The pure essence of running can be summed up in a few words- rhythm, breathing and a sense of connection. And whether that be a connection with oneself, where the kilometres disappear under your feet as you work out the world’s problems in complete solitude, or a connection with a partner who’s there to encourage you to push it that little bit further, running is truly a sport for any personality type.
And if you’re in the hunt for a runner’s heaven, Whistler is it, namely due to the abundant selection of routes to suit any preference- from the flat 40-kilometre paved Valley Trail where you can turn on the power or jog with a companion, to the aptly named Comfortably Numb, a 25-kilometre rugged single-track trail run from Wedgemount Lake to Lost Lake, with an elevation change of more than 1,000 metres.
Does the thought of competitive running get you chomping at the bit? Whistler hosts a plethora of running events each year, with the Terry Fox Run (September14), the Whistler Spirit Run, and the Rubble Creek Classic (both on September 28) on the cards this autumn. The races create the perfect excuse to get to the mountains for the sublime combination of sport followed by a mandatory unwinding session afterwards.
In addition to these races, on October 18 the Whistler 50 Relay and Ultra Marathon challenges eight-person teams to an 80-kilometre relay race or solo stars to an ultimate ultra-marathon. Commencing in the early morning darkness, the ultra-marathoners face a staggering 80.5 kilometre run, where the perks clearly outweigh the discomforts.
Just ask Margreet Dietz, a three-hour marathoner who has been running in the Sea to Sky Corridor for six years.
“I absolutely loved the Whistler 50 experience,” she says, “It is a beautiful four-lap course along the lovely Valley Trail… it is flat to undulating and not technical at all-it is a good course to run your fastest 50-miler, or to try your first ultra without having to worry too much about logistics.”
And what keeps her going? “There is always a good view of the surrounding mountains around the corner.”
This article was published in The Vancouver Sun and The Province on Sept 9, 2014.