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Vancouver’s Jericho Beach offered classic cross country conditions for the annual BC High School Cross Country Championships on Saturday. By the time the senior boys race got going at 12:30, nearly 700 runners had already tenderised the curvey and wet 2K loop. Long spikes were the order of the day.

Connor Nichol and Ruby Broadbent raised eyebrows and dropped jaws as senior champions, neither of whom are in Grade 12. Nichol is in Grade 10 and Broadbent is a 16-year-old Grade 11 student. Cross-country brings out the community. Spotted amongst the crowd was Sydney Olympic gold medallist Simon Whitfield. During his Olympic run of three in a row, he raced the national club cross country championships on the same Jericho course.

The retired triathlete now is a standup paddleboarder. Whitfield has been known to SUP in sketchy conditions and over long distances including making his way in and out of the Gulf Islands ferrying “everything but the kitchen sink,” as he describes a camping trip, where one yachtsman questioned his sanity in the choppy straight.

The yachtsman had no idea who he was dealing with, “avast with your gas guzzler, mate.” Newly married and soon-to-be-married Olympians John Gay and Luc Bruchet were spotted as was two-time Olympian Bruce Deacon among many other current and former international athletes and university recruiters. Hundreds of spectators braved the cool, windy, and sometimes raining conditions.SHOW LESS

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