True North - Page 4
An annual race occurs in July along the BP, and locals toss around Knee Knacker times like marathon PRs. The route is also infamous in the Canadian ultrarunning scene and was labeled "Canada's Knarliest 30-Miler" by co-race founder Enzo Federico. Debuting in 1989, it's considered one of the best races in the country. Says male course-record holder (4 hours 39 minutes), Aaron Heidt, "The Knee Knacker is the most grueling 50K I've ever run—even the descents are full of nasty climbs!"
And recent 100K World Champion and female course-record holder (5 hours 6 minutes), Ellie Greenwood, says, "I have yet to come across a trail race that compares to the Knee Knacker in terms of technical difficulty."
The race has attracted a few top U.S. runners over the years, such as William Emerson, but has never been won by an "out of towner." It is held just two weeks after the Western States 100-miler, yet that doesn't stop the B.C. runners from coming out en mass. It is considered a badge of honor to have pulled off "The Double"—running both Western States and the Knee Knacker back to back—with Peter Findlay owning the lowest combined time. In 1994 he ran a 17-hour-3-minute WS and followed that up with a 4-hour-47-minute Knee Knacker. The race employs a lottery system, with the cutoff for entries happening in February.
Lynn Headwaters is a local hotspot you can customize for any kind of trail experience. A short scenic drive down a slightly exposed road adds to the rugged and wild atmosphere, and will eventually deposit you smack dab in the rainforest. Alpine routes are fully accessible, although most runners choose the riverside, dog friendly, groomed trails. Numerous bridges, including a 50-meter-high suspension bridge, and wildlife encounters make for great photo opps along the way. Black bears and whitetailed deer are common place in the summer months, and bald eagles hunt the waterways in the fall; in fact if you venture onto the lesser-traveled trails you may encounter more wildlife than people.
If you're looking for an easy, non-technical run, try the Lynn Headwaters Connector Trail to Varley Trail for a five-kilometer forested and undulating river run. It's a favorite amongst walkers and those not wanting to stray too far from home.
To truly thrash your legs, than the 30-kilometer Hanes Valley Loop can be completed in less than three hours by speedsters and offers significant climbing and descending capped off by views across the volcanic summits south of the border. You can even attach the Grouse Grind to this one for a really big day out.
Or, while easing into your technical trail initiation, pack a camera and check out Norvan Falls. The trail is a wonderful out-and-back of 12 kilometers with minimal elevation gain, a suspension bridge, a waterfall and its fair share of rocks and roots to test your proprioception skills.