Shailynn Taylor an SMA Type 2 patient poses for a photograph with runners on the start line of the Lewiston Ultra on Sept. 29 at the Hyde Mountain Golf Course. (Syl Corbett Photo)

Lewiston Ultra trail run in the Shuswap pushes endurance for a good cause

Trail run on Sept. 29 helped raise awareness of fight against degenerative disease.

Exceptional athletes raced over gruelling terrain for an exceptional cause at the 56-kilometre Lewiston Ultra Trail Run at the end of September.

The trail run on Sept. 29 spanned the trail system between Hyde Mountain Golf Course in Sicamous and the South Canoe Trails in Salmon Arm.

The race could be undertaken solo or as a relay with as many as four on a team.

The fastest solo finisher was Michael Fitzpatrick, who completed the course in just over five hours and 23 minutes.

The fastest woman was Amy Anderson, who crossed the line with a time of six hours, 47 minutes and 35 seconds.

The two-person relay team made up of Elora Van Jarrett, who registered under the team name GingerSNAP, finished the course in five hours, 32 minutes and 33 seconds. They were followed by team Twisted Storms who finished in just over seven hours.

A three-person team, The German Connection, made up of Ryan Kloepfer, Jen Goehring and Blake Goehring, were the fastest in their class, finishing in six hours, 42 minutes and eight seconds.

The Sass and Sarah, a four-person team composed of Daniel Hughes, Michael Willms, David Willms and Sarah Fitzmaurice, finished with the fastest four-person time: five hours, three minutes and two seconds.

The event was inspired by the tragic story of Lewiston Olstad and helped raise awareness for the foundation that bears his name. Lewiston was born into a Calgary family in 2016 and was soon diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

SMA is an inherited condition which causes nerve cells in the lower part of the brain and the spinal cord to break down and die; this stops the brain from sending signals to the body’s muscles.

“Much research has been done to identify the genes that cause SMA, but currently, there’s still no cure for the disease.

Despite the limitations SMA causes, many kids who have it learn to live as independently as possible with the help of physical and occupational therapy and by getting treatment for the disease’s most troubling symptoms,” a post on the Love for Lewiston Foundation website reads.

Although young Lewiston lost his battle with the disease just shy of six months after he was born, his family carries his memory forward with a foundation that aims to help create awareness of SMA and directing money to local families in need.

They also raise funds for research into SMA in hopes of developing new treatments or a cure as well as for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation.

According to race organizers, following the race they will also give back to the Shuswap Trail Alliance, the Larch Hills Nordic Society and Shuswap Volunteer Search and Rescue.

Next year’s race date has already been set for Sept. 28 2019.

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