In the world of local trail running, the premiere event – The Knee Knacker – will take place this coming Saturday, July 8th, on the North Shore. The 50km race traverses the trails of West and North Vancouver, beginning in Horseshoe Bay and finishing in Deep Cove.
This year two VFAC athletes will take on the challenge – Joel Werner and Ian Klassen. Trail-running enthusiast Scott McMillan will unfortunately be unable to compete due to leg injury.
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.
Joel is feeling pretty confident for race day, having completed a few of the group North Shore trail training runs in last few weeks. He commented that there was still a lot of snow on Black Mountain which will make navigation somewhat challenging. Getting lost and losing precious minutes was one of his worries.
Hoping to crack the top-10, Joel feels that pacing is key in this pure endurance event, “If you start off too hard, you’ll be toast in the later stages.” The men’s division will see last year’s champion, and world-class triathlete, Mark Bates return to defend his title.
Last year’s champion, Suzanne Evans will be vying for the title again this year on the women’s side. Evans posted a blistering pace in the final quarter of the 2005 race, second only to overall winner, Mark Bates. However, rumour has it that first-timer and elite athlete Lisa Polizzi is a force to be reckoned with in this year’s race.
The race starts at 6:00 a.m. Saturday, July 8th 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 4:00 p.m. Following is a schedule of where and when to catch the top runners in action:
First Man First Woman
7:15 a.m. 7:35 a.m. Cypress Bowl Downhill Ski Area
8:15 8:45 Cleveland Dam parking lot
9:20 10:10 Seymour Demonstration Forest parking lot
10:40 11:40 Panorama Park, Deep Cove