. Shelley Carroll of Amherst, who ran the Boston Marathon earlier this year, was third at 1:44.57.
John Beninger of Sackville, N.B. was his age group (under age 19) with a time of 1:31.29 – over Tyler Landry of Amherst, who nursed a knee injury from the five-kilometre mark. Landry finished at 1:35.10.
Beninger’s day didn’t get started as planned after his ride didn’t make it to pick him out in Sackville.
Beninger, a member of Mount Allison’s cross-country team, hopped on his bicycle and pedaled the 17 kilometres to Amherst. He was late getting the starting line and started approximately 10 minutes hind the rest of the participants.
“I ran pretty hard to catch up to the pack and then realized I had to slow my pace down,” he said. “I slowed a bit to talk to some of the (Amherst) Striders and got myself into a rhythm.”
On the 10-K side, Ryan Hatchard of Oxford won the men’s race at 35:26 with Simeon Fancy of Milton placing second at 36:31 and Robert Lafreniere of Amherst finishing in third at 41:31.
Krista Harrison of Halifax won the women’s division at 43:28, Sonya Fury of Aulac, N.B. was second at 45:56 and Sarah Crocker of Amherst was third at 46:18.