The 26th running of the longest running and most beautiful run in the corridor took place on Sunday under grey skies. Very fast times were laid down despite an extremely wet course in tough conditions. Almost 70 runners came out despite the very wet morning that greeted starters at the Cheakamus Lake trailhead. This is such a spectacular hike or run thru geography that resembles a Hollywood film mountain landscape fantasy. Terrain created by tectonic forces of fire and ice. To travel thru this area is always inspiring and the main reason that people put themselves thru the paces of this run so willingly every year.
As runners lined up the rain pounded down and no doubt the conditions intimidated a number of folks who chose to sleep in Sunday morning instead of braving the mud and water. The course was muddy especially on the climb up Helm Creek trail. The crossing of Helm creek which is normally a simple hop across some boulders turned into a river fording with ice cold thigh deep, fast running water. All runners made it across without incident and warmed up cold muscles on the long descent to the Garibaldi Lake parking trail head over 4000 ft below. The weather did cooperate finally with the rain giving way to cloudy skies after about one hour into the race. So while the normal views were not evident, even in grey weather the beauty of the area does not disappoint.
The fastest time was put down by Mark Bennett at a very fast 2:15:20. We can only wonder what Mark could have put down had conditions been faster. The course record is 1:56:10. The fastest woman was Mariene Legrand at 2:30:50. An amazing run was put in by Alex Klupfer who is 70 years old with an excellent time of 3:43:30 over the 26km course. He is the winner of the Knees of Steel award for this year. We should all be so lucky to have knees like Alex when we are 70!
Special thanks to BC Parks, Spot Emergency Beacons, La Sportiva, Montrail, Innovative Fitness and Creekbread restaurant.