The 100-mile Canadian National Championships were held on Saturday at Alberta’s Sinister 7 Ultra. In his first 100-mile race, Scott Cooper, 31 of Calgary set a new course record in 18:08:59, beating second and third place by over an hour. Known as being tough, the 161K race takes runners through the remote and rugged Rocky Mountains, gaining 6,400 of elevation. The event offers racing options for solo ultrarunners or teams of up to seven. Everyone has 30 hours to complete the race.
Cooper beat the previous course record by less than 10 minutes, set in 2018 by Jean-François Cauchon in 18:17:29. Ailsa MacDonald still holds the female course record on the new course set in 2017 at 18:54:58 (winning overall in her first 100-miler). Dave Procter holds the course record on the old Sinister 7 course, set in 2015 at 18:21:47.
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Cooper recently obtained a PhD in biomedical engineering, and says the highs and lows of a 100-miler and his PhD are very similar. “I think completing a PhD helped prepare me and get through the 100-miler. My racing during my PhD helped me get through through all of the failed experiments and stressful times. The post-race burger was way better than my post-PhD one, I can guarantee that one for sure.”
“I’m always looking to push my limits and the fear or uncertainty of [Sinister 7] seemed exciting.” At first, Cooper wasn’t sure he could finish the 100-mile distance. Cooper used to be a professional triathlete, so training in the mountains was a shift. His training consisted of long back-to-back runs in the mountains on the weekends and speedwork during the week. His weekly mileage averaged around 140-170K and peaked at 230K. Cooper still makes time for spinning his legs on the bike and strength three days per week.
Around 78K into the race, Cooper realized he had not planned his nutrition and hydration and began to feel disoriented at the top of a climb. He had Coke, which helped. Then, one of Cooper’s poles broke 118K into the race. He patched it up with duct tape, and then proceeded to fall and lose his water bottle. A fellow relay runner gave Cooper his extra water bottle, “which was a lifesaver.”
Cooper went into the race feeling fit and as though he may have a shot at the course record. At the top of the final climb of the race, he saw the sun setting. “I knew it was more or less all downhill for the rest of the race and with the incredible view, I was really able to reflect and soak in the whole experience.”
Alex Petrosky raced to second in 19:33:43, with Colin Miller right behind for third place in 19:55:03. Dawn Glover won the women’s race in 24:19:44 in her first 100-miler, Kirsten Hansen second in 25:17:22, and Sarah Roberts third in 27:49:39.
The Vintage Vixens team of 7 won the women’s relay in 17:49:17, The Original Joes team of 7 won the men’s relay in 15:00:00, and runlAB won the mixed relay. The Kid’s Team Attitude of Altitude finished in 25:52:02, organized by the Dalke brothers.