A few days ago, I registered for the Elk/Beaver 50K, which will take place at Elk Lake Regional Park, just north of Victoria, B.C., on May 10, 2014. That’s a long time away and a long way away. But it’s a race I’ve been thinking about for quite a while. And the Elk/Beaver Ultras (100K, 50 Mile, and 50K ultras, a 26.2 mile “first-timers’ marathon,” and a 40K ultra walk) have a participant limit of 200, so I wanted to get my name on the list early.
Presented by the Prairie Inn Harriers running club, this 27th annual edition of the Elk/Beaver ultras is described on the event website as a “fast and flat 10 kilometre trail circuit around Elk and Beaver Lakes… Runners complete 10 laps for the 100K division, 8+ laps for 50 Miles and 5 laps for 50K, while walkers complete 4 laps for 40 km… The venue is all trails, very flat, has good footing, and is in excellent condition. Definitely a runner-friendly, P.R. type course!”
“Runner friendly” is good. “Barefoot friendly” would be even better. I’ve been assured by Carlos Castillo, the event’s race director, that it’s barefoot-doable, but he also adds that, if I do it barefoot, I’ll be the first runner to have done so. It’s going to be a challenge, particularly as it’ll happen early in the running season, when I won’t have had a whole bunch of time to condition my soles after a long Ontario winter. (Gravel bucket time! ) A new PR? I don’t know about that. At this stage of my planning, all I can think of as a goal is to finish inside the event’s 7 hour cutoff.
As for the Elk/Beaver being on the other side of this vast country, well, that’s going to present the usual issues involved in a destination race – travel, hotels, unfamiliar beds, different food, and logistics. But there’s an upside to this – both my wife and I have family in Vancouver (a ferry ride or short flight away from Victoria), so I’ll have time with them as well as some personal vacation time on beautiful Vancouver Island. Left Coast, here I come!