Canadian Running - - GOLDEN SHOE AWARDS -

Since en­ter­ing a se­ries of high-pro­file races be­tween 2013 and 2015, 32-year-old Squamish, B.C. run­ner Nick El­son has been blow­ing peo­ple’s minds with his in­cred­i­ble feats in moun­tain sports en­durance events, cast­ing a blind­ing light on the fact that the fu­ture of moun­tain run­ning lies in multi-sport ex­cel­lence com­bined with a will­ing­ness to stick one’s neck out. Way out.

El­son’s abil­ity to an­ni­hi­late the com­pe­ti­tion in the 20–50k dis­tances and be a podium con­tender at short, hill climb­ing spe­cialty events proves his po­ten­tial to dom­i­nate moun­tain run­ning in the com­ing years. Ar­guably, he al­ready is. But he’ll be the last to tell you, as his dis­arm­ingly quiet and self-ef­fac­ing de­meanour grace­fully un­der­mines an in­ner Wolver­ine.

This past year, El­son’s an­tics have grown ever more im­pres­sive. He’s the cur­rent Cana­dian na­tional cham­pion in both moun­tain run­ning and ski moun­taineer­ing. He holds the fkt on Wy­oming’s leg­endary Te­ton Range Grand Traverse (6:30), B.C.’s McBride Traverse (15:36), Spear­head Traverse (3:10), Garibaldi Neve Traverse (4:27), Tan­talus Traverse (11:20) and Stawa­mus Chief (17 min­utes, 35 sec­onds to the south sum­mit), Wash­ing­ton’s Mount Baker (3:17), and many re­mote wilder­ness ex­cur­sions that most peo­ple strug­gle to even com­pre­hend, let alone rec­og­nize.

In ad­di­tion to his lo­cal achieve­ments, El­son has trav­elled in­ter­na­tion­ally, plac­ing sec­ond at Alaska’s cel­e­brated Mount Marathon (which is ac­tu­ally a 5k climb and de­scent down a fierce moun­tain) and per­form­ing well at var­i­ous Skimo World Cups through­out the Euro­pean Alps.

Eric Carter, elite Skimo ath­lete and one of El­son’s fre­quent train­ing part­ners, em­pha­sizes “Nick is truly one of the most com­pe­tent multi-sport (run­ning­climber-skier) ath­letes that I know of. It’s been dis­cussed pre­vi­ously if the Grand Traverse record would suc­cumb to a run­ner or a climber. I think Nick showed that the next per­son to break the record will need to be world-class in both dis­ci­plines.”

With hard­core rock and ice climb­ing and high-al­ti­tude alpin­ism in­grained in his dna, Nick El­son is poised to be­come a world-class force in or­ga­nized moun­tain run­ning events. But more so, his pri­mary in­ter­est in wilder­ness ad­ven­ture hints that his po­ten­tial will likely be re­al­ized in the world’s great moun­tain ranges, far from any crowds.— Rich Wheater

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