Knee Knacker Champion Profile – Peter Findlay!
Up next in our panel profile is none other than endlessly inspirational Peter Findlay… the photos from 1991 are of Peter crossing the suspension bridge (in the classic course) and the finish line en route to setting the course record that stood until 2003!
Peter has always had a love for running trails, taking every opportunity to leave the pavement for the mountains! It was during his teenage years and long before trail running became a recognized “sport”, that he was first exposed to summer mountaineering and ski mountaineering, giving him the skills and experience to be comfortable and confident in moving through rugged, mountainous terrain.
It was in the 1980’s when he was running road races from 10km to marathon distances…best marathon time of 2:37 at Vancouver in 1982… that he would find the pure joy in venturing off-road and into the mountains where less impact and greater variety would allow him to run much farther and into more remote places, completing a route in a long day that would typically be a 2-3 day backpack in our Mountain National Parks…think… Jasper’s Skyline Trail!
In 1986, Peter jumped into the Western States 100-Miler, his initial experience as a Pace Runner “working” the final 40 miles for his three Professors of Exercise Physiology from University of Calgary who incredibly arrived together at Foresthill, CA. It was at that event, that he knew he must come back, and indeed, ran to 41st position in 21:36:50 in 1988. A return in 1991 to the WS 100-Miler, resulted in 3rd overall (17:02), and the Race Director made a huge deal and recognized him as the first Canadian to ever place in the top 10, and the first non-Californian to place in the top 3. That same year, Peter ran to a course record in the Knee Knacker…one that would hold for 12 years from 1991 to 2003 (4:45:11).
Other racing accomplishments include: 7-time winner of the Knee Knacker, and with 18 Knee Knackers under his belt….2016 will be #19!
With experience in well over 75 ultra trail races, Peter prides himself on knowing that he was part of the early, formative years of ultra trail running and he has encouraged many runners to move over to the dirt side of things.
Peter balances his trail running and cross trains with other endurance sports and excels at Cross-Country Mountain Bike racing where he was the 4-time Canadian and Provincial Masters XC Champion, and 4th in the World Masters’ in 2000. He also competes in Cross-Country Skiing Marathons, most recently winning 4 gold medals at the Canadian Masters XC Championships in 2015.