Squamish adventure racer Jen Segger is doing something a little different to wrap up her summer, forgoing the usual organized races in favour of a unique quest to bike and run the length of Vancouver Island. Her quest will start at the lighthouse at Cape Scott, and will wrap up in Victoria four days later.
Segger is originally from Vancouver Island, and will be the first person to attempt a top to bottom, solo 750 km crossing of the island. Her journey will take her through landmarks like the Cape Scott Trail, Strathcona Provincial Park, the West Coast Trail, and the Juan de Fuca Trail, meeting up with a support crew at certain stages. Various ultra runners are also joining her for different running stages, including a roughly 100 km crossing of Strathcona Park and the extremely technical West Coast Trail.
Almost all of her journey will be off-road, with the exception of a few short sections crossing main roads and through Port Alberni. Approximately a third of the distance will be running and two thirds biking.
Segger is attempting the route as an ambassador for impossible2possible (i2p), a non-profit organization that seeks to inspire youth to protect the environment through adventuring.
"It's an idea that's been stirring in my head for about two years when I thought this could be a really cool adventure, but I was waiting for something to dedicate it to," she said. "With impossible2possible I finally had a good reason and a cause."
Segger's done the distance several times before in adventure races, although usually those events will break up the running and biking with treks, paddles and other activities.
However, Segger is coming off a win in the four-day Intermontaine Challenge in Kamloops, and is feeling strong on her bike. She's also an accomplished ultra runner with the 135-mile Badwater under her belt, although she hasn't run as much this year as a result of an Achilles tendon injury.
Her main concern is what happens if that injury flares up, especially with the course getting more technical towards the end.
"It's really rugged, and you have to take into account the fact that the boardwalks might be slippery from rain, and that there will probably be a lot of people out hiking at the end of the summer," she said. "I'll probably be pretty tired by that point as well, but also pretty excited to be getting closer to the finish."
Her goal is to race non-stop, allowing for a few delays here and there where she can eat, tend to injuries and maybe squeeze in a few minutes of sleep. Otherwise she plans to run and ride through the night, travelling as light as possible.
She is also getting assistance from sponsors at Sole, which makes custom footbeds, as well as Pacific Steel and Loving Spoonful Energetics.
As well, her journey is being filmed by 1iOpen Productions for a documentary that Segger will show when talking to school groups for impossible2possible.
The trip gets underway on Aug. 24 and she hopes to arrive in Victoria sometime on Aug. 27. The whole event will be tracked live by Segger's crew at www.impossible2possible.com.