Although it only existed in an official sense for one September three years ago, local residents and event organizers have grown attached to the idea of the Month of Pain — doing as many local endurance events in the month of September as they can, and enjoying the outdoors as much as possible before the weather changes.
This year Pique Newsmagazine will revive the Month of Pain concept by offering prizes to the top male and female in the Month of Pain. The key to winning is participation — the male and female who enter the most events will win automatically, regardless of their results, unless there is a tie. In the event of a tie, the title will go to the athlete with the lowest combined time. For the Terry Fox Run, where times are not kept, participants will get one hour for running the 10 km course and 1.5 hours for running the 5 km route. For races where there is a choice of distance, including the Loop the Lakes Run and the Cheakamus Challenge, athletes choosing the short course will get a penalty — three hours for people racing in the Cheakamus Lite, and 1.5 hours for people running the 8 km Loop the Lakes course instead of the 15 km route.
There are seven events in the Month of Pain — the West Side Wheel Up on Sept. 6, the Squamish Loop the Lakes trail run on Sept. 7, the Soo Valley Rumble on Sept. 13, the Terry Fox Run on Sept. 14, the Cheakamus Challenge Fall Classic bike race on Sept. 20, the Whistler Spirit Run on Sept. 27 and 28, the Rubble Creek Classic on Sept. 28.
Most of the events are fundraisers for non-profits and various charities, so you can rest assured that your entry fees are going to good causes.
West Side Wheel Up — Sept. 6
This is the 15 th anniversary for this mountain bike race, which was originally held to celebrate the end of summer and ride Whistler’s lesser-known west side trails. These days the event is also a fundraiser for the B.C. Disabled Ski Team.
The course is fun and challenging, starting in Function Junction before following Lower Sproatt, Beaver Lake, Upper and Lower Beaver Pass trails before tackling the full length of A River Runs Through It to Rainbow Park. Matt Ryan was the first rider to break an hour, but the addition of a new section of Lower Sproatt and the extension on A River Runs Through It will make it little longer.
Registration starts at the entrance to Function Junction at 10 a.m., and the race gets underway at noon. The cost is $25, including food, refreshments, and a raffle ticket to a draw that includes a Whistler-Blackcomb seasons pass, stays at local hotels, vouchers for local restaurants, and gear donated by local stores. WORCA will also be on hand to sell registrations.
Loop the Lakes — Sept. 7
This trail run takes place around Alice Lake Provincial Park trails in Squamish, with eight and 15 km courses available.
>This is the fourth year for the event, which raises money for the Squamish Emergency Program, Squamish Off Road Cycing Association, and Squamish Trails Society.
The shorter race takes place mainly on park roads and wider trails, while the long course includes some singletrack mountain bike trails and is more technical. Registration is $25 for the short course or $30 for the long course. More information and registration is available online at www.loopthelakes.com.
It’s also the fourth event in the Sea to Sky Trail Running Series (www.s2srun.com).
Soo Valley Rumble — Sept. 13
Hosted by the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association to fill the gap left by the Samurai of Singletrack, this is the second year for this event. Details are still coming together, but participants can count on a challenging point-to-point mountain bike race that involves roads and trails in the Soo Valley. Registration is at 9 a.m. in the northern entrance to the Soo Valley, and the race gets underway at 10 a.m. The cost is $20, including food and refreshments. The course will be different than last year’s, and a map will be posted online a week before the race. For more information, visit www.worca.com.
Terry Fox Run — Sept. 14
The Whistler edition of the 2008 Terry Fox Run will be similar to last year, with the race starting and finishing at Meadow Park. Registration is by donation, and all proceeds go to the Terry Fox Foundation to fund cancer research and support people with cancer.
There are 5 km and 10 km courses along the paved Valley Trail, and participants can choose to run, walk or ride. Registration is at 9 a.m. and the race starts at 10 a.m.
Only athletes that run will be counted in the Month of Pain. All participants are eligible to win draw prizes, including hotel stays donated by event hosts at the Four Seasons Resort Whistler.
Cheakamus Challenge — Sept. 20
The 24 th annual Cheakamus Challenge Fall Classic is an epic bike ride from the Squamish Airport in Brackendale to Whistler, following backroads through the Cheakamus Canyon and to Whistler following as much singletrack as possible.
The main event is roughly 71 km, although a shorter “Cheakamus Lite” course measuring 40 km is available. Most of the singletrack is in the Whistler area and is included in the Cheakamus Lite race, including Trash, Tunnel Vision and Big Timber. The new section of the Sea to Sky Trail in the Brandywine area may also be added if it’s completed, similar to the section that was added to last year’s Cheakamus Challenge. Registration and more information is online at www.cheakamuschallenge.com. If you register before September the fee is $70, which includes food and draw prizes. The short course is $50. After Sept. 1 the price goes up another $5, and on race day it’s another $10.
Participants get five points for the short course and eighth for the full distance, with extra points for podiums and placing in the top half of your category.
Whistler Spirit Run — Sept. 27-28
This is a new event being organized by the Callaghan Valley Sport and Cultural Society, a non-profit group that is committed to staging sporting and cultural events at Whistler Olympic Park.
There are two parts of the run, a competitive cross-country running event on Saturday with courses from one to eight kilometres depending on age groups and grades in elementary and high school.
Sunday’s event is a fun 10 km trail run open to everyone that can be run as a relay team of four. Events will be on everything from gravel to bark. For more information, visit www.whistlerspiritrun.com.
Times from the Saturday run will be counted towards the Month of Pain. Sunday’s run conflicts with the Rubble Creek Classic trail race and the run will only be counted if it gives a King or Queen a majority of events. For example, if only one female competes in all seven events including the 10 km run then they will win the Queen of Pain title; if two females complete seven events but only one raced Rubble Creek then the Rubble Creek Classic racer will win.
Rubble Creek Classic — Sept. 28
This is one of the most scenic mountain trail runs in Sea to Sky, if not the entire west coast. Competitors start at the entrance to the Cheakamus Lake trail and run up the side of the mountain to the Helm Creek Flats, circle behind Black Tusk on the cinder flats, and then down about 12 km of the Rubble Creek trail to the Garibaldi Lake parking lot. The distance is about 25 km, and includes close to 1,000 metres of sometimes technical climbing at the start, followed by a knee-clobbering 1,300 metres of descending.
Registration for this event is limited to just 80 runners, so early registration is recommended. The cost is $39, plus a $3 entry fee. Online entry closes at midnight on Sept. 18. All participants get a technical running shirt, and proceeds go to Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Visit www.rubblecreekclassic.com for registration and more details.