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A unique ultra-marathon designed for “truly adventurous and experienced trail runners who are comfortable on rugged and remote terrain” is set to challenge competitors this weekend in Penticton.
The second annual Mighty Quail Trail 100k is a challenging and scenic point-to-point race for adventurous runners who are comfortable on rugged and remote terrain.
According to the event’s website, the primarily singletrack course includes obscure, technical and, occasionally, lonely trails as well as some doubletrack for a reprieve from the relentless, calf-straining climbs and quad-pounding descents.
“Parts of the course are steep, rocky, dusty and unforgiving,” says the website. “Expect sweeping valley views with massive elevation gain and loss on a variety of trail surfaces as you travel through areas of the South Okanagan unknown to most two-legged creatures."
Organizers make it very clear participants without extensive experience in difficult ultra-marathons need not apply.
“This race is not for beginners,” says the website. “Seriously, we cannot stress this enough! The finishing rate for our inaugural year was 60%, which is more than we expected. Consider yourself warned.
“Have you run an ultra before? This should not be your first. Believe us when we say you are probably not ready. This is a challenging 100-kilometre event designed for truly adventurous and experienced trail runners who are comfortable on rugged and remote terrain. It is not a beginner-level ultra.”
While not mandatory, organizers highly recommend all Mighty Quail participants successfully complete a tough 50-plus-kilometre race within the past year.
“You should be a self-sufficient backcountry user with experience running alone and with limited resources,” said the website. “Cell service is intermittent, aid stations are infrequent and water sources are few and far between on the course.
"We don't want to make anyone feel bad; we were virgin ultra runners once too! There are a lot of great newbie-friendly ultras out there, ours is just not one of them."
There will be aid on the course, however, it will be more limited than many races.
Plan to be self-sufficient in terms of hydration and nutrition, and prepared to go 3-5 hours between aid stations, says the website.
All those signed up will be provided a mandatory gear list for all racers and expect you to adhere to it. There will be random checks along the course.
Race organizers are Penticton residents who crave adventure and wanted an excuse to spend more time on the trails.
“We are putting on this race because we love our local back country and wanted an excuse throw an all-day running party,” says the website. “Yes, we take some pleasure in the fact that you might not finish, but we’re mainly just interested in sharing our beautiful trails and drinking a pint with you at the finish whether you ran 100 kilometres or not."
This event is run by a non-profit organization and proceeds from the race support local groups that share the values of those putting on the race.
Participants should expect the unexpected.
“If you’re looking for a detailed description of the course, you’re not going to find it here,” says the website. “Sure, we could outline every rock, turn, hill, downed tree and moose dropping along the way, but then it wouldn’t be much of an adventure now would it
“We realize this approach might be disconcerting for some runners, and if that’s the case, well, then maybe this isn’t the race for you. Better to find that out now then on race day, right?”
The course will be well flagged on the day of the event, but there is little to no signage otherwise so keep that in mind if you have plans to pre-run the course, says the website.
Anyone training on the course should also be aware that sections cross private property and the landowners are wonderful people, but they do not appreciate trespassers so please don’t be one.
“As race organizers, we reserve the right to enforce cut-off times as we see fit, route the course the way we like and make it as difficult as we want,” says the website. “We may share a general course map with you prior to race day, but it will not be finalized until we say it is so please don’t bug us about it before then.”
The route is never flat, always difficult and just when you think you're done climbing, you're not, and when we say it's all downhill, we might be less than truthful, says the website.
“For our inaugural year, we failed to mention that there was a creek crossing - or “major river” crossing as some described it - so this is us, telling you right now, that at some point your feet will get wet and we don’t feel bad about it,” says the website.
If all of these concerns haven’t scared those thinking about participating away, you're likely to be our kind of runner, says the website.
“If you love a challenge and don't mind suffering alone on difficult trails in the middle of nowhere. If that sounds like you, then by all means sign up and we'll see you on September 29.”
The race cutoff time is 18 hours and those who haven't finished the race in that time period will be assisted to the finish area by volunteers.
The race begins at 6 a.m. in Skaha Lake Park.
For more information on the Mighty Quail Trail 100K race, click here.