Time to Unleash the Thunder: XC is Back!

Time to Unleash the Thunder: The Thunderbirds Rust Buster XC Relays

Get ready to embrace the thunderous excitement of cross-country racing as the Thunderbirds Rust Buster XC Relays returned for another exhilarating year, setting the pace for the rest of the 2023 season. Surrey Bend Regional Park hosted over 45 athletes that took on either 1km and 2km loops with their teammates. The meet offered a unique twist to traditional cross-country races with a relay format. Here's what you need to know:

  • Relay Format: Each relay race featured four relay legs, making for a dynamic and action-packed event.

  • Team Size: Teams can consist of 2 to 4 athletes, allowing for strategic team formations and varied race strategies.

  • Strategy: Athletes are not limited to running consecutive loops. They can run up to two relay legs but must alternate between them (e.g., 1st leg and 3rd leg or 2nd leg and 4th leg).

  • Age Categories: Younger athletes have the option to compete in higher age categories, but older athletes cannot compete in younger categories. Additionally, female athletes are welcome to join their male teammates.

The Thunderbirds Rust Buster XC Relays also featured a range of race categories including JDs, U16s, U18, U20s, Seniors & Masters. The JDs covered 4x1km, whereas all other athletes raced over 2km, for an exciting 4x2km relay race. 

Now, let's dive into just some of the highlights.

The 1km Loop

Eighteen teams competed in the 4x1km relay, including athletes competing for the Vancouver Thunderbirds, Oceans Athletics, Kajaks, Langley Mustangs and Norwesters. The Thunderbirds team consisting of Simon McCutcheon, Michael Lam and Carter O'Donnell had a collective team time of 12:50! As we start to get into the specifics, Simone McCutcheon had the fastest split of all competitors, coming in at 3 minutes on the dot. 

Another Thunderbird team, this one comprised of Kelly Keats, Rio Nguyen and Leo Cloutier, made the podium. This group placed second with a collective time of 13:08. In third was a team of two from Oceans Athletics. Avery Hind and Eden Taillefer, who both ran two legs finished with a time of 13:52.

The 2km Loop

A speedy squad from Ocean Athletics won the overall team race in the 4x2km relay. The team consisting of Yemane Mulugeta, Steven Brittain and James Hodgson finished the race in a time of 25:57! When looking at individual splits, Mulugeta ran both the first and fourth leg for his team, running a split of 6:19 in his starting leg and 6:24 in his anchor leg. 

The team from Golden Ears, which included Sam Pitzey, Markus Toolsie-Worsnup, Lucien Dixon-Lawless and Aidan Evans placed second with a collective time of 27:21 and rounding out the podium was another group from Oceans Athletics. Connor NicolArmaandeep Pannu, Joe Liu and Bernardo Sada finished with a combined time of 27:46. 

See you at the next race!

For over 400 photos from the event click here