Press Release: Ultramarathon Runners Tackle the North Shore Trails
West Vancouver, British Columbia – The second Saturday of July is coming up, and that can only mean one thing for a growing number of enthusiastic long-distance trail runners – time for the Knee Knackering North Shore Trail Run (the “Knee Knacker”). The race traverses the trails of West and North Vancouver, and the twenty-first edition takes place on Saturday, July 11, 2009.
The race started out as a “fun run” with only 8 participants in 1989, when the sport of ultramarathoning (races longer than a 26.2 mile marathon) was in its infancy in Canada. While there are races over distances much longer than the 30 miles covered by the Knee Knacker, not many are tougher in North America. Canada’s largest ultramarathon race takes participants from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove along the 30-mile (48.6 km) Baden-Powell trail. Runners go up, over, and around the major North Shore mountains – Cypress, Grouse, and Seymour – gaining over 8,000 feet (2,400 m) in elevation along the way for a total elevation change of over 16,000 feet (4,800 m). With recent weather conditions, runners can eagerly expect “muddier” than usual conditions on the course.
Over the years, top ultramarathoners from around the world have traveled from afar to challenge themselves in what is referred to as the “knarliest” footrace in Canada. However, the great appeal of the race is that it caters to adventure seekers of all levels and not just the elite competitors. Confirming the growing popularity of ultrarunning, and the reputation of the race, this year saw over 300 entrants apply to the lottery. Race participants were selected by the luck of the draw in March, and 200 racers will toe the line on race day. Almost half of these runners will be taking part in the race for the first time with 68% men & 32% women.
This year’s race will mark the 21st year of the event, and will see a competitive field toe up to the starting line. 2008 champions Peter Findlay & Nicola Gildersleeve will be out to defend their titles against a strong contingent who will be challenging for the men’s and women’s titles. On the men’s side elite athletes Gary Robbins of North Vancouver, Oliver Utting of Burnaby, Chad Ulansky & Aaron Heidt of the Okanagan will challenge for tops spots. In the women’s race, 2008’s winner, Nicola Gildersleeve of North Vancouver will be again vying for top spot against 2008 Canadian Ultra-Runner of the Year Ellie Greenwood of Vancouver, and Mel Bos of Kelowna, BC.
Four additional athletes are expecting to celebrate a significant milestone upon their successful completion of Saturday’s race: Jeff Trigg, Craig Moore, Karl Jensen, and Lori Wong are looking to join the exclusive 10-time finishers club, a feat accomplished by only 28 athletes to date.
The race itself starts at 6:00am Saturday, July 11th just above Horseshoe Bay, Exit #4, off of Westport Road. Runners must arrive at the Panorama Park beach in Deep Cove by the race cut-off time of 4:00pm. Following is an estimated schedule of where and when to catch the runners in action:
|First Runner||5:45 Runner||7:30 Runner||10:00 Runner|
|Cypress Bowl Downhill Ski Area||7:15am||7:35am||8:05am||8:50am|
|Cleveland Dam parking lot||8:15||8:45||9:40||10:55|
|Seymour Demonstration Forest parking lot||9:20||10:10||11:25||1:20pm|
|Panorama Park, Deep Cove||10:40||11:40||1:30pm||4:00pm|
A schedule of race activities is available at http://www.kneeknacker.com. Members of the media are invited and encouraged to attend any or all of the activities. A good opportunity to meet the runners is at registration & race briefing Friday, July 10th, from 5:30- 8:00pm at North Shore Athletics (#101–1200 Lonsdale Ave, N. Vancouver).
The Knee Knacker is a volunteer run, non-profit race that has donated over $45,000 to community organizations. Proceeds from this year’s race will benefit the North Shore Search & Rescue. For further information contact:
Kelsy Trigg, Race Director Tel: 604-787-8097 e-mail: email@example.com