Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bow Corridor XC Ski Race (Canmore) – BVH Takes the Season Opener (Master’s) Classic Style Sprint Relay

By: Blaine Penny

 Just 3.5 weeks ago I was running along the hot pavement in the desert of the Las Vegas Marathon. Transitioning from long distance running to Cross Country Skiing Sprints in 3 weeks is not an easy thing to do I learned today. I managed to convince my good friend Kirk Howell – an ex xc ski racer from a previous life - that we should do this race and team up since it was a team relay sprint.  Each skier skis 3 laps of the 1 km loop.  How hard can it be….right?  Carl Pryce and Brendan McCracken teamed up, as well as Carl’s 3 kids.  Carl’s wife Rosie was on course cheering louder than anyone and definitely gave us all an enthusiastic advantage.

Running provides good endurance and fitness, but racing fast on cross-country skis requires a lot of upper body strength and speed on top of that.  I am definitely lacking the strength and the speed and was quickly reminded of that today.  Kirk on the other hand had managed some good strength training through the fall, but was lacking the endurance.  Together, we made a decent team to muster through this.

After a week of fine-tuning the nutrition over the Christmas holidays through eating copious amounts of turkey and chocolate, a few too many beers and wine, I was feeling like I had the energy to toe the line and light the afterburners.  (You sense the sarcasm I assume).  With Kirk having a history of pretty much never losing a sprint finish in his olden ski racing days, we decided he would anchor and I would start.  We registered in the Master’s category (30 years +) to avoid being embarrassed by the young guns in the open men category.

The 1 km loop consisted of a climb off the start, downhill, then slight up, down again to the stadium and slight up to the finish. There were approximately 20 to 25 teams and I bravely started in one of the front lanes.  We blasted off the start and I went as hard as I could and realized I was out in front – now the hard part was holding it.  About a minute later it hit me and I was a flailing carcass of lactic acid.  A couple times I got tangled up in myself and missed a few strides, but luckily didn’t fall.  I managed to double pole as hard as I could to complete the first lap, but was overtaken by one other skier in the last few meters as I tagged Kirk.  As I came into the tag zone Kirk started accelerating as I ran out of gas and had to ask him to stop so I could tag him. Ouch! Not bad I thought, but I was seriously hurting and already felt like I had burned a hole in my lungs. 

Kirk started cautiously on his first lap and then decided to light it up when he got to the first hill and overtook the lead skier (Charles – another east coaster from days past).  By the time Kirk finished his lap he had a good gap.  We kept building on the gap throughout the rest of the race and managed to win by about 45 seconds.  Not bad for a couple of old school ski dads I guess.

The only downer on the day was the unfortunate incident of a skier who went down on one of the down hills.  Apparently he was unconscious for 5 min and was rushed off to the hospital.  I sure hope he is OK.  Not what you expect in an old guy masters race, but you actually get going pretty fast on some of the down hills and a fall can actually do some serious damage.

We had a quick look at the posted results and our time of 16:44 for 6 kms, which would have put us about 15th in the open men category, just a mere 1 min behind some Olympians who raced in Vancouver last year. Most of our Canadian National Team were skiing the race and it was pretty cool to watch those guys go.  Carl and Brendan came in the bottom 3rd of the pack after making up some ground on the last few laps with a solid finish.

I know the BVH is mainly a running club – unofficial of course – but one of my goals is to get a few folks out for some of the local xc ski races for some cross training.  Here’s a list of a few great local races for anyone interested in challenging yourself on the skinny boards:

-    Bow Corridor Regional Race (Jan 8): Canada Olympic Park 9 km Skate Race -

-    Canmore Ski Fest (March 26&27): 12/24 Hour Ski Challenge – solo or relay teams.  It would be great to see a BVH / MitoCanada relay team entered.  I am going to give the solo a go and would love to have some pacing from anyone interested.

-    Cookie Race (Feb 26): a.k.a. Kananaskis Ski Marathon

-    Canadian Birkibeiner (Feb 12): Edmonton, AB

Matt had the idea last year to ski all the trials in PLPP, which has now turned into an annual 100 km ski tour it appears.  If anyone is interested in joining us on Jan 2 for the 2nd annual tour, email me at or check out the Facebook page Tony Smith of SMITH EVENTS has set up

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sacramento Marathon Race Report

by Duncan Marsden

Sunday, December 5 was the California International Marathon in Sacramento so while Blaine was pounding the pavement in Vegas, I headed slightly further west to take on what was billed as "the fastest marathon in the West".  I had heard a lot about the net downhill of the course in the Sacramento Marathon so I was keen to see if I could put this to good effect.

I headed down to San Francisco with my family on the Friday before the marathon and then we drove to Sacramento.  We stayed in the host hotel which was right next door to the Expo and only a few blocks from the finish line.  I always wonder what the hotel staff think when they host these events; in the days leading up to the marathon the bars are full of people drinking water and the restaurants are full of twitchy racehorse type personalities who want "a double portion of plain brown rice, no sauce".  Everyone has their foibles!  And on race day, reception is filled at 4 AM with skinny people trying to eat their own weight in porridge, bagels and energy bars.

The Sacramento Marathon is a point-to-point course, so you need to take a bus to the start.  It takes about an hour and was a chance to me to catch up on sleep.  The race prides itself in having more portaloos per person then any other race and I've never seen so many people taking pictures of toilets before - there really were hundreds!

I got off the bus in the dark but very quickly it became light and was the perfect day for marathon running; cool, no wind and no rain.  After a few strides and a little bit of stretching, we were off.  I was pretty near the front but I was determined to take it easy in the first few miles, particularly as the first one was downhill and could lead to too fast a pace from the outset.  I put myself in with a group of lead women for the first mile and wondered if I should stay with them, given that they were likely to pace the race far better than I was, but I decided that the pace was slightly too slow and pushed off, running the first 6 miles at an average of 5.45 per mile.  Right on pace for my 2.30 goal.  Miles 6 to 14 were definitely hilly.  It's true that there is a net downhill on this course, but it is by no means downhill the whole way - the first half is undulating (albeit with more down than up, but there is definitely some "up").  The pace dropped a little bit at this hilly stage but I was not concerned and I wanted to make sure though I got to about mile 16 or 17 feeling good, so that I could push on from there.  I went through the half in about 80th place and was 76.38.

Around mile 14, I heard some footsteps catching up with me at a serious rate of knots and I turned to see the two lead women, ready to pass.  It was clear that they were going at a good pace and I thought that it was the ideal opportunity to run with someone for the second half so I upped my pace to match theirs.  I didn't feel right tucking in behind these two women and so I lead the two of them in their battle.  It was really interesting to watch the race unfold and the miles dropped to about 5.30 per mile.  They must have thought it was a little bit weird because they called me up 14 and then I stayed with them right to the finish - it was almost like I had been planted there as a pacemaker for them!  The lead woman dropped second place at about mile 18 and then the two of us ran the rest of the way home together.  It was really good running with her although I didn't get another cheer the entire race - everyone was cheering for her!  We kept running in the 5.30s until about mile 23 and then we both slowed to 5.50s.  During this time we must have passed about 30 guys - some looking really tired, obviously having gone off too quickly, but they all cheered us on.  I'm pretty sure they all thought I was her pacemaker too. 

I finished in 2:32.09 which was good for 35th place.  A negative split and I'd passed at least 30-40 people in the second half.  No-one overtook me in the whole race.

As I crossed the line, my initial reaction was disappointment.  I had wanted to hit sub-2.31 so that I would achieve sub-elite status for the Chicago Marathon next year and I had missed it by 69 seconds.  Worse still, it meant I had to run another marathon in spring!  However, you can't be disappointed with a personal best and I had run 1 min and 50 seconds quicker than I had previously, so all in all I was pleased.  I'm no longer scared of 5.45 mining and I'm hopeful that 2011 has a sub 2.30 marathon in its plans for me!

All in all, a good, well organised marathon and worth doing.  Now I can kick back and enjoy getting fat to Christmas..!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Las Vegas Marathon Race Report

by Blaine Penny

The Vegas trip for my wife Sarah and I was only our second vacation sans kids in the last 7 years. Sarah was running her second half marathon and I was running my 4th full marathon.

It was only 5 or 6 weeks earlier that Sarah mentioned to me that we should go on a weekend holiday get-away. It took a few days before Vegas came on the radar - where we had never been before - and that’s how the idea of making it a running holiday came about. I was thinking all I want is a break since it had been such a busy year of house renovations, running races and charity work. I was all game for it.

The biggest challenge for us in getting away without the kids is having someone to look after them. We have no family in town and have a special needs kiddo, Evan, who has a lot of medications so no easy feat to pawn the kids off. Fortunately our good friends Ian and Anna (who live in Golden, BC) were up for the task of taking the kids for 4 days. They have 2 kids of their own, who are the same ages as ours, so they moved right into our house and stepped in to look after the kids. Fortunately Ian is a paramedic and administering the meds were no issue for him. We also brought in our respite care worker, Dana, who is just amazing with the kids to help out.

We arrived on Friday morning and 2 days before the run. Never having been to Vegas before we knew it was going to be a fine balance between sightseeing and not overdoing it knowing we had the marathon on Sunday. After all, this was Vegas! I swear we walked a marathon on the Fri and Sat.

The race weather was perfect. It was about 5 or 6 degrees with a forecasted high of 15 with no wind. With a gun time of 7 am, we woke up at 4 am for breakfast to allow enough time for food to digest and to catch the shuttle to the start. We spent about 1.5 hours at the start standing around, which is always tough when you are cold and just want to get the show on the road.

It wasn’t long before we were in our corrals and Cher was belting out the National Anthem. Then it was go time. My race strategy was pretty simple. I was looking for a time of 2:42 and wanted to have a consistent pace of 3:50 mins/km and pick it up in the second half if I was feeling good.

The course for the half marathon basically ran down and back on the strip and then the marathoners peeled off with the second half being a little more drab, running mainly through the industrial part of Vegas. The first half was really cool - tons of spectators lining the strip, Elvis everywhere, a band on just about every corner rockin’ it hard, and even 60 couples exchanging vows. I knew it was going to be a lonely second half and that I was going to have to dig deep to keep it going. This was a stark contrast when compared to the Boston Marathon that’s for sure!

There was steady climbing from about mile 6 or 7 until about mile 17 where we cranked around a 180 degree hairpin to look back on the city and I realized the extent of climbing we had done. This was a huge mental boost for me since I had been slowing a bit and we then had a 2 to 3 mile stretch of down where I could crank it out again and get back on track.

Sarah was gunning to go under 2 hours for the half, so at the 2 hour mark when the hurt really started to creep in I distracted myself by thinking about her race and how it was going for her. At about mile 20 I felt my steady Eddy approach was working well and I continued to slowly pick off runners who were fading. I had no idea of how I was doing placing wise, and really just focused on maintaining my game plan and making sure I was taking on fluid and calories at every aid station. I was pretty stoked with 3 miles to go knowing I was still on pace and could actually pull off my goal time. I also knew that I didn’t want to get too excited knowing it could all fall apart in an instant, so I kept taking on fluids and told myself it’s not a done deal until you cross the line. I held it together, but was suffering pretty bad in the final mile (where I got passed for the first time in the entire race) to post a time of 2:42 and change.

I find the marathon is a dichotomy between being focused on your game plan, but at the same time distracting yourself so you don’t dwell on the pain and the lows. The coolest thing about the whole run for me was the effortless downhill cruise between miles 17 and 19 (after climbing for so many miles) – it just felt like the easy lunchtime run pace and didn’t feel like I was in the middle of a marathon at all. Those moments are rare!

I had idea throughout the race what my placing was and didn’t care. I recall looking at last years results and thinking that if I pulled off a top 50 would be good and top 30 would be amazing. It wasn’t until Sarah’s Dad emailed us the results later that night that we realized I had placed so well. To finish in the top 10 and 1st in my age group was an added bonus and one to remember for sure.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chicago - 10.10.10

A Race Report by Jody Draude

The good news: not much wind.

The bad news : temperatures of ~30 degrees Celsius.

What started as a fantastic day for running quickly got a bit sketchy, with the temperature climbing like a Carl Pryce ascent of Centennial Trail: relentless.

That said, the conditions favoured the runts, the blissfully ignorant, and those lucky enough to have joined Blaine and crew for an epic glycogen depleting run/jog/stagger three weeks before the race. Right up my alley.

Even armed with the aforementioned advantage, the wall of heat awaiting me (and everyone else) at about 25km necessitated a hastily negotiated deal with the Devil. In my stupor, I reasoned that I could engage Duncan to find me a loophole if Satan came through on his (her?) side of the bargain. Deal in one hand and a couple of sponges in the other, I managed to hang on to a decent pace for the last 10 miles. Over to you Duncan: I am counting on you.

With the 2:40 barrier looming, I managed to sneak under the wire with a couple minutes to spare: fueled by the horrible fear that I would finish at 2:40:01, and be ever after saddled with the burden of having to run another one of these stupid things.

p.s.  I managed to beat Joan Benoit Samuelson (sic?) this year after last year's crushing defeat. In fact, I don't think I was passed by one senior citizen this year, a staggering achievement.
p.p.s  For those thinking of running this race in the future, please take note that there was free beer at the finish line. I caveat that this perk may have been a one-off throw in by the Devil in 2010 in response to my great negotiation skills, in which case you are on your own to negotiate your own deals in 2011 and beyond.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Marathon Weekend

There were two major marathons this weekend - Chicago and Victoria. And we had BVH representation in both. Don King and Jody Draude were in Chicago and Darcy Bell was in Victoria. And I'm pleased to report that consistency was our key as all three finished with times of either 2:37 or 2:38.

Arguably the best performance of the day was Jody's. He watched Don fly out of the blocks and ease through half way in 74 minutes while he took a much more cautious 79 first half approach. At that time, as temperatures soared, Jody gradually picked up the pace and carried out an amazing negative split, catching Don in the last mile and beating him by 12 seconds. Jody was 4th overall masters athlete and Don was 6th. Great running.

Darcy went with the "cheaper version of Boston", heading West to the island. A 76 first half saw Darcy cruise home in 2:38. Slightly slower than he was expecting but a very decent run regardless.

Good running out there guys!!

Don't forget relay weekend next weekend - Ekiden on Saturday and Confederation Park on Sunday...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

MitoCanada 100k Run

When Harrier Blaine Penny mentioned about a year ago that he was thinking of setting up a charity to raise awareness in relation to Mitochondrial disease, which his son Evan is unfortunately afflicted with, I was happy to volunteer some of my work mates to help him set it up. Of course, when it came to calling Blaine about a month ago to tell him that the charity had been set up, I was happy to take the glory on behalf of my work mates. And, I can only put it down to the fact that I was basking in glory that I rashly said, during that phone call, "now you`ve got a charity we`ll have to do something to raise funds". Someone mentioned the word "epic". I assume it was Blaine.

So it was with a sense of surrealism that I set off from Canmore at 3am last Saturday morning with 4 other guys in tights, wearing headlamps and heading off into the mountains for 100k of madness. I have no idea how Blaine pulled it all together so quickly but he managed it so quickly that I couldn`t come up with any excuses in time.

My group were all seasoned ultra-runners; Blaine is the Canadian 50 mile champion, Carly Pryce won the Lost Soul 100k ultra the week before (yes, the WEEK BEFORE), Ian Blanchard was a seasoned 100 mile racer and Rick Webb (whose son was filing a documentary) had just missed the North American 100k record a few years back. I, as a track runner who had done the odd marathon, knew I had both the right people with me and the wrong people. The right people to get me to the end, the wrong people if I wanted an easy ride.

There were three pods running; two of them set off at midnight and we set off at 3am. The young 20-something on a skateboard drinking a beer on his way home from the night club must have thought he was really drunk when confronted with us. The fog was thick but we soon climbed out of it and up the Spray Lakes road and by sunrise we had knocked off 40k. Ian, who brought McDonalds cheeseburgers as his fuelling food of choice, told us we were running above "hamburger pace" (the pace at which you can comfortably eat a hamburger). He said we were at "fries pace" instead.

At that point it got freezing but with food in us and a change of clothes we headed into the mountains ... and hit the snow. The next section of the route had us heading over Bueller Pass, Guinns Pass, down Galatea and then up the Terrace trail to Kananaskis village and then down to Ribbon Creek car park where we knew Carl's wife Rosie was waiting with "the mother of all aid stations". This was my favourite part of the trip. Plenty of running, some snow and amazing views. Thanks must go to the pods in front of us who broke trail for us!

By Ribbon Creek we were about 65k down. I was feeling good and ready for the next part. Only 35k to go and I was re-fuelled by the mother of all aid stations (it was true) and some company from the likes of Fewster and Draude. There were two possible routes; Skogan Pass and Mount Allan. The two other pods took Skogan Pass and enjoyed themselves immensely. We took the more challenging route. And it killed me. We climbed for hours in knee-deep snow and by the time we were spat back out 25k east of Canmore, I was spent. Carl and Blaine were still operating at pace but Ian and I were operating at "hamburger pace with fries effort". Not a pretty sight.

We finally arrived in Canmore at 8pm. Two hours late but with smiles all over our faces. And the best news? Nearly $30,000 raised for MitoCanada and some serious awareness happening.

Well done to everyone who ran. Donations are still open (see the last blog post) and spread the word. Next year I'm doing what the Ozzie Mitochondrial charity did - a "stay in bed for the day" event. Much more civilised!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Great article on Blaine and MitoCanada in the Calgary Herald blog pages. Link here.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Harriers Dominate Moose

Last Saturday was the annual Moose Mountain trails races. Each year, races are put on over 42.2k, 29k and 16k distances. The longer two actually go (almost) to the summit of Moose Mountain, whereas the 16k is a lap of the Telephone Loop.

BVH was well represented. Carl Pryce shifted his dominance of the 29k distance for the past few years up to the longer 42.2k distance and, as expected, took the title. I think his assessment at the end of the race was that it was a little too close for comfort given that this distance (the longest) had the closest winning margin of the day (3 minutes). No results yet but Carl's time was about 3:48 I think.

Blaine Penny continued his recent stellar form to take the 29k title with ease. His time of 2:17 is one of the quickest since Ken Myers rane 2:09 about 6 years ago and Blaine looked easy doing it. "I think I slowed down a bit in the last few miles" said perfectionist Penny after the race.

Duncan Marsden took the 16k title in 62 minutes and was kept company by Jody Draude for much of the event. Draude was doing a tempo run in heavy shoes (in preparation for the Chicago marathon in a few weeks) and even went the wrong way in the last mile (losing about 2 minutes) all in an attempt to make Marsden look better. It didn't affect his position, though, as Draude finished second overall and first Masters competitor. It's safe to say, though, Jody enjoyed himself immensely in those woods.

I make that 4 runners, 4 winners. Nice.

Penny, Pryce and Marsden are running 100k on September 18 (from Lake Louise to Banff) to help raise awareness and funds for a charity called MitoCanada. Anyone wanting to donate can do so here. Alternatively, come along and "run" the last 25k with us...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

BVH 5k Results

The third BVH 5k (now known as the second-highest-quality-5k-in-Western-Canada) took place last night. And no-one worked as hard as 4 year old Julia Penny. Julia spent all day making a trophy for the winner, then was official race starter and was also on the lead bike (at least, dragging behind the lead bike which her dad, Blaine, was cycling, on a third wheel). Part of the task of the lead cyclist is to ring the bike's bell incessantly to warn people in the park that they are about to get mown down by a group of fast guys. The bell was not necessary last night, however, as Julia's hysterical laughter at being dragged round the course at Deere/Carruthers speed (i.e very fast) had everyone forewarned well in advance. The lead group found it pretty entertaining too. "It was like being in a Mario Kart race" said one.

A hot day (28C at the start) attracted the crowds to see Pynten and Carruthers display their chests. But it was Jeremy Deere who stole the limelight this time around with a controlled display at the front to take the victory in 16.07. That's three different winners in all three races. Last night was made all the more challenging by the pedestrian dodging - Ed Bickley in particular had the misfortune of meeting one weaving cyclist in the home straight.

That said. I'll take the crowds and the heat over the cold any day.

Full results are below:

1. Jeremy Deere - 16.07
2. Andrew Carruthers - 16.14
3. Duncan Marsden - 16.37
4. Kyle Marcotte - 16.44
5. Frank Woolstencroft - 16.52
6. Jody Draude - 16.56
7. Darcy Bell - 17.06
8. Ryan Twa - 17.14
9. Mark Fewster - 17.56
10. Will Pynten - 18.00
11. Ed Bickley - 18.36
12. Stirling Tiessen - 18.38
13. Matt Wanford - 18.59
14. Bruce Dalton - 19.02

Sunday, August 15, 2010

BVH (Penny) Tops Iron Legs Ultra (50 Mile Canadian Championship)

by Blaine Penny

The Course

The course is definitely a local classic. The race is a loop held in Kananaskis starting at Station flats circumnavigating Moose Mountain. The first 50 km has significant climbing (Powderface Ridge, Jumping Pound Mountain and Cox Hill), while the latter 30 km is mostly flat returning on the Tom Snow Trail.

Course conditions were variable and quite wet due to a generally wet summer and heavy rain the previous day. The Tom snow trail was very wet and muddy, and had a lot of cow traffic leaving you sinking past your ankles in places. Absolutely brutal!

My favourite part of the course was running the Jumping Pound Ridge over to Cox Hill. It had been raining for about 1.5 hours leading up to this section and then the weather finally broke with just the most spectacular light glowing on the green alpine and the contrast of dark looming clouds in the distance. It was truly magical with spectacular running and stunning views for a full 360 degrees.

The Race

There were a few solo runners who blasted off the front, so I let them go while I got warmed up to get a sense of how my body was feeling. I was feeling like I had heavy legs and my breathing was definitely more laboured than when I ran the PowderFace 4 weeks earlier. So I just settled into a comfortable pace hoping that as time went on I would get fired up and be able to pick up the pace.

Bruce (another solo runner) and myself ran together till about the 25 km mark and when we started climbing Jumping Pound I began to slowly open a gap. I was starting to find my groove and had some energy flowing back into my body after the first aid station stop where I filled up on boiled potatoes that were laden with salt and butter. I filled my pockets with a handful more knowing they would come in handy a little further on.

After leaving Bruce, I was totally on my own for the rest of the race. I expected to see some relay teams catch up, but no dice. I really started to get into the race after summiting Jumping Pound Mountain and was totally stoked about he run over to Cox Hill knowing that all the hills would be out of the way at that point and then I just had to ride the 30 km gravy train of flats back to the finish. Boy was I wrong!

I took a nasty spill while decending Cox Hill – busted up my hand and knee pretty good and also hit my other leg and shoulder. Fortunately I could still run.

Things were uneventful for the next 20 km other than wading through the mud and chasing cows, including a standoff with a bull.

At the last aid station I pulled in feeling great knowing I only had an easy 10 km to the finish. My race nutrition had been excellent up until that point and my stomach was feeling great. (I have a colourful history of tossing my cookies in long races as well as after. More on this a little further down…). I was looking forward to a sugar kick to bring it home and downed a coke and was ready to fly.

I was directed to cross the road and told to just follow the trail by the aid station volunteer. After running about 1.5 kms, I still hadn’t seen any flagging, so I pulled out my map to double check. It was difficult to tell what was what since there were so many trails and cut lines on the map, so I decided to backtrack to the checkpoint to double check with the volunteers. Not good I thought to myself knowing my lead was disappearing by the minute. The volunteer was surprised there was no flagging so he decided to come along to see if we could decipher the route. After another 2 kms he was as unsure as I was, but said I should just take the most defined trail and that had to be it. So I did and ended up at West Bragg Creek parking lot. Now I knew I was totally off track.

I decided to make my way through the West Bragg Creek trails to HWY 66 and then to the finish where I would inform the race organizers what happened, hoping they would understand.

After literally running circles on the Bragg Creek trails - as many of the signs were missing - I eventually made it to HWY 66 and ran the final mile to the finish. Sarah just so happened to be driving by to come cheer me on at the finish and thought to herself how strange it was that I would be running down the highway.

I sprinted into the finish after covering 16 km (when I only had 10 to actually finish on the proper trail) and was told I was disqualified. I was so disappointed! It would have been one thing to go the wrong way by my own doing, but to be twice directed to go the way I did by volunteers who should have known the course was another thing.

After much debate and discussion between the race director and other volunteers, they learned that the last leg had not actually been flagged yet. I thought to myself - nice. I asked if I could go and add some additional mileage to do whatever it would take to make my run legit. Even through all this, the second place runner still hadn’t finished, which showed I had a pretty healthy lead by the time I went off course (or that he did as well).

Eventually, I was told that if I was up for it, I could go back to the last aid station and run the final 10 km on the proper course where they would restart the clock with the time I originally entered the aid station. I was mentally done at this point after such a demoralizing finish and had already begun to replenish with some soup and coke.

One of the race volunteers loaded up and we headed off for West Bragg. After driving for 5 mins, my stomach began to turn inside out and I asked her to pull over. I opened the door and hurled my guts out and felt completely awful. I lay there for about 20 min trying regain my composure and get a few sips of water with electrolytes back in me. We headed off again and about 15 min later we repeated the routine. I was a complete mess and my stomach had shut down.

Now I had to muster up the energy, which was pretty much non-existent, to run the final 10 km. About 3 hours had lapsed since my body had absorbed any fluids or food and I was truly running on empty. How ironic I thought – a month from now we will be doing a MitoCanada awareness / fundraiser run called “Running on Empty”. Very fitting.

Off I went at a steady slow pace, which was so much effort. 54 mins later I crossed the finish line for a second time and was told I won the race by an hour.

Sarah and the kids had stuck around to cheer me in and for the awards. It was a bittersweet and challenging day, but I pulled it off in the end and it was pretty rewording when it was all said and done.

Ultra People and the Challenge of Organizing Races

Doone and Tim Watson who had been on course volunteering were at the finish when this was all unfolding and helped nurse my health back twice as well as keep me clothed. I can’t thank them enough (not to mention Tim driving my car back for me and filling it with gas).

The ultra community is pretty laid back, and for the most part, runners focus on the experience and the challenge more than on how fast they are moving. Because this was a sanctioned National Championship race, the race director had some tough decisions to make and ultimately decided to give me a second chance. I was grateful, but also felt for the organizers. It’s tough to mark an 80 km course through the backcountry where there are so many junctions and opportunities to make mistakes or just miss a piece of flagging in a critical area. We had also found out at the start that the Trans Rockies bike race had come through the day before and pulled down many of the flags. Tough break to find out on the day of the race. The race organizers and volunteers did the best they could given the circumstances.

This is one race I’ll remember for a long time!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Calgary Herald

Excellent article by Keith B. from the Herald about the Harriers is on the Calgary Herald website. Here's the link if you want to add Keith's blog to your list of running blogs to read at lunch!

Big race this weekend. Mileage-wise at least. A 50 miler in Bragg Creek which Harriers Penny and Pryce are looking to dominate. Results next week.

Don't forget the next 5k is on Wednesday. We're going to have a big turnout so it'll be a good one to do. How about any of the Canmore crew joining the fun...?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Summer update

I have been somewhat remiss on the blog updates recently due to summer catching up on me all too quickly and I've actually been running! The likes of Deere, Myers, McCloy, Dalton, Wanford and Pynten had an epic run yesterday in Kananaskis. Humbled and sore we all lived to fight another day (and in fact there's talk of another one next weekend). None will be so sore as McCloy whose size 13 feet tripped him up 3 times in the first 45 minutes. I guess that's why he never races the trails...

Races I've missed blogging about:
  • Canmore Challenge - Mr and Mrs Hulburt showed their marital class and won the men's 12k event and the women's 8k event at this trail race. I didn't see Jen's race but Sean was a class apart;
  • Powderface 42k - Harriers Villeneuve and Penny came 2nd and 3rd respectively in this race with Phil in particular knocking a good 15 minutes off his previous best. (Phil was gearing up for the Death Race which he had less fun in but we don't do negatives on this blog...);
  • Stampede Road Race - the half marathon was the main event and Harriers Bell (2nd) and Penny (4th) made sure the vest was prominent at the front. Blaine's placing (and time of 82 minutes) was all the more impressive given that he was pushing his 6 year old son, Evan, the whole way to promote his new-formed charity MitoCanada, which provides support for families with Mitochondrial Disease (who Evan unfortunately has).

Apologies to anyone I've missed. The next 5k will be Wednesday August 18 at 7pm at the Y in Eau Claire. Also, keep the diaries free for the Ekiden and Confederation Park relays...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

5k Results

Another high quality 5k was held in Eau Claire tonight. Some great times and a good turn out. Provisional results are as follows:

1. Andrew Carruthers - 15.41 (course record)
2. Sean Hulburt - 16.11
3. Brad Bickley - 16.37 (junior course record)
4. Paul McCloy - 16.42 (masters' course record and leading the McCloy Rankings for 2010)
5. Jody Draude - 16.49
6. Nick Haddow - 16.58
7. Darcy Bell - 17.04
8. Blaine Penny - timing chip error
9. Ed Bickley - timing chip error
10. Mark Fewster - 18.55
11. Matt Wanford - 18.55.

Good work everyone. The next one will be in August (date to be confirmed).

Friday, July 2, 2010

Canmore Challenge

Don't forget the Canmore Challenge on Saturday July 10, 2010. The race director (Brian Torrance) was hoping for a big Harriers turn out and I may be able to get some free entries so if anyone wants to run, let me know at

Training on Sunday - meet at Edworthy at 8.30am...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

K100 Race Report

The Centaur Subaru Bow Valley Harriers finish SECOND overall in the K100 relay, narrowly beating the Running Room by three minutes.

Last Saturday the corporately-sponsored Centaur Subaru Bow Valley Harriers put itself on the Alberta running map by finishing second in the K100 relay, beating a confident Running Room team in the process. The following is how I saw the race.

Blaine, Nick and I met at "uncivilised o' clock" and drove the mobile business card (our sponsored car - see previous blog for photo) to Longview for the start of the K100. Blues skies meant a glorious day ahead.

Leg 1 - Aaron Swanson - 18.6k - 1.08:42 - 4th fastest

The first three legs of the race were run by the team's unsung heroes. By the time Mark Fewster was crossing the finish line over 9 hours later, it would have been easy to forget the efforts put in by the first three runners in particular. But these guys were the engine room. They literally left everything out there and set us up for the victory by putting us well ahead of schedule, with minimum fuss. 4th fastest, 3rd fastest, 4th fastest is a great way to start...

Aaron had his work cut out on the first leg. He was up against some decent runners; in particular a guy who had just run a 66 half marathon. The first three went off fast and Aaron stayed with them for about a mile before adopting the far more sensible approach of running his own pace. It paid off. He came in 4th but, most importantly, only about 30 seconds behind the Running Room. I had wanted him to run 70 minutes and he ran 68. Already we were ahead of budget (as I may have said more than once during the day).

Leg 2 - Nick Haddow - 16.5k - 1.01:45 - 3rd fastest

A very smooth looking Nick Haddow cruised to the third fastest time of his leg. This leg was all about consolidating the good work we'd already done. The Running Room had a speed demon on their leg 2 and so Nick had to watch him slowly get away from him which could easily have destroyed Nick's confidence. But not a bit of it. Nick hung in there and looked smooth throughout. The real work was done in chasing down the leaders and the second placed team. And Nick really closed the gaps. The top 4 were now only a few minutes apart.

Most importantly, we were another 2 minutes ahead of budget. A lead of 4 minutes on where we had hoped to be after only 2 legs.

Leg 3 - Blaine Penny - 14.7k - 58:00 - 4th fastest

Blaine was another unsung hero of the race. Running one of the most scenic legs, he barely looked up at the passing streams and mountains and with grim determination pushed his way through a number of the teams who had started at 6am, to finish 3rd overall on his leg. He told me afterwards that the team mentality of the relay really left him no option but to run well. "Letting yourself down is acceptable. Letting 9 other people down is not." Or words to that effect.

Leg 4 - Jeremy Deere - 14.1k - 49:26 - fastest (possible course record)

One of the stresses of organising this sort of thing is when your runner, who has been waiting to run for about an hour, suddenly decides to disappear the second you get your 5 minute warning. Blaine did it on leg 3 and I had to run about a mile up the road to find him on his warm up. Jeremy decided it would be a good time to start putting his number on. I left him in no doubt how I felt about this when I told him, in no uncertain terms, to "get his sh *t together"!! (Sorry Jeremy!)

Well, I think my words of "encouragement" may have worked because Jeremy certainly did get his sh *t together.

If legs 1-3 were the good start, leg 4 was where the fireworks began. Jeremy started the leg over 3 minutes behind the Running Room. By the end of the leg he was 5 minutes ahead of them. Yes, that's 8 minutes he took out of the Running Room. At the time, I thought I'd just seen our performance of the day. I was wrong - we had greater things to come. nonetheless, Jeremy flying past the Running Room put us in second place for the first time and we never looked back. GREAT running Jeremy (note how his feet are both off the ground in the picture - LITERALLY flying...)
Leg 5 - Sean Hulburt - 17.6k - 1.11:10 - 3rd fastest

Anyone who has run the K100 will know that leg 5 is the tough one. It's long and you run up Highwood Pass, topping out at over 7,000 feet. I'm told it's the highest part of Canada's highest engineered road. So what better runner to put on this leg than a guy I had never met who was only just coming back from injury?! The gamble, I am happy to say, paid off.

Anyone who has seen Sean run (and, in my defence, I hadn't) will know that he has an effortless style. Seeing him run I mistook this for laziness and so my words of encouragement were more along the lines of "don't leave anything out here, Sean" and "time to pick it up, Sean". I had nothing to worry about. Running the 3rd fastest time of the day, in the heat of the day, up the biggest hill and on the leg everyone puts their best runners, Sean finished a fantastic third. Sorry to have doubted you, Sean! At this stage, the Running Room were 4 minutes back...

Leg 6 - Jason Wilcox - 9.4k - 36:38 - 6th fastest

What goes up must come down. And Jason was our man for the downhill. Looking like a character from Miami Vice in his shades, Jason took it to the Running Room both in terms of speed and in style.

When I passed him in the support vehicle, he was flying! All legs and arms. Zero elegance, all guts. Jason was worried he might let the team down. He didn't. He sprinted his way to 6th fastest overall and was only 10 seconds slower than a much more accomplished Running Room guy. It was at this point that the Running Room started to worry.

Leg 7 - Darcy Bell - 16.5k - 59:00

Remember I mentioned stress? Darcy put me through the wringer before the start of his leg. With 10 minutes to go, he still wasn't there. I stripped into my running gear and was about to put my name down for the leg. Brian Torrance asked me "I thought you weren't running?" "I wasn't" I said "but my runner isn't here". "He is now" chimed in Darcy with film star timing. My relief was evident.

Darcy had a lonely leg with one mission. Stay in front of the Running Room. Not only did he do this, he put some time on them and came in SIX MINUTES under budget (yes, I was still banging on about the budget!) and opened up the lead to 5 minutes 30 seconds. Excellent work.
Leg 8 - Paul McCloy - 15.9k - 59.23 - 5th fastest

Had the leaders shot their bolt? Was Paul in trouble? Hamstring hurting, he looked like a man being chased as the Running Room brought out the big guns and whittled our lead down to 2 minutes 30 seconds by half way through the leg. Paul, however, had saved something special for the second half of the leg and brought the lead back up to 3 minutes by the end of the leg. Interestingly, we finished this leg so far ahead of schedule that they held us back for 60 seconds so that the marshalls would be ready. Paul pulled back 6 minutes on the leaders in this leg alone.

Leg 9 - Matt McCrank - 12.5k - 51:21 - 2nd fastest

Matt went off with the runner for the leading team and we all waited at the end with bated breath. The leading team's runner came in, clearly flying, and we all waited. And waited. 5 minutes went by before Matt came in and we were all concerned about our lead. We needn't have been. Matt stormed the leg and put FOUR MINUTES back into our lead over the Running Room, his efforts only overshadowed by the guy he was running with who ran a stormer. Matt had second fastest time of the day and quite possibly gave us the lead we needed.

Leg 10 - Mark Fewster - about 12k - 43:36 - 4th fastest

We knew it was going to be close. The Running Room had Andrew Carruthers on their last leg. A running machine. We received some good news in that leg 10 was reduced to 12k due to flooding. Mark Fewster, expert on the trails, set off hard and never looked back. At the turnaround point he was minutes up and cruised in to finish 3 minutes clear of the Running Room. He just needs to work on his celebrations which involved sitting in a chair.

Mark was so fast I didn't even get a picture of him.

Good work everyone. I never knew a 9 hour and 19 minute race could be so exciting! Well done to the Running Room who took it all in good spirits and were great competitors.

See you all next year!

K100 Provisional Report

I wanted to do a race report of yesterday's race but there was simply too much to say in the time available and so we will have to settle for a provisional report with more detail soon.

Yesterday was the K100 relay race. A 100 mile relay race through the mountains with 10 runners. We started at 8am in Longview and finished at 5.20pm in Nakiska. These races are normally over by leg 4 but the Centaur Subaru Bow Valley Harriers had a royal battle with the Running Room for second place throughout the entire day. We were never much more than 5 minutes apart for any period of the 100 miles and in the end we held them off (for second place overall) by a nail-biting three minutes. I never knew a 10 hour event could be so exciting!

I'll give a write-up for every leg later but I just wanted to say a massive WELL DONE to everyone. Every single runner ran better than anticipated and it was only the fact everyone left everything out there on the course which got us the second place overall. Before the race one of our runners told me he thought he was in a group of guys he wasn't good enough to run with. He then went on to finish 6th fastest on his leg, a few seconds off 3rd fastest. That's what I'm talking about.

Special kudos go to Aaron, Nick, Blaine and Jeremy who were fantastic supporters throughout the day and in particualr Jeremy who drove his own car throughout the event. Yours truly had the sponsored vehicle (see right).

Friday, June 11, 2010


Unlike managers in the World Cup, this Manager is willing to announce his team early. The Centaur Subaru Bow Valley Harriers team (we sold out to corporate sponsorship!) for the K100 is as follows:

1. Aaron Swanson - start running at 8am
2. Nick Haddow - expected to start at about 9.10am
3. Blaine Penny - expected to start at about 10.15am
4. Jeremy Deere - expected to start at about 11.15am
5. Sean Hulburt - expected to start at about 12.05pm
6. Jason Wilcox - expected to start at about 1.15pm
7. Darcy Bell - expected to start at about 1.53pm
8. Paul McCloy - expected to start at about 2.58pm
9. Matt McCrank - expected to start at about 3.58pm
10. Mark Fewster - expected to start at about 4.48pm.

Anticipated start times are indicated in case anyone wants to come and support. We are aiming for sub 10 hours which would be quite a feat for a 100 mile race...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mountain Running

The NACAC and Canadian Mountain Running Championships are only one month away! Both races will be run together and are being held at Nakiska, Alberta (near Canmore) on the evening of Friday, July 9th. You can register for the Canadian Mountain Running Championships at: or at :
The Canadian Championships are a selection race for the national team, which will compete at the World Mountain Running Championships in Kamnic, Slovenia on September 5th, 2010. (For more information about Worlds, see : The selection criteria for the Worlds team can be found at :
The 2010 NACAC Championships will feature top mountain runners from Canada, USA and Mexico. A preliminary description of the route can be found here:
The Canadian Mountain Running Championships also features recreational races of 4km, 8km and 12km, which will be held at the Canmore Nordic Centre on Saturday, July 10th. You can register for the Canmore Challenge races at:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ottawa Marathon

Harrier Blain Penny had the following to say about his personal best run in the Ottawa marathon last week:

"Ottawa Race weekend saw just under 40,000 runners compete in all 7 events and was the first time in history all events sold out.

Sarah and I ran the 2 km family run with our kids Julia and Evan (in his wheelchair) to kick off our first event on Saturday afternoon. Julia - 4 years old - ran her little heart out chasing her other friends and finished with some healthy flushed cheeks. We had just enough time to catch a meal before Sarah took to the start of the 10 km race in the evening. I often don't get the opportunity to watch races from the sidelines, but it was really something to see the leaders fly by and eventually clocking a 28 min winning time. Sarah may not have set a record time out there, but definitely had one of the biggest smiles as she ran by us.

After a decent night of sleep and a 4:30 am wake-up for the 7am start, I was feeling excited about racing my 3rd marathon. The weather turned out to be perfect. 15 degrees at the start and just a light wind and overcast. I was feeling fairly fit going to the line, but lacking distance runs for the marathon prep and not quite sure how it was going to go. I had a goal time of 2:45, which to be honest, was a stretch and my lifetime marathon goal.

Not feeling overly confident that I could pull off my goal time, my approach was to be religious in pacing and mentally told myself that I just had to get to 32 km, then dig into 'the suitcase of courage" and not crater. Everything went to plan till I hit 32 km and I was probably a minute or two ahead of my goal pace, when I took a gel that caused serious stomach cramping. I was pretty bummed that it brought me to a halt and I just limped along in a slow jog trying to relax as much as possible to get rid of the cramp. About 2 km later I managed to shake it, but knew I couldn't take on anymore food or fluids or it would be all over for me. I finally got my speed back up to a good cruise of about 3:55 - 4:00/km and with the cheering of my good friends Rich and Olaf, managed to bring it home on fumes in 2:45 and change. That was good enough for 38th overall in a field of 4,000 with over 20 elite runners. Obviously I was not in contention for any podium appearances and all the glory went to Arata Fujiwara of Japan who won his first marathon and set a new course record in 2:09:33."

Great running Blaine...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Blackfoot 100k

There were plenty of races with BVH representation this weekend - Crazy Soles, Calgary marathon, Ottawa marathon and Blackfoot Ultra are the ones I'm aware of. We have below our first write-up from those races which is from Carl Pryce who finished an amazing third place in the Blackfoot Ultra in some seriously extreme conditions. Carl finished second last year. Last year's champion Blaine Penny was running the Ottawa marathon this year - but more of that later...

"The conditions were horrible this year. The rain started 30 mins after the start and continued all day, turning to sleet on lap 3 then snow by the finish. The course got progressively worse especially on the horse track and the dirt road. By lap 3 all the inclines (of which there are many!) on these sections became so slippery with limey mud it was virtually impossible to run on them. Lots of people dropping out with near-hypothermia and after falls trying to stay upright in the mud. (18 DNFs out of 42 starters in the 100k). Had to change clothes after each lap and warm up in the start/finish hut.

I finished 3rd in 10:15, about 1 hour slower than last year. All in all I was happy with the run as I was feeling a bit sick on Friday. The winner (9:37) was a young guy from Illinois attending grad school at U of A - the proverbial lungs on a stick. Second was a female - Petra Graen from FastTrax - finished 7 mins in front of me. The 3 of us ran together for the first 15k then they pulled away as the marshalls struggled for a few minutes to get the water barrel working at an aid station (note to self: bring drop bags next time!). In a bizarre way I quite enjoyed the day, but was very glad to reach the finish line.

Much fewer people on the course this year. By the start of the 50k and 25k races conditions were so bad most people didn't start. At the finish the race organiser Gary Poliquin tried pretty hard to pursuade people to eat his stock of 270 dilly bars but there were few takers - people preferred to huddle around the wood stove instead.

We returned to the campsite to find our tent had collapsed under the weight of snow so got a cabin for saturday night!"

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tales of trails and roads

Saturday was a gloriously sunny day which saw the first of the 5 Peaks trail races. This is an annual trail race series over the summer and comprises, you guessed it, 5 races. The season opener is always at COP and lends itself to some serious hills.

This year saw some serious competition too. One thing that strikes me about the running scene in Calgary is that you have your trail runners and you have your road runners. And never the twain shall meet. Road runners seem incapable of fathoming a race based on position alone with about as much incomprehension as trail runners show for split-junkies. However, this year maybe saw a shift in that trend with shift-junkie Jeremy Deere turning his hand to a trail race or two, in preparation for the Transrockies Run in a year or so.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given his pedigree, Jeremy won the race in a time of 39.02. Afterwards, he was keen to admit that it hurt more than he thought it would. Mark Fewster (7th) and Phil Villeneuve (11th) finished a very impressive BVH trio. Cameron Fewster was all smiles in the kids race and his brother Neven told me he ran very well.

Now to the roads. We all know Don King can run a good half. He's world (masters) champion after all. But to win the Penticton Half by 17 minutes is impressive. When you then take into account the fact that he cycled 250k the day before (and 125k the day before that), it becomes all the more incredible. Don's 76 minute showing is truly one race where the numbers only tell half the story. Harrier Ryan Rawlyk finished a creditable 6th having put himself through the same punishment on the previous days. Good work lads!

Next week we have Blaine Penny in the Ottawa marathon and Carl Pryce in the Blackfoot 100k to look forward to... Race reports are required from both of you please!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thanks to Scott for pointing this article out. This is the Club 10k stroller record...

Chariots of fire: The Mother's Day edition By Keith B. Wed, May 12 2010

Timothy Mann doesn’t appear on the official list of 10-kilometre finishers for last Sunday’s Mother’s Day Run.

It’s not noted anywhere in the race results that the little guy flew around the downtown Calgary course in just over thirty-three minutes.

And there’s no mention of him in the Herald’s list of age group winners, which names Kyle Beatty (41:09) as the leading male finisher under the age of 15.

But before anyone starts feeling too sorry for the young speedster, it’s confession time.

You see, he didn’t do the entire 10k course. And according to witnesses, he slept through the entire race.

"The rule with my wife (and I) is that we have to take at least one of the kids when we go out, so when I go for a run, it’s usually pushing a chariot," explained Canmore resident and Calgary firefighter Lanny Mann, dad to three-and-a-half-month-old Timmy.

"I kind of got the idea to push it at the race from Jeremy Deere, who pushed his daughter last year. My wife had the stroller all ready to go about 50 metres from the start line. I just started up on the right and ran over. I actually ended up running 9.95-kilometres with the (stroller).
"It’s like a car seat — it just puts (Timothy) to sleep. I’m pretty sure he slept for the whole race."
Lanny, an elite local runner who has had several top-five finishes in the Mother’s Day race over the years, still managed to finished seventh overall on Sunday (with a time of 33:35) while pushing his son.

The proud papa, a former U of C Dinos track and field ace who has twice represented Canada at the world mountain running championships, figures pushing the stroller/chariot didn’t slow him down as much as you might think.

"About a minute," he said. "Those chariots roll along nicely.

"I was part of a second group of runners (behind eventual winner Geoff Kerr). We were kind of running together until at 5k you hit that hill. They opened up 15 or 20 seconds on me there and I was back to about 10th. Between seven and nine kilometres I caught up to them, one by one."
Much of the pre-race talk focused on whether Deere, the 11-time winner of the Mother’s Day race, would ditch his stroller and try to compete on an equal footing with the other elites.
In the end, the sentimental favourite decided to run without the chariot, and ended up fifth in 32:41. The buzz after the race ended up being Lanny’s incredible time, which beat the 35:16 um ... record Deere set in the 2009 race, when he pushed his three-year-old daughter, Megan.
"It’s fun and it’s something different," said Lanny, who didn’t feel like he was in good enough shape to contend for the top three and thought pushing a stroller would present a unique challenge.

"When he’s older, we can tell him all about the day."

Lanny said as well as presenting the obvious physical challenges, pushing his son through a race threw some mental hurdles his way.

"Typically, when you are racing all you are thinking about is yourself and your energy," he said. "When you are pushing a chariot, there are other things you think about — concerns about how he’s doing and not wanting to make the ride (too bumpy). You are cognizant of where the wheels are. And when there are five or six of you running in a tight group, it’s more of a concern."
Deere suggested after the race that he might like to go head-to-head with Mann next year in a new "stroller division." The 32-year-old Calgary firefighter says he’ll be ready for the 2009 chariot champ — and any trash-talk that comes his way from the other runners.
"I didn’t get any comments during the race," said Lanny. "Most of the (elite) guys knew that I would be pushing the chair.

"Before the race, I got comments along the lines of, ‘you’d better not beat me pushing the stroller.’ Afterwards, they said, ‘thanks for embarrassing me.’

"But it was all in good fun."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mother's Day 10k

Sunday's Mother's Day 10k saw some good early-season running by the Harriers. First Harrier to finish was Jeremy Deere in 5th place - not a place he is used to, but a great run nonetheless. Arguably the best performance of the day, however, came from Harrier Lanny Mann who finished an amazing 7th place overall in 33:35 PUSHING A CHARIOT!! I still don't know if he was pushing his newborn or his older child but either way this is a fantastic run - the gauntlet has been well and truly laid down.

Other Harrier placings were Marcotte (11th in 34:46) and Bell in 15th (35:25).

The 5k was also a speedy affair, being won in 15:03. Harriers Ukrainetz (9th in 17:22) and Rawlyk (16th in 18:12) both put in good showings.

Those wanting some real speed can try the mile race at Glenmore track on May 22 (there's a masters race!)

Monday, May 10, 2010

In case anyone is planning a trip to California...


Trail running friends,

Many of you have heard already that Leor Pantilat and I are hosting a trail running race this October 30th at the Boggs Mountain State Forest. For those who haven't, or don't know about Boggs, this place is a gold mine of singletrack trails in ponderosa pine forest just north of the Napa Valley.

Boggs Mountain has been home to many mountain bike races, but is not very well known to trail runners. Leor and I decided it would be a fantastic place to have a foot race, and have grand plans for our first (and hopefully annual) event.
Our web site is here:

Some of the highlights include:
-Accurately measured, and well marked 25k and 50k courses with minimal traffic congestion and separate fire road starts for each field
-Free camping
-Catered, full meal post-race; dinners offered for sale the night before the race
-Local microbrewery sponsor
-Lots of goodies and prizes

Event sponsors we are talking to include:
-Running Warehouse
-Bear Republic Brewing Company

You can help us out by doing one or more of the following:

1) REGISTER now for the event here (mail-in reg. also available):
We would like to build momentum early on.

2) Please tell your friends about the race. Pass this note on or direct them to our web site.

3) Contact me or Leor directly if you (and/or a friend) can volunteer. We will need help with aid stations, course marshaling, course setup and breakdown, timing, etc. Volunteers will be fed and will get free technical shirts.


Gary Gellin

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Police Half

The Bow Valley Harriers were out in force on Sunday April 25 in the Police Half marathon. The course started at Mount Royal College and went round Glenmore reservoir before finishing back at the college, and it seems that most of Calgary was there.

None more so than Harrier Jody Draude who won what looked like a tight race by a margin of 15 seconds. That's a sprint finish over 13 miles. Beaten by a wheelchair competitor by 4 seconds, Harrier Draude was next to cross the line in 1:17.09 with Frank Woolstencroft and Geoff Hopfner in 2nd and 3rd places, only 15 seconds back and with exactly the same time! Just behind them was Harrier Fewster in 4th, also closely followed by Harriers Daum (6th), Manktelow (8th), Haddow (9th) and Penny (23rd). I'd say we won the team prize...

Results attached:

Talking of teams, K100 anyone? I'll do the organizing, I just need the runners...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

5k Date Change

Due to the volcanic ash over Europe, my travel plans have been put into disarray. As a result, the next BVH 5k will not take place on Wednesday April 28 as planned but will now take place on Wednesday May 5.

I was going to do some write-ups of races but I couldn't possibly top Phil Villeneuve's write-up of his recently 50k trail run experience. Have a look at Phil's Good, Bad and Ugly account at this address.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Spring Lull

The Spring lull is over and we finally have some races to report on. Reports on the Glencoe Icebreaker and the 50k trail race Phil Villeneuve was doing in B.C. will follow shortly.

In the meantime, anyone who lives in Canmore should check out the latest edition of the Rocky Mountain Outlook. Virtually the entire front page is a picture of Harrier Scott Manktelow putting in some serious effort on a bike (ignore the references to arson and dead cougars which are next to his picture, Scott had nothing to do with those). He came second in the Canmore Winter Meltdown triathlon (10k xc ski, 10k bike, 5k run) last weekend. Looks like it was a good event - well done, Scott!

Full results are here :

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

5k Champs Results

On a FREEZING night tonight about 20 hardy souls took part in the inaugural Bow Valley Harriers 5k champs. A 3 lap course round Prince's Island Park. Times will be much faster when the weather is 20 degrees warmer and the wind howls slightly less.

A pack of 5 soon got away and the names Mann, Deere, Carruthers, Cummings and Jensen should say everything about the quality at the front. Blaine Penny also put in a valiant effort to stay with these guys for at least a full lap. It was cat and mouse (at speed) for much of the race with Travis Cummings looking strong at the front for most of it and Andrew Carruthers looking like he was not suffering from his injury lay off.

The first to crack was Scott Jensen, with about a mile to go. About 1k from home Lanny Mann put in a serious effort and broke the group for the first time and got a gap. Turning into the finishing straight, Mann was still in the lead with Jeremy Deere closing the gap at incredible speed. At the finish, 2 seconds covered the first 4 places with Lanny taking the victory in 16.03, Jeremy in 2nd (same time, and spectators claim that Jeremy conceded victory to Lanny), Andrew Carruthers in 3rd (1 second behind) and Travis Cummings in 4th (1 further second behind).

Special thanks go to Jodie Draude for his marshalling and extra special thanks to Bryan Davies who was official starter and finish official on a FREEZING night.

Pictures are attached. Unofficial results are below:

1. Lanny Mann 16:03 (Champion. Course record)
2. Jeremy Deere 16.03 (Joint course record)
3. Andrew Carruthers 16.04
4. Travis Cummings 16.05
5. Scott Jensen 16.21
6. Mark Fewster 17.02
7. Frank Woolstencroft 17.07
8. Phil Daum 17.23
9. Ryan Twa 17.31
10. Blaine Penny 17.34
11. Bob Banks 17.42
12. Darcy Bell 17.47
13. Mark Knoll 17.54
14. Kevin Lindland 18.06
15. Ed Bickley 18.40
16. Ryan Schellenberg 19.05
17. Matt Wanford 19.08
18. Dave Carlson 19.45

I'm bound to have got something wrong so please let me know of any inaccuracies. With 18 people under 20 minutes on such a cold night, this has to have been one of the highest quality 5ks Calgary has seen in a while.

The plan is to hold the same race on the last Wednesday of every month (next one in April). Watch this space...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Unofficial Official BVH 5k Champs

What? Unofficial official BVH 5k Champs
When? Wednesday March 24, 2010 at 7pm.
Where? Eau Claire. Start outside the Y. Run towards the river and turn left. 3 lap course round Prince's Island park (on roads only), finish under the Olympic monument outside the Y.
How Far? 5k.
How Much? Free.
Why? Low key, fast, fun. I will be the starter, lead bike and I will call the times as you cross the finish line. Remember your time as you cross and come and see me after so we can sort out times and places. VERY spectator friendly. There will also hopefully be chalk arrows on the ground. The paths are NOT closed so pleased watch out for walkers and other users of the park.
How Do I enter? Email

Just email me, turn up on the day, sign a waiver and away you go. Depending on interest there is also the possibility of a 4k head-to-head race against the 5k-ers. We already have a good number of 5k-ers so expect a good race.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

King of the World!

(Sorry, Don, I couldn't help myself with the title).
We have a WORLD CHAMPION!! As some of you may know, the World Masters Champs was held in Kamloops this past week and our very own Don King was in the half marathon road race. Anyone over 35 (nearly all of us) qualifies as a Master and, putting it kindly, Don is one category above that. However, he showed all the younger competitors a clean pair of heels and won the whole race outright! Making him World Masters Champion for the half marathon!
Don's time (73 minutes) was very close to his PR and caps off a great season for him which started with the Sacramento marathon. Rumours that he had to take a drugs AND age test after the race have yet to be confirmed although we understand that officials took some convincing that he was anywhere over 30.
Wednesday night is the last night at the Oval before it shuts for the season so let's have a good turn out. We will be having outdoor Wednesday night sessions after that. And keep the evening of Wednesday March 24 free for our Club 5k champs. More details to come soon...

Monday, March 8, 2010

CRR XC Series Wrap – Fish Creek March 6, 2010

The final XC race of the winter season was welcomed with a beautiful bluebird spring day that saw double digits. There were young Harriers, veteran Harriers and rookie (or is it fair-weather?!) Harriers all on show.

3 Year old Julia Penny kicked off the day in the kids 1 km race. She was really pumped about running until someone said ‘go’. Julia being new to the racing scene (as an athlete) must have been feeling some pressure, or maybe it was the mud, and was in tears by the time she made a few strides. Sarah (her mom) found some words of motivation and she was in good spirits by the time she crossed the finish line.

The 8 km race saw one of the tightest finishes of the season for the top 3 spots. Andrew Carruthers (regular champion at these events) took the lead within the first kilometer, but didn’t get away too easily. Blaine Penny (rookie…well, first run with the BVH vest) chased him on the first decent climb and from there was hanging on for dear life. Andrew slowly extended his lead throughout the race but was pretty much always in Blaine’s sights. The Bridesmaid (Mark) Fewster was picking it up towards the end and in the last kilometer was on Blaine’s heels. Coming into the last climb Blaine was still hanging on to 2nd but starting to fade. Not knowing the course, Blaine dug deep and sprinted the last hill (thinking the finish must be close) with Mark right his tail and Andrew only a few seconds ahead. From the crest of the climb there was only about 200 m to the finish. Andrew held the reins up front, followed by Blaine 7 seconds later and Mark 9 seconds behind Blaine.

Also finishing in the top 10 were Phil Ukrainetz and Scott Manktelow who finished in 5th and 6th places respectively, with exactly the same time. Reports that they crossed the line holding hands are, as yet, unconfirmed... Ryan Rawlyk finished just outside the top 10, in 11th place. With 5 runners in the top 11, I'd say we pretty much dominated!

The pictures show Blaine leading Mark and Ryan powering through a tough section.

At the end, Blaine, who possibly had the best run of his life, had the following to say:
"Wearing the BVH vest for the first time, I felt I had a duty to make it proud. It was one of the best races I have had in a long time."

"Not having (or even owning a pair of spikes), I was feeling like a fish out of water when we hit the first decent climb. I just about body checked a fellow (not sure of the guys name) as I was out of control on some of the icy sections and was carrying some serious speed. Some fancy footwork kept me vertical and positioned right behind Andrew at the bottom."

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Weaselhead XC Results

Perhaps inspired by being called a bridesmaid in the last race report, Harrier Mark Fewster stormed to his first victory in this season's Calgary Road Runner cross country races last Saturday.

The race was held at the Weaselhead and follows alongside the Glenmore reservoir. The start is usually a tough, snowy affair which is a slog and difficult to get any momentum on and this year was no different. After about a mile of effort, though, the course heads into the woods. Narrow, windy, snowy paths make for an exciting and slippery run at the speeds Mark was travelling. And the race went to the wire with Mark beating Chad Reid by 9 seconds and fellow Harrier Phil Ukrainetz in third.

The next race is at Fish Creek next Saturday and is a good one.