TUMBLER RIDGE, B.C. – 747 hikers took to the hills south of Tumbler Ridge on Saturday to compete in the 18th annual Emperor’s Challenge.
After placing 1st in last year’s half-marathon despite competing with a broken collarbone and some serious road rash, Victoria’s Kris Swanson managed to repeat once again with a time of 1:31:57 despite breaking his foot back in January of this year. Prince George’s Jim Van Bakel was the top competitor from Northern BC, and managed to finish only twenty-eight seconds behind Swanson for a 2nd-place finish. Jayms Morrison did Fort St. John proud with a fourth place finish in 1:38:09.
Fort St. John can also lay claim to the fastest female hikers in the Peace Region. Bailey and Niki Haugan were this year’s leading ladies in the 20 kilometre hike finishing in 11th and 12th spots, respectively. Only 38 seconds separated Niki from Bailey, who hiked the Challenge in 1:45:42.
Kids from the Fort St. John also managed impressive showings in the 4- and 2-kilometre Emperor’s Challenges. 13 year-old Troyer James placed 3rd in the 4-kilometre hike, while 11 year-old Levi VanderMeulen came 2nd in the 2 km, only 6 seconds behind Dawson Creek’s Tegan Steckly. Steckly topped the 2-kilometre hike in 10:29.