Williams Trades Skis for Running Shoes

Kieran JonesJuly 11, 2010
Former Alberta World Cup Academy skier Madeleine Williams last winter in West Yellowstone. Photo, Win Goodbody

On July 1st, (otherwise known as Canada Day in the Great White North) Canmore, Alberta hosted its Canada Day Fun Run. Despite the title, it was, in fact, a race, as dozens of local skiers toed the start line. Canmore is home to both Canada’s National Cross Country Ski Team, National Biathlon Team, the Alberta World Cup Academy National Development Center, as well as several powerful Canadian clubs–and the nordic sports were well represented.

The 8 k course was mapped out on dirt trails around Canmore, and was mostly flat. The morning was ideal for skiers – at 7:00 AM the temperature was cold, but sunny.

Headlining the womens’ field was former Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) skier and recently retired Olympian Madeleine Williams. While Williams has always enjoyed running, injuries during her ski career limited her ability to compete in the sport. According to her blog, in her recent retirement she has returned to running with a passion.

On July 1st, the decision clearly paid off. Williams won the Open Women category convincingly in a time of 29:41.1, besting second place finisher Canadian National Ski Team member, Brittney Webster by 15.2 seconds. Finishing in third place in a time of 30:24.1 was Magi Scallion, a former national level cross country skier, and now Williams’ boss.

In an e-mail to FasterSkier, Williams described her race as “better than planned”. She also mentioned she raced without a watch, “so I was pleasantly surprised by my time.”

Of the large contingent of cross country skiers participating, Williams admitted it did seem a lot like a ski race. “I enjoyed playing tactics a bit with people whose habits I know,” she said.

But the domination of the field by nordic athletes didn’t stop there. Sara Hewitt (AWCA) finished 4th in a time of 31:32.1, while newly-elected Cross Country Canada Board Member Rhonda Jewett finished 6th, in a time of 33:02.2.

On the men’s side, the race was won by Kristopher Swanson in a time of 25:43.8, followed by Adrian Lambert at 25:54.9.

Then, the skiers took over, as Brendan Green (Canadian National Biathlon Team) finished third, and Graham Nishikawa (Canadian National Cross Country Team) finished fourth. The next 14 or 15 spots were also taken up by skiers, including such notables as Olympian and NST member Drew Goldsack in seventh (27:13.7), and Paralympic Biathlete Mark Arendz in 25th (32:06.2).

For full results, see www.zone4.ca

Kieran Jones

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