Trail runners from around the world recently descended upon Revelstoke.
The TranSelkirks took place from Sept. 10–14, where runners started at the base of Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR), before climbing high into the alpine. The event had two options for runners which was a choice between the three- or five-days of mountainous trail runs. While the TranSelkirks has been in Revelstoke since 2017, event director, Jacob Puzey, explained how the contemporary run developed from another event and how this year was different from other years.
“We’ve been working with the resort and hosting events in Revelstoke since about 2013, so it’s been a decade,” said Puzey.
As locals know, the past decade has included plenty of changes for the community, but for the TranSelkirks run, the changes were most notable in the number of trail options available to them.
“The very first year, I don’t believe there was a single step of single track that we ran on,” said Puzey with a laugh, adding that over the past decade “the amount of trails that have gone in on the mountain is quite remarkable.”
As the trails have changed and grown, so has the event. This has led to an ever-changing event that has grown with the landscape. The consistent evolution of the event shifted five years ago to include some of the trails maintained by the Revelstoke Cycling Association, taking runners off the resort for different stages of the event.
This year, the fourth day brought runners over to Begbie Falls, where competitors did two laps of the route, covering 37 km.
“Hats off to the Revelstoke Cycling Association and again the community of Revelstoke for the incredible trail building and maintenance they provide,” said Puzey.
Aesthetics plays a big role in deciding on the routes of the TranSelkirks run. When Puzey and his team work to create the routes in the summer, he said they keep visuals in mind, trying to provide as many different stimulants as possible.
As the event organizer, Puzey wears many hats throughout the days of the event, ensuring that it runs smoothly. To do that, Puzey is often running the course alongside the participants. He said that the visual contact between himself and the competitors is an element of the race that is important to him.
While trail running is often a solitary endeavour, Puzey said he tries to strike a balance between giving runners their space and ensuring they’re alright.
“I’m there with them and so it’s kind of a shared experience,” he said.
Running alongside competitors also allows Puzey the opportunity to enjoy the event that he –and a small army of volunteers– worked tirelessly to create.
“Some of our staff members are in their 60s and some of our participants are in their 60s. So, it’s not like any of us are spring chickens,” said Puzey with a laugh. “But we’re out there working just as hard if not harder and longer than our participants. But it’s something we look forward to every single year.”
This year’s event attracted roughly 100 runners, which Puzey said was down from previous years. The race usually happens in August, but this year they had to schedule it later. The date change likely meant a few participants couldn’t make it once the busy September schedule set in. With the wildfire smoke covering the region in August, it may have been fortunate that it was something the runners didn’t have to contend with.
Outfitted with simply a hydration pack, a hat, a jacket, and bear spray, to cover more than 100 km, the runners who take on the TranSelkirks Run are no strangers to impressive feats or stunning landscapes. Still, Puzey said that he heard one word more than any other during the event.
“’ Wow’. I hear the word ‘wow’ a lot,” said Puzey.
Some of the runners come from all over the world to take part in the run, and many have travelled to other parts of the world for other races, getting the opportunity to see massive mountain ranges in South America and Europe.
Whether it’s the views, time in the alpine, or proximity to wildlife, Puzey said the competitors are always amazed by what Revelstoke has to offer.
The TranSelkirks Run is part of the TransRockies Race Series, which hosts ultra events in other communities. A full list of participants and race results can be found on the Zone4 website.