Whistler Olympic Park played host to the punishing contest, an area more famous for seeing ski jumpers hurtle down its steep slopes on the hillside. This gruelling race challenged runners with a 400 vertical metres gain from top to bottom of a ski jump. The contest welcomed all skill levels with categories for solo full-distance, coed relay (4x100m), and a dedicated relay race for firefighter/police/EMS (4x100m).
In the end, the existing Red Bull 400 record was broken by North Vancouver’s Brandon Crichton in an unimaginable time of 3m53s. All competitors pushed their limits while being forced onto their hands and knees by an incline of 37 degrees. Crichton, admitted he didn’t know what to expect as this was no ordinary running race.
I come from a background of being a professional road cyclist, so I didn’t know what the competition would be like. I had to tap into similar fitness strengths, keep my head down and push it as hard as I could.
- Brandon Crichton
As part of the winnings he will join the female category winner, Zoe Dawson, and represent Canada as they head overseas to a secret location in Europe to compete in another Red Bull 400 race.
Competitors in Whistler were also joined by ultra marathon ace, Ryan Sandes, who is no stranger to harsh conditions after winning all four of the 4Deserts events. But even for this South African human running machine, a race up a ski jump brought on a whole new challenge:
My lungs took a real beating as I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m used to running 100 miles at once and this like taking all that pain and suffering and condensing it into 400 metres.
- Ryan Sandes
1. Brandon Crichton (3m43s) - Red Bull 400 Record-breaking time
2. Shaun Stephens-Whale (3m55s)
3. Michael Simpson (4m01s)
1. Zoe Dawson (5m08s)
2. Chantelle Groenwoud (5m13s)
3. Tiffany Phillips (5m13s)
1. Whistler Core (3m15s)
2. Got the runs (3m37s)
3. Tourism Whistler (3m43s)