It's 2019 already and in a few months we’ll be back on dry trails. Tons of racing, adventures and wicked days out will likely entertain our Summer But first, let’s take a few seconds to look back at 2018 on the local trail running scene. Lots was accomplished, records were broken and tons of miles were raced. Here are nine of our highlights, in no particular order. What are yours?
Karl Augsten’s Trail Domination
Karl Augsten is a very familiar name for lots of runners in the Bow Valley. After an impressive 2:31 marathon and 31:06 10km, Karl shifted his focus back to trail running last Summer. The results came quickly: Canadian mountain running champion, Broken Goat Victory, Squamish 50-mile victory and a plethora of impressive times on iconic Bow Valley trails. His new FKT on the Lady MacDonald ascent now stands at 33:47, a massive improvement over the previous record of 38:01 (by Mike Vine). Lots more to come from Karl. He will be racing the Boston Marathon this Spring and we can’t wait to see what time he’ll post!
Peter Knight, AKA the "Dark Knight" on Strava
As the Summer of 2018 started, a name started appearing on top of various Strava leaderboards. Strava chasers quickly learned to fear him on segments like the Lady MacDonald teahouse and Ha Ling. Over a few weeks, Strava-enthusiasts even saw the teahouse segment change hands a few times between Karl and Peter. Karl eventually took home the honours, but the Dark Knight wasn’t done with his KOM hunt. A warm Summer day and some weird clothing choices allowed Peter to break the previous Ha Ling ascent time by 30 seconds on his way to being the first ever to reach the summit in less than 30 minutes. 29:50 now stands as the time to beat!
Jana Jurackova’s KOM hunt
Jana is another runner who spent some time hunting Strava segments in 2018. Her routine quickly became famous at SkiUphill - RunUphill. She’d show up casually, pushing a baby stroller, and would stare at the FKT board for a few seconds. A few “Hmm, I think I can beat that time” would follow. A few days/weeks later, we’d get an e-mail with a link to one (or five) Strava workouts. Each time, a couple KOMs and FKTs would fall. She is now all over the women’s leaderboard. Among her times, a 44:15 to the Lady MacDonald teahouse (narrowly missed by Liz Halleran in 44:17) and a very impressive 1:37:14 on the Grant MacEwan (Heart) loop.
Jana finished her season with a 5th place at the Squamish 50 in a very competitive year that saw Courtney Dauwalter take the win.
Elizabeth Halleran - we’ve stopped counting how many races...
Liz Halleran ran LOTS of races in 2018. We basically stopped counting how many when she started casually running some 10 km on the road as part of recovery weeks...! Her and Andy Reed definitely win the “I just love racing” category. From 100 miles to 5 km on the road and everything in between. Liz’s season began at the Black Canyon Ultra in February and finished with the Grizzly Ultra in October. Another great athlete to follow, and if her progression continues, we will see some great things from her!
Alex Harris - from the flatlands to mountain crusher
Alex Harris, the soccer player from Ontario turned queen of the mountain (QOM). A couple Thursday interval workouts spent at the front of the pack quickly revealed Alex as a force to be reckoned with in the Bow Valley. She quickly started leaving her mark in the local running scene with some big weeks, lots of vertical and some fast times. A few attempts saw her finally beat a long-lasting QOM time on Sulphur Mountain which belonged to Megan Imrie, a 2010 olympian. The women’s time now stands at 36:49 and our guess is that it will stand for a while. Alex went on to annihilate the competition and take the win at the Grizzly Ultra in some tough conditions last October. We heard that she’ll be racing Squamish 50 this Summer, and our money is on her for the win!
Maude Marsan & the "Canmore Quad"
The Canmore Quad is a 50 km run around town that tackles each of the 4 peaks surrounding Canmore for a total just shy of 5000 meters of elevation gain. On our supported-attempt day, Maude started before sunrise and after just over 17 hours out there, she did the full Canmore Quad. We will remember for a long time what she said sitting on a bench at the store after finishing shortly after 10 PM: “ All those years, I was thinking that this was not for me, that I couldn’t do that for sure. This year I decided that I was that person who could do it. I’ve looked at those peaks and ran them individually for years, it’s awesome to do all four in a day”. The most inspiring performances are not always the fastest...!
A first for the Double-Quad
On the same day as our Quad attempt day, many runners came across a guy who’d been running for almost 24 hours already. Jeremie Phillibert was trying something pretty wild: a double-Quad. 100 km and 10,000 meters of elevation gain later, Jeremie became the first to complete a full human-powered double-quad in just over 27 hours. Earlier this Summer, Andy Reed had given up after 5 out of the 8 summits. Crazy fact: it was the first time that Jeremie ran this far!
Tyler Williams, how to start a trail running career with a 100-mile race
Yes, you read that right. Tyler’s first ultra was the Sinister Seven in July 2018, which he finished after a few mishaps including running many extra kilometers when he got off course! Tyler went on to place 11th at the Squamish 50 and placed 2nd at the Finlayson Arm 100 km a few weeks later, beating the previous course record! A fantastic Summer for someone this new to running...
The Dalke Brothers - Attitude over Altitude
If you haven’t heard of those guys, you don’t follow the local trail running action at all. From team’s races to a Canadian Death Race solo victory and some FKTs. James, Jayden and Joedy were everywhere last Summer. We can’t wait to see what they are up to in 2019!
What about you? What are your highlights of 2018 on the local trail and ultrarunning scene? Leave your suggestions and comments below :)