Thursday, November 12, 2009

Whitehorse star article

Denise McHale to defend Canadian 100-km Champion title

Whitehorse’s Denise McHale is off to Vancouver for the Canadian 100 kilometre Championships on Nov. 7.


LOOKING FOR ADVENTURE – Denise McHale of Whitehorse is heading to Vancouver on Nov. 3 for the Canadian 100 kilometre Championships to defend her title.

Whitehorse’s Denise McHale is off to Vancouver for the Canadian 100 kilometre Championships on Nov. 7.

The race, called the Haney 2 Harrison is a 100 kilometre course and McHale is expecting the worst weather conditions – not that that’s a bad thing.

I expect rain, rain and more rain,” said McHale. “I expect conditions to be somewhat miserable, which is fine with me.”

McHale’s adventure racing experience has provided her with the ability to get through any conditions a race has to offer.

“I think my experience in adventure racing tends to lend itself to dealing relatively well with adverse weather conditions and things that are out of my control,” she said.

Even with her experience, McHale says the course won’t be a walk in the park.

“I expect a tough race because of the weather conditions, and because the course is rather hilly,” she said. “It really all comes down to proper training and a little bit of luck that things come together on the day.”

McHale hopes to keep her title of Canadian 100 kilometre Champion.

“I am going with the hope of defending my title and running a personal best,” she said.

McHale began racing in 1996, when she joined a learn to run group at Better Bodies, where she worked.

Her first run with the group was three-kilometres.

“I still remember being thrilled with that accomplishment,” said McHale.

After a few years running, she ran her first marathon.

“ I ran my first marathon a couple of years later and was hooked from there,” said McHale.

There is no formal ranking system for adventure racing, but fellow marathon runner Keith Thaxter says she is one of the top competitors in Canada.

“She’s a pretty amazing runner,” he said.

McHale says Canada’s running team has had success nationally and internationally in recent years.

“We’ve had some success adventure racing in Canada and internationally and have had a really good 2009 so far,” she said.

The team has also joined up with members from other countries.

“We’ve expanded our team over the past year and have been racing with a couple American based teams with some team mates from Australia, New Zealand, Spain and France,” said McHale.

Racing against her teammates is what McHale is looking forward to the most for her upcoming race.

After the Haney 2 Harrison in Vancouver, she is heading to Abu Dhabi, United Emerites, for the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge with team Salomon from the U.S. for her final event of the season.

Racing has brought McHale all over the world.

“I’ve the opportunity to travel to some amazing places and race with some incredible athletes,” she said.

McHale has found that her participation in adventure racing has proved beneficial in other areas of her life.

“Adventure racing especially is so complex both physically and mentally that I find the experience I have gained flows out to so many other areas of my life and has helped me become a stronger person,” she said. “I love the challenges that endurance sports brings.”

While travel internationally could be a strain on an athlete’s personal life, McHale travels and competes with her husband Greg.

“I’m lucky in the fact that my husband and I race together and have been able to share so many of these experiences together,” she said.

McHale has been running for almost 13 years, and the thrill she felt when she completed her first three-kilometre run is still alive and well.

“There’s nothing better than when things come together and you cross a finish line after days of racing knowing you’ve left it all out on the race course,” said McHale.
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Denise McHale’s career highlights

August 2009: Primal Quest, in South Dakota, U.S. 1,000 kilometre expedition – third place.

June 2009: Best of the West, in Alberta, 600 kilometre expedition, – first place.

May 2009: 50 mile Canadian Championships, in Victoria,BC – first female and new course record.

March 2009: Rock and Ice Ultra, in NWT. 225 kilometre run – 1st female

November 2008: 100km World Championships, in Italy – first Canadian Women and 23rd female.

August 2007: Raid the North Extreme, in Prince Rupert, B.C. 600 kilometre expedition – third place.

May 2007:100km Canadian Championships, in Edmonton – first female and new course record.

December 2006: Nuevo Leon Outdoor Challenge, in Mexico – third place team.

October 2006: Extreme Adventure Hidalgo, in Mexico – second place team.

August 2006: Primal Quest, in Utah, U.S. 700 kilometre expedition – fourth place team.

May 2006: Mississauga Marathon – third place female.

2004: Calgary Marathon – 1st place female.

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