History was made at the 42nd annual King of the Mountain foot race in Terrace on July 13.
Connor Block, 18, shattered the current course record with a time of 44:46, bettering the previous best time by nearly three and a half minutes. Block is now a three-time champion, previously winning the event in 2016 and 2017.
But he was not the only young runner to show well at the iconic race. His 16-year-old brother Owen Block finished an inspiring 6th overall with a time of 52:40 amid a large group of the area’s top trail runners, some of whom have competed at running events across Canada.
Twenty runners in total broke the challenging 60-minute mark, including 14-year-old Owen Muller and 18-year-old Yohannes Vandenberg.
To run under an hour on the course is an exceptionally difficult task, but is also the main draw of the event. Each year, competitors of all ages come from across the region to challenge themselves.
Another Block brother, 13-year-old Luke, was the youngest competitor in the event and finished just over an hour, suggesting that the family may have a lock on the trophy for years to come.
Carly Madge, 25, of Smithers was crowned as the Queen of the Mountain as the event’s top female finisher with a time of 58:08. Raina Trappl of Terrace also broke the magical 60-minute mark at 58:57.
Established in 1977 by the Skeena Valley Runners, the King of the Mountain is the longest-running race in the Northwest. Runners challenge history, challenge the mountain and most importantly — challenge themselves.
The current course was established in 2012. Runners start at the Terrace Sportsplex arena and head up Park Avenue hill to the Johnstone Trailhead on Terrace Mountain. Runners then take the Flathead Loop trail back to the same trailhead, and return to the arena. The race is 9km long and features nearly 400m of elevation gain on technical trails.
Fifty-three runners competed in the event which featured athletes from Kitimat, Prince Rupert, Smithers, Fort St. John and Charlie Lake, B.C.