Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Planning My Self Supported Ultra

This is fun! More fun than actually signing up for a race because when you plan your own you get to do all the course planning and timing. The route planning can be a lot of fun.

1) I travel at least once a month for work and the night times are long. So these times are the most probable time to hold a self supported ultra.

2) I can run as fast as 8 minute miles on roads. It goes slower from there depending on the steepness and technical difficulty of the trail. 
3) The amount of available sun increases until June 21st, the summer solstice, then the days get shorter. The highest the sun gets is 9:20 pm for Vancouver.

So taking these factors into account, I can run about 4 hours maybe 5 hours in complete sunlight. Even at dusk there is still a significant amount of sunlight. A 50K takes about 6 hours. A 50 mile takes almost double that.  I'm leaning towards 50K first

My Route:
The start is the backdoor of my hotel which is typically the Holiday Inn Express in Kelowna (elevation 1150’ or 350m). After a quick right and right again down some back streets into Mission Creek, ‘The Greenway’. The Greenway is flat and follows the creek for about 5 miles but I’m turning after about 2 ½ miles at Casorso Road taking a left. At the roundabout stay left and keep left. Casorso Road turns goes up steeply to Bedford Road. The elevation tapers off a bit but Bedford then turns into Stewart Road East. At the end of Stewart Road East is the parking lot for Myra-Bellevue Regional Park. The elevation at the parking lot is 1750’ or 533m.

Believe it or not the trail has recovered from this devastation
Inside the park my route follows the Scorched Sole 25K course from 2010. I say that very specifically because the Scorched Sole course changes almost annually either due in part to snow, fires or some other unforeseen circumstance. (True enough at this posting the Scorched Sole 2011 course has changed again) The 2010 course follows the Lost Lake Trail to the end where it picks up the Kettle Valley Railway trail. The Kettle Valley Railway or KVR was this old defunct railway built after the turn of the 20th century. It’s famous for these gigantic trestle bridges which spanned these beautiful canyons. Even today these trestles are considered quite a feat of engineering. In 2003, the Okanagan Mountain fire (hence the name Scorched Sole) many of these trestles mostly wood burned to the ground. It was only through the efforts of interest groups that these marvels were restored to their original splendor. (wow that sounds like it should be in a brochure).

The bottom line is I’m truly excited about this. It doesn’t impede on family business. Although there is no pomp and circumstance, I’m thinking there won’t be as much of the low that follows a grand event either. I’m already ruminating about a second and third ultra closer to home. The mojo is back!


  1. I love this idea! One shouldn't need others to dream. Only you can make your dreams come true. I look forward to seeing the result of this "event".