Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Fat Ass Trail Run 6 hour

I was so tempted to sign up for the 50K, as it was a dirt cheap $20 for the no-frills option.  But after my experience running 2 50Ks in close succession last fall, I knew it would be a bad idea and signed up for the 6 hour instead, where you had to do a minimum of 4x7.5K loops to be considered a finisher.  

My only other experience with a 6 hour race was pretty craptastic and barring total disaster, I'd be able to PB.  In addition, I thought I'd aim a little bit higher and go for 5 loops.

I couldn't afford another motel room, so I stayed at my parents' in Toronto the night before and that cut the driving time in half.

Home base was the chalet at Batawa Ski Hill, with races of varying distances from 4-50K+ doing various combinations of the 7.5K and a 10K loop.  There was a tent at the bottom of the ski hill that marked the start/finish/aid station for the 6 hour race.

I left my overnight bag in the chalet and took my drop box out to the aid station.  It was pretty cold and I tried to borrow arm warmers, without luck.  Thankfully, once I started running, I warmed up.

The race started by going up the ski hill, which was snowy at the bottom from recent snowmaking.  At the top, there was some softer snow which was difficult to wade through.  Then the loop went into the woods and right back down the back of the ski hill.
about halfway up the hill.

The loop was described on the website as 'lots of elevation' and I didn't find this to be true at all.  After that first initial hill, the loop was entirely flat and runnable for at least 5K.  This year, there were some knee deep icy puddles to cross, which totally sucked during the first loop but then subsequent times was a lot less horrible due to feet already being wet and cold.

no way out but through!
After my favourite part of the loop, singletrack through forest, there was a short but steep climb back up the ski hill, then about 1.5K of mildly technical trail along the top of the ridge and back down a really steep hill to approach the finish from the opposite direction.  Parts of the final hill was snow and ice covered, and I wish I had the nerve to handle downhills Kilian-style..and the other option would be to slide down on my butt, but that would have wrecked my clothes, since there wasn't that much snow, just enough to be slippery.

screenshot: Kilian jornet burgada
Loop 1 went by really quickly and I saw the participants gathering for the start of the shorter distances and suddenly felt uneasy about my overnight bag with my laptop inside left at the chalet, so I called Matt (who was crewing/cheering) to haul it over to the start/finish so that I could see it every loop.  The 2nd loop was the worst, as trails were more crowded, and lots of people being super newbie-ish (whining about hills, mud, puddles, passing without warning, tailgaiting) but thankfully things cleared up again by the 3rd loop.

I met up with Burly teammate and super hardcore badass Party With the Varty, he was having pain in his foot and some end of season burnout.  I haven't really talked to him much before this race, and his company was a pleasant distraction from the later stages of the race.  

It was tempting to quit after 4 loops, as that was the minimum distance needed to be considered a finisher, but I said I wanted to run 5 loops, and with 1:30 left for the final loop, it was entirely doable.  David and I finished with about 10 minutes left and immediately someone asked if we wanted a beer.  It turned out to be the top finisher in the 6 hour, he brought enough beer to share!

Now to enjoy a few weeks of casual off-season running before training for 2018!


  1. Way to go! That sounds like a fun race & beer at the end :) Any races planned yet for 2018?