On Sunday Stanizlav Rezac won his sixth consecutive race at the
Keskinada. Last year he won the sprints, the 52km classic race, and
the 50km skate race. This year he did it again.
Yesterday was the 50km skate race, which has always been the been the
toughest and most important race of the weekend. (When Keskinada is a
FIS Marathon Cup this is the designated race. When it is not, the
prize money is highest in the skate). Sunday morning brought
beautiful sunshine with temperatures around -12C. The course was in
terrific shape with the only major complaint being some slow and
powdery snow on the higher sections of the race trail.
Rezac squeezed out a victory over Ivan Babikov, this time racing the
colours of his Canadian factory team, the well known X.C-Com. The
challenging hills in the early part of the course, including Pink Lake
hill and the infamous “Penguin”, served to break up the race, with a
lead group forming including Rezac, Babikov, and the surprise of the
day, Steve Cyr. Cyr is a former member of Canada's national Biathlon
team who placed 8th in the 1992 Olympic biathlon sprint event. Cyr
valiantly hung on to the pace set by Rezac and Babikov until the
closing kilometres. A sprint finish once again put Rezac on the top
step of the podium. Both Rezac and Babikov will be heading to the
American Birkebeiner this weekend. Expect them to contend for the win.
Fourth place went to Robert Douglas of Honeoye Falls, New York with
fifth going to to my darkhorse pick, Will Fitzgerald, who passed a
large group of skiers with blazing speed on the last uphill of the
In the women's race, the victory went to Muriel Marin of France, by
about a minute and a half over hard charging Sheila Kealey of XC
Ottawa, among the top three once again. If there were a prize for
consistent top performances it would have to go to her, who has been
in the top three too many times to count, dating back to the early
nineties if I am right. Third went to Brooke Gosling of Canmore and
the Foothills ski club, who did remarkably well considering it was her
first race of this length.
As a whole the weekend was a big success, with over three thousand
competitors all told. Anybody who loves marathon racing or just plain
skiing should put this one on their list of “must do” races.
Stanislav Rezac poses for a picture with Stuart
McTavish who was about to start his first 50km event ever