The Knee Knackering North Shore Trail Run is at hand once again, bringing together a field of some of the worlds top ultra-marathoners to run 30 miles on the trails of West and North Vancouver.
The 23rd edition of the Knee Knacker takes place on Saturday, July 9, starting at Horseshoe Bay and ending at Panorama Park in Deep Cove.
This years race will host a competitive field, as the 2010 winner, Victorias Adam Campbell, will return to defend his winning sub-five-hour victory time against Aaron Heidt of Vernon, Oliver Utting of Burnaby, Vancouvers Mark Bennett, and Peter Findlay of Kamloops. In the womens field, previous winner Suzanne Evans is back and shell be facing off against Lisa Polizzi of Vancouver as well as Brooke Spence and Nicola Gildersleeve, both of North Vancouver. In total, more than 350 entrants applied to the March lottery to attain one of the coveted 200 spots at the starting line.
The roots of the race trace back to an original field of eight participants in 1989, when the sport of ultra-marathoning (races longer than a 26.2 mile marathon) had not yet reached the level of popularity it has now. While there are races over distances longer than the Knee Knackers 30 miles, not many are tougher in North America.
As one of Canadas largest ultra-marathon races, it takes participants from Horseshoe Bay to Deep Cove along the 48.6 kilometre Baden-Powell trail. Runners go up, over, and around the North Shore mountains, gaining more than 2,400 metres in elevation along the way for a total elevation change of more than 4,800 m. With the North Shores unique weather conditions, runners can expect hot and humid conditions on the lower sections of the course combined with snowpack at the peaks of some of the mountains they will be climbing.
In 2011, five athletes are registered to run the Knee Knacker for their 10th time: Francine Hong, Sharon Hope, Patricia Jensen, Desmond Mott and Dave Whitworth. This feat has been accomplished by only 35 other racers.
The race starts at 6:00 a.m. Saturday just above Horseshoe Bay at Exit No. 4 off of Westport Road, and all runners must arrive at the Panorama Park beach in Deep Cove by the race cut-off time of 4:00 p.m. The following is an estimated schedule of where and when to catch the runners in action:
The lead runners will arrive in the Cypress Bowl ski area at around 7:15 a.m., at the Cleveland Dam parking lot at 8:15 a.m., at the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve parking lot at approximately 9:20 a.m. and finish up in Panorama Park at around 10:40 a.m.
Proceeds from this years race will benefit North Shore Rescue. For more information visit www.kneeknacker.com.