Another Black Spur Ultra marathon race has come and gone in Kimberley, and two locals managed to claim podium finishes: James Miles finished third in the 108K Solo with a time of 12:50:50.4 and Mandi Goudie was ninth overall in the 108K solo and the second place female finisher with a time of 15:12:42.9.
The Kimberley Bulletin caught up with James Miles during his shift at Purcell Outdoors on Monday after the race. He said he was feeling substantially then than he was 24 hours prior.
“I was definitely hoping to get on the podium, but you never really know who’s going to turn up, or what’s going to happen,” Miles said. “It wasn’t easy, it was a real battle, but I’m super proud to have got third place and my target was to do it in under 13 hours as well and I got it by ten minutes. If I had been over 13 hours I would have been in fourth.”
Earlier this year, Miles was training incredibly hard as he worked up to the 50 miler at the end of June. Then it was two weeks of recovering, another two weeks of training and another couple of weeks of recovery.
The intense heat and smoke hanging over the Kootenays made getting out for training sessions challenging as well, so there was a bit of a balancing act of “damage limitation,” as he put it, and getting enough training in.
It was cool and grey as the runners left the gates early Saturday morning, fairly ideal weather for such intense physical excursion, however the skies soon opened up and unleashed a torrential downpour for much of the race.
“The last two weeks I’d been expecting to be running in the smoke and was pretty scared of that, but it wasn’t smoky, it was perfect,” Miles said. “The rain wasn’t too bad, I guess it was a little bit demoralizing. I was in a pretty bad headspace for a good part of the run and maybe the rain kind of helped with that but it was good running weather.
“It wasn’t 35 degrees heat, it wasn’t smoky. Some of the downhills were a little bit technical and slippy, but running downhill is one of my strengths so it wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t as fun as it could have been.”
Miles, who often spends a great deal of time recreating in the mountains around Kimberley, said he got into ultra running because he simply likes the idea of challenging himself and seeing how far he can push himself.
Following the race, he was grateful his girlfriend Charlotte had some real, good food ready for him, and then it was just a night of lying on the floor with his feet up, and not being able to sleep.
The night before the race, with the announcement of tightened restrictions, he wasn’t sure the race would go on, and Miles added that he’s very grateful to the event and resort staff for doing everything they did to make it happen, as well as grateful to everyone around town who supports the event.
This was the third Black Spur Ultra 108k for Mandi Goudie and despite the heavy rains, she not only finished second for the women’s 108K, but she set a new personal best time. This year she actually was planning not to run, but registered last minute because the forecast showed the temperatures cooling off.
“It was a very mentally challenging day and I was very tempted to quit after the first half when it started raining harder,” Goudie told the Bulletin. “I wasn’t expecting to run a personal best on the course, but somehow my legs kept running (or shuffling) even when my brain wanted them to stop.
“We’re lucky to live in a town with so many amazing trails to play on.”