Mount Robson Marathon
For the past 3 years, BC Parks has been hosting a 46 km trail running race at Mount Robson Provincial Park – The Mt Robson Marathon. At 46 km, it is technically an ultra marathon, and since ultra marathon sounds cooler I am going to stick with that! This 3-year race is to celebrate the park’s 100th anniversary in 2013, although there is some talk of continuing this race beyond this year.
I missed the race the first two years it was held due to other commitments and I was not going to miss it this year. I spent a fair amount of time at Mt. Robson growing up in Prince George and it is one of my favourite places to visit. My colleague, and Kintec’s run clinic leader, Ryne Melcher and I started to make our way up to the mountain the Thursday evening before the race. We stayed overnight in Kamloops and arrived at Robson early Friday afternoon. This is about a 7 hour trip from Surrey, so it is also very doable in one day.
The weather forecast was very inconsistent for race day, ranging from the sun to rain all day and it rained much of the way up to Robson from Kamloops, we had our fingers crossed. We wanted to soak in some of the Robson scenery and loosen up our legs after the car ride so we took advantage of a break in the weather in the afternoon before race day and ran out and back on the first 4 km of the course to Kinney Lake. Then back to our campsite for a pre-race meal and a night’s sleep.
We woke up to a beautiful morning on race day and the forecast was for a high of 21 – Perfect! There was a low fog so we were still not able to see the peak of Robson and that all changed once the race started. As we ran down the road to the trailhead there was Mt. Robson in all its magnificence, and it never went away. The 23 km into Berg Lake was mostly uphill so it allowed for some glorious views of Robson and the surrounding peaks all morning, to be capped off with a beautiful view of the back side of the mountain at Berg Lake. Ryne and I arrived at the aid station at about the same time (mainly because he was sightseeing all the way up and took close to 50 pictures) so we had the opportunity to take some pictures together at the lake.
Mostly uphill all the way in means mostly downhill all the way out. A good thing right? Well at first I thought so, didn’t really turn out that way though. My legs took a pounding and it ended taking me longer on the return leg than it took me on the way in. The final 2 km was on the paved road and that section hurt, it was not fun at all. Regardless, at the end of the day, this is one of the most scenic and well-supported races out there and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Some highlights of the race:
– the weather. Mt. Robson is typically nice this time of year.
– the scenery. You cannot beat it – anywhere!
– race support. There were 11 aid stations on the course and you never went more than 5 km without aid.
– camping at the start line. Who doesn’t like waking up from a tent to do a race?
I highly recommend this race to anyone looking to do an ultra and I encourage you to email the race organizers to express your interest. Hopefully, if BC Parks sees how excited people are about this race, they will continue it well into the future.