The Knee Knackering North Shore Trail Run takes off-road running to the next level in pain, with competitors running 48 kilometres from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove following the Baden Powell Trail.
The race includes 16,000 gruelling feet of climbs and descents, up mountains and down into coastal rainforest. Its also a very technical trail with rocks, roots, and challenging singletrack, which was made all the more treacherous by the rain.
Nonetheless, competitors managed to post times on par with previous years on Saturday, July 13. The top runner, Colin Dignum of North Vancouver, completed the course in a near-record time of 4:45:43. Peter Findlay of Kamloops set the record time of 4:45:11 in 1991.
Whistler Secondary teacher Kevin Titus, a veteran of marathons and triathlons but a newcomer to the Knee Knacker, finished second overall this year with his time of 5:12:43. He also set a new Masters (40 to 49) record by about 30 seconds.
When asked how he felt after the race, he said "Very knackered the name is very appropriate. Only it wasnt my knees that were knackered, but everything else."
Before entering the Knee Knacker, Titus longest running race was a marathon. Although he races cross-country at the national level and trained specifically for this event, he says it will be a long time before he attempts another race of this length or difficulty.
"You basically start off with a climb of 3,800 feet, then you go down 3,000 feet. At the end of that, which is about the halfway point, my legs didnt even want to go uphill anymore," said Titus.
He considered quitting a few times during the race, but kept on running.
"With about an hour and a half to go, I said I can do this, and I started to feel a little better. I actually had to sprint to the finish to get the masters record. I was surprised I had anything left, but I made it with about 30 seconds to spare," said Titus.
Whistlers Paul Nicholas also took part, finishing 12 th overall in the mens Under 40 category with a time of 5:50:02. He obviously had something left at the end of the race because he competed in the Olympic-distance Squamish Triathlon the next day and posted a time of 2:19:43.
In 41 st place out of 160 racers, and eighth out of 26 women, was Whistlers Stephanie Rochon at 6:50:23.
Dawn Weberg-Titus, also of Whistler, was 42 nd overall, and ninth among women at 6:51:15.
For the Sea to Sky Corridor, Yves St. Hilaire of Squamish was 129 th in 8:48:45. Tom O-Brennan and Paul Cubbon of Garibaldi Highlands were 58 th and 71 st respectively with times of 7:07:19 and 7:25:44.