March 12, 2023
Cross country skiing in Newfoundland and Labrador is alive and well, judging by the annual provincial marathon event held this year at the Whaleback Club in Stephenville on Saturday, March 11.
“We were extremely pleased with how the event went this year,” says Club President Greg Noonan. “Some people are under the mistaken impression that it consists of just one long, 42-kilometre race. While that lengthy race is a highlight, there are actually 23 different classifications as well as distances ranging from 2.5 km up to the 42 km race. It is truly a festival of skiing for all ages.”
Besides the individual races, there were also club competitions. The Arthur Baker Trophy for male skiers was won by a team from the Blow Me Down Club of Corner Brook consisting of James Merrigan, Luke Dunphy and Olivier van Lier. All three of them were also double winners, taking their individual categories in the 42 km Master races.
The Ernie Langins Trophy for the club with the strongest participation rate was won by Whaleback.
The Percy Pieroway Trophy for the three fastest female skiers from one club to ski 42 km was not awarded this year as all the criteria were not met.
Kaila Mintz and Melissa O’Brien, both of Blow Me Down, won the Master 2 Female (42 km) and Senior Female (42 km) titles respectively.
The remaining 42 km races were won by Brian Dunphy of Whaleback in the Master 4 Male, and Graham Oliver of Whaleback in the Open Classic Technique.
There was a series of seven 21-km races. Winners included Greg Alexander and Jacqueline LeGrow of Whaleback, as well as the following skiers from Blow Me Down: Evan May, Dean Major, Lindsay Bird, Andrew May and Tina Newbury.
The four 12-km races were all won by Blow Me Down members: Logan Hedderson, Rebekah Adey, Dwayne White and Christine Adey.
The 7 km Jackrabbit Girls race was won by Rebecca Merrigan of Blow Me Down while the same distance for Boys was won by Nicholas O’Rielly of Whaleback.
The three 2.5 km races were all won by Whaleback members: Callum Gosse in the Bunny Rabbit Boys, Lauren Ryland in the Bunny Rabbit Girls, and Violette Aucoin in the Active Living Female category.
“We saw some excellent, enthusiastic skiing,” says Noonan. “The participants were supported by our sponsors as well as our crew of dozens of dedicated volunteers. Without them, the event would not have been possible.” The Technical Director for the race was Bruce LeGrow, representing Cross Country Newfoundland and Labrador.
The primary sponsor was The Outfitters whose representative Jonathan Earle congratulated the participants. “We are proud to support the Marathon and the efforts of ski clubs all across Newfoundland and Labrador to help grow and maintain the sport of Nordic skiing,” added Earle.
Photos attached (photos by Sebastian St. Croix, except as noted below)
This shows why a photo is needed to declare a winner in some races. Evan May (top) of Blow Me Down Club edged out his teammate Dave Adey by the narrowest of margins, just .025 seconds or 25 thousandths of a second in the Junior 2 Male (21 km) race.
Patrick Brewer photo
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