Most runners are in agreement that, measure for measure, the Rubble Creek Classic on Sunday, Sept. 30 is one of the most scenic trail runs in this part of the province. The run across the cinder flats and behind Black Tusk into the Taylor Meadows area is nothing short of spectacular, worth the long climb up the Helm Creek Trail and the long, 10km descent down the Rubble Creek Trail to the parking lot.
Coming at the end of September every year since 1985 — a late date made necessary by the area's popularity with hikers — runners have had every type of running condition to contend with over the years. Last year it was heavy rain turning to snow in the high alpine, a high Helm Creek to wade through, more snow over the pass, and then rain to the bottom. Other years have had nothing but sunshine, with maybe a bit of frost hardening up the trail above the treeline.
The course starts at the Cheakamus Lake parking lot and finishes at the Garibaldi Parking lot just south of the Daisy Lake dam. From start to finish it's 24.5km, with an elevation gain of 1,338 metres — almost all of it in the first 10km, and a net descent of 1,592 metres, mostly in the last 10km. The Cinder Flats area behind Black Tusk is about 5km long, and includes the crossing of Helm Creek — jumping from rock to rock on most days or just running through to save time, and a short climb up to the ridge. The highest altitude is just over 1,750 metres / 5,750 feet.
Phil Villeneuve holds the course record, finishing in 1:56:45 in 2009. Ellie Greenwood set the women's record in the same year, finishing in 2:19:32.
The cost to enter is $39, which includes a shirt if you register in advance. Sign-in starts at 7 a.m. at the Cheakamus Lake parking lot, with a soft start for runners expecting to take four or more hours leaving at 7:15 a.m. The main start is at 8 a.m.
The number of spots is limited, so early registration is recommended at http://en.escaperoute.ca/events/RubbleCreek.aspx. Any leftover spots can be snapped up on Sunday morning after 7 a.m.
Runners should wear good trail shoes and come prepared with enough food and water as there are no aid stations along the way. Check the weather forecast the night before and on the morning of the run, and bring the appropriate clothes.
As well, participants are responsible for their own transportation to the start and from the finish, so if you have any favours to call in, this is the time.