It's entirely possible that the seventh annual Comfortably Numb Trail Run - under new management after a year on hiatus - will have a few patches of snow on the course, but given its length and the difficulty of the course a little snow could actually be refreshing.
Crews have been on the trail to clean up trees and branches from the winter, getting the course as ready as possible for up to 150 runners.
The race is around 25 kilometres from start to finish. It begins at the Wedgemount Parking Lot and heads up a series of logging roads before linking up with the Comfortably Numb Trail - one of a few trails in Canada designated as an Epic Ride by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). From there, the course winds up and around the flank of Wedge Mountain to Wedge Creek, and across the Al Grey Memorial Bridge over Wedge Creek to Blackcomb. From there, the course climbs, winds and descends through old growth forests and rocky scarps until it finally comes out on a long decent that was known as Foreplay before Comfortably Numb was finished. This is a long, technical mountain bike descent that finishes in Lost Lake Park.
Once in the park, runners will follow doubletrack paths that lead to the finish line at Spruce Grove Park.
The fastest men will be under two hours, with the current men's record of one hour, 49 minutes and 50 seconds set by Aaron Heidt in 2008, while Kristina Rody set the women's record of 2:05:25 in the very first year, 2004, which still stands. Most people finish between 2.5 and 3.5 hours.
Advance registration is online at www.runthenorthshore.com. If you've already registered, package pickup is from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday at Spruce Grove. Package pickup and late registration is available from 8 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. at the race start.
It's a point-to-point event, but there will be a shuttle bus from the finish at Spruce Grove to the start line. The first bus leaves at 8 a.m., the second at 8:15 a.m. If you drive to the start, and parking is very limited, you're responsible for getting your own vehicle after the event.
This year the run is part of the Run the North Shore series, with five-time Comfortably Numb racer Peter Watson of North Shore Athletics moving up to Squamish recently and reviving the event. The race is relatively small compared to other events in the series as it's capped at 150 riders, but he liked the race and didn't want to see it disappear.