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Revelstoke’s Trail Running Scene Picks up the Pace

Revelstoke will host three races this August and September, a sign of a growing Revelstoke trail running scene that’s taking advantage of the big terrain and amazing trails available here.

For runners thinking of coming to tour or complete, I’ve compiled information on the races, and Revelstoke trail running recommendations from some local run-aholics. I met up with a few resident trail runners to learn about developments in the scene, and to get their advice on the best trail running experiences on offer:

Andrea Lustenberger

Andrea Lustenberger (front) and Kathryn Whiteside on the trails in the Nels Nelsen Recreation Area on Mount Revelstoke. Photo: Aaron Orlando
Andrea Lustenberger (front) and Kathryn Whiteside on the trails in the Nels Nelsen Recreation Area on Mount Revelstoke. Photo: Aaron Orlando

Andrea is a key organizer of the spring and fall Revelstoke trail running group that gathers for destination runs. The Revelstoke Trail Running Club is two years old and meets Saturday mornings at 9:30 a.m. at Helios Rehabilitation & Performance.

It’s free and they usually have two routes based on group abilities. “The focus is about getting outdoors and run-walks are common. There is not fitness or ability level requirements,” Lustenberger said.

With so many miles of trails to cover in the Revelstoke region, running is one way to see more. “I like how by running, you can cover distances that commonly take a day or days to hike,” Lustenberger said. “Trail running can take you so many different areas, especially in Revelstoke, from thick forest, to alpine meadows, to rocky ridge lines and peaks.”

Mel Bernier

Mel Bernier runs on Mount Revelstoke. Photo: Aaron Orlando
Mel Bernier runs on Mount Revelstoke. Photo: Aaron Orlando

In the winter, Mel Bernier is a world-class ski mountaineering racer. Trail running and alpine running started as summer training, but turned into a passion.

“I completely fell in love with the sport, going places and running distances I would never think could be done on foot,” she said.

Bernier said the scene’s been picking up the pace in Revelstoke. “It’s a growing community full of passionate people. There’s also more people coming from out of town to experience our trail network on foot,” she said. “There’s more running clinics, running groups and running camps than ever before.”

Bernier has an impressive list of sponsors for her mountain athletics, including Suunto, Rab, Lowe Alpine, Helios Physiotherapy & Performance, Flora and Scarpa.

Miranda Murphy

Miranda Murphy at the Mount Macpherson trail network, an extensive biking, hiking, Nordic ski and running trail network about 10 minutes south of Revelstoke by car. Photo: Aaron Orlando
Miranda Murphy at the Mount Macpherson trail network, an extensive biking, hiking, Nordic ski and running trail network about 10 minutes south of Revelstoke by car. Photo: Aaron Orlando

We took a trip out to the popular Mount Macpherson trails area, about 10 minutes south of Revelstoke on Highway 23. The always-expanding trail network was designed for Nordic skiing, mountain biking, hiking, walking and, by extension, trail running. Pick-up a mountain biking map at the Revelstoke Visitor Centre for detailed trail information — there’s something for all levels here.

Murphy jumped into trail running with both feet in recent years, travelling out of town for grueling 50-plus kilometre races and adventures like the Juan de Fuca trail on Vancouver Island. She said that in addition to the trail networks, the human network here is what makes the scene great.

Kathryn Whiteside

 

Kathryn Whiteside runs at the Keystone-Standard trail, which is north of Revelstoke on Highway 23. Photo: The Revelstoke Trail Run Club
Kathryn Whiteside runs at the Keystone-Standard trail, which is north of Revelstoke on Highway 23. Photo: The Revelstoke Trail Run Club

Like most of us, Kathryn works a full-time job. She got into trail running last year, in part to mix a bit more adventure into her daily schedule.

She joined up with the Helios run club, and they also started the Happy Hours running club in Revelstoke, dedicated “to getting out and after it after work.”

“It is up and coming,” Whiteside said. “In recent years many people have started to run the hiking trails and biking trails in and around Revelstoke.

“Running has become a great way to experience what’s right in our backyard.”

Revelstoke trail running and alpine race scene jumps up

The new Glacier Grind race starts in Revelstoke, heads up Mount Revelstoke to Jade Lake (pictured) then back. Photo: @the_happy_hours
The new Glacier Grind race starts in Revelstoke, heads up Mount Revelstoke to Jade Lake (pictured) then back. Photo: @the_happy_hours

After years of little formal local trail racing, the scene has ramped up significantly in the past few years. There are a number of big events on tap for summer 2015:

Dirty Feet (Aug, 16, Mount Macpherson)

The North Face Dirty Feet Revelstoke trail running race at the Mount Macpherson trail network includes five-, 10-, and 21-kilometre races, meaning there’s something for everyone. This is a well organized event with T-shirts, snacks and an inclusive environment.

TrailStoke (Aug 28–30, Revelstoke Mountain Resort)

This is a hardcore 55-kilometre Revelstoke Trail Running race up Mount Mackenzie (home of Revelstoke Mountain Resort) out along an alpine ridge, then back again. There is also a three-stage relay race available if you want to break it down to size. This Revelstoke trail running race features high calibre athletes and has drawn runners from around the region for the first offering.

Glacier Grind (Sept. 19, Mount Revelstoke)

This new Revelstoke trail running race is held in conjunction with Revelstoke’s new Axis Mundi Harvest festival (which features big-name artists), and is hosted by Olympic gold medalist Simon Whitfield. This 44-kilometre race starts in Revelstoke and tackles Mount Revelstoke, all the way up to Jade Pass, down to Jade Lake and back again. That’s a 2,682-metre elevation gain. If you’re a runner, this weekend will make a good cultural and sporting weekend.

Revelstoke Trail Running Recommendations

Revelstoke Trail Running
Mel Bernier runs in the Mount Revelstoke Summit Area. The top of the mountain features popular runs to Eva, Miller and Jade lakes. Photo: Aaron Orlando

We asked our local Revelstoke trail running contingent for their recommendations for their favourite runs in the area.

Favourite lunchtime trail:

CP Rail trails at the foot of Mount Mackenzie, the Big Eddy trail network, the Flowdown loop at Mount Macpherson.

Favourite after work trail:

Sex on the Beach to River Run at Mount Macpherson, Running to Eva Lake on Mount Revelstoke at sunset, Flowdown at Mount Macpherson, the five-kilometre loop — a trail near the Nels Nelsen Recreation Area on lower Mount Revelstoke.

Favourite weekend destination trail:

Sol Mountain Lodge, a private lodge south of Revelstoke; Rogers Pass, including many trails in the area of Glacier National Park east of Revelstoke; Keystone-Standard Basin, an alpine trail located north of Revelstoke on Highway 23.

Favourite alpine running trail:

Keystone-Standard Basin on Highway 23 North was the lead favourite

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