Barrie Youth Wins the 5 km Northface Endurance Challenge
Lauren McConnell, a 14 year old Barrie resident, won the North Face Endurance Challenge 5 km race held at Blue Mountain Resort on July 16th. The North Face Endurance Challenge, as per their website, “feature[s] the most pronounced elevation gain trail race in all of Ontario, [it] cruises along the Niagara Escarpment on the western shores of the Georgian Bay and navigates through the ski trails of the Blue Mountains.” In a field of 173 racers who took part in the grueling uphill climb, called “The Grind”, Lauren was able to stay ahead of the pack for most of the race. Despite an early spill in the mud she was able to pick off leaders one by one to eventually be neck and neck with Kris Van Schyndel (34), who placed third. At one point the two slowed to talk strategy. It was during the short downhill section that Lauren was able to pass and put distance between her and the eventual second place finisher, Ben Cronsbury (30). Lauren’s mother, Christa McConnell, who ran the race as well, remembers crossing the finish line and having her daughter come up to her to say she had won, “I thought she had won her age group, never mind the entire race. I was stunned, knowing the type of athletes that run these rugged trail races, it was quite the feat”. Lauren is looking forward to participating in the upcoming cross country season at Eastview Secondary School in the fall.