Crossing the Prince Edward Island
In August, Denver’s Jeremy Bradford took a break from his busy—and successful—racing schedule to make the first-known attempt at crossing Canada’s Prince Edward Island in one shot
When Jeremy Bradford’s relatives scheduled a family reunion for mid-August this year, it meant he would have to miss running the Leadville Trail 100 for what would have been the third straight year.
But to Denver native Bradford, who has finished 10 ultramarathons in 2012 – winning six of them, including five 100-milers – this was no excuse to slack off.
“I can imagine what you are probably thinking and it's true,” he says. “I'm that type of obsessed runner who turns every family vacation into some sort of running event.”
Some research revealed that the town of Cap-Pele, in New Brunswick, Canada – where Bradford’s French-Canadian family would be staying – was only a short drive away from a bridge connecting to the Prince Edward Island (PEI), a 2,100-square-foot province that sits across the Northumberland Strait to the north and east of New Brunswick.
“I found that there is a trail on PEI called the Confederation Trail, that runs the entire length of the island from tip to tip,” says Bradford. “I quickly became fascinated with the idea of traversing the entire trail and started scouring the internet for any information about fastest-known-times.”
But he could not unearth any evidence of previous attempts to traverse the entire 279-kilometer (approximately 173-mile) tip-to-tip trail that runs from Tignish to Elmira. He sent an e-mail to the PEI RoadRunners, who put him in touch with local runner and Confederation Trail guru Michael Gaudet. “He informed me that to the best of his knowledge no one has ever attempted to run the entire length of the trail in a single shot before,” Bradford says.
It also turned out Gaudet was planning his own September attempt at running the entire trail without stopping.
“When Jeremy contacted me he said he would hold off doing the run if I was hoping to be the first,” Gaudet says. “I told him my motivation was not to be first but to hopefully finish.”
“He [even offered] me his support and that of his friends and other runners on the island,” Bradford added.
It was not the only support Bradford would receive.
“Luckily, my wife seems to enjoy supporting me, and my kids are young enough to think playing in the woods for hours while waiting for their daddy is fun,” he says. “But really, I feel incredibly fortunate to have such a supportive family.”