The first two days of Ultraman Canada set the stage for a thrilling finale, and the third and final day of racing didn’t disappoint. The double marathon carried the athletes 84.4 kilometers through the pristine woodlands between Princeton and Summerland. The competitors began the run under chilly conditions, but later struggled through the heat as the sun overcame the treetops. The final 20 kilometers were the most brutal, with a punishing climb up three kilometers of dirt road before the final descent into Summerland with pitches of up to 14-percent.
The men’s race served as a final showdown, with the ultimate results in question even after the eighth man crossed the line. The leaders pushed off at speed, throwing caution to the wind and daring each other to chase. John Bergen, David Matheson, Craig Percival, Christian Isakson, and Michael Owen all found their selves in arrears of Inaki de la Parra, who attempted an early break and held on through the first 20 kilometers. His bid faded beyond that. Matheson gradually took command and never looked back.
Matheson eventually finished the run in 7:04:13. This produced a stunning result in the form of a new overall course record. Though Craig Percival had been on record pace the previous two days, Matheson only trailed by seven minutes at the beginning of the day. His run was good enough to break the record set by Kevin Cutjar in 2010. The moment was particularly meaningful to both men. Cutjar is Matheson’s longtime coach and mentor, and Matheson was part of Cutjar’s support crew in his 2010 record effort. This time, Cutjar was on hand to cheer Matheson across the line.
Michael Owen followed Matheson by 26 minutes, and John Bergen arrived four minutes later. Christian Isakson turned in a 7:50:58, leaving the question hanging as to who would take second and third place. The answer rested on the shoulders of Craig Percival, who’d begun the day in first place. With only 28:19 and 50:03 separating Percival from Bergen and Isakson, respectively, every second counted. The call from the 5-kilometer mark of Percival’s arrival put the crowd on the edge of their seats. Exhausted from his precious two days’ efforts, he struggled to the finish in a nail biter. He collapsed after crossing the line, the final charge unto the breach rewarded by a third place finish— just six seconds ahead of Isakson.
Stacey Shand set fire to the women’s race with a 9:27:39 run, more than an hour ahead of her closest pursuer and race leader Iona MacKenzie. It made for a close shave as MacKenzie was the third woman to cross the line in 10:34:56. Her final margin of victory was much narrower than when they started the day, closing the race out with 30:15:38 against Shand’s 30:36:26.
There was one other record achievement on the day. Alan MacPherson of Great Britain became the sixth person to complete all three Ultraman races. He finished the Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii last year and Ultraman United Kingdom in 2011.