Ultramarathon through B.C.’s Cascade Mountains cancelled due to wildfires

193-kilometre race course from Keremeos to Manning Park on hold until next year

A 193-kilometre ultramarathon through three provincial parks has been cancelled due to ongoing wildfires and park closures in the Cascade Mountains.

Four hundred people from 12 countries had signed up for this weekend’s Fat Dog 120 ultramarathon, named after the 120 miles participants run from Cathedral Provincial Park near Keremeos to Manning Park. The race was first re-routed, then cancelled, as wildfires in Cathedral and Skagit provincial parks have forced park closures and evacuations.

The original route took runners through Cathedral Provincial Park, through Manning Provincial Park and finally a half moon shaped loop through the Skagit Valley Provincial Park, ending up at Manning again.

Race director Heather MacDonald had already re-routed the race away from a large fire burning in Cathedral park. With the closure of the Skagit park today at noon, the race had to be cancelled.

MacDonald said scrapping a race of this size is a big deal — about 1,000 people including runners, their families, crew support and volunteers were expected for the race, including participants from as far away as Thailand, the Philippines and New Zealand.

“Imagine that, you’ve been preparing all year. If this is your big race, which for many people it is, you don’t do that many similar races so you might be building, building, building towards this, your hardest race. So if this is the one, for them, that’s the hardest,” MacDonald said.

“It’s known internationally and they come here because it’s difficult. It’s a hard race and they want to do that so they can qualify for other races as well, that are difficult. And also because we have the best trails, the best scenery.”

Preparation for a race of this caliber involves an intensive training program — experimenting with what fuel to bring on the race and how to run through the night wearing a headlamp, in addition to running and strength training.

Runners also need to be mentally prepared for the race, considered one of the world’s nine toughest ultramarathons by Outside magazine.

The disappointment was also felt by race organizers and volunteers who spent hundreds of hours clearing trails, flagging the running route and setting up water and aid stations, all of which need to be dismantled.

“I’m so bummed, I don’t know if you can imagine but I plan all year for this,” MacDonald said.

As many of the participants have arrived or are in the process of arriving at Manning Park Resort for the race, MacDonald said she plans to lessen the sting by organizing runs around the park this weekend.

“It’s a big disappointment for them, but if they take part in the runs I think that will really help them mentally,” she said.

Wildfires in Cathedral and Skagit provincial parks have forced closures in both parks.

Cathedral park is dealing with three fires in and around the park, with a massive 12,000 hectare fire burning near Snowy Mountain and another 2,000 hectare fire burning on Placer Mountain. Core areas of the park remain open but under an evacuation alert, and remaining areas are closed.

A 50-hectare fire burning in the Skagit led to the complete closure of the provincial park from 12 noon Thursday, Aug. 9.


Is there more to this story?


news@hopestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Just Posted

Evacuation orders in place for south of Keremeos, Hedley and Princeton

More evacuation alerts - south of Keremeos - were issued Saturday afternoon… Continue reading

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Key to the SOEC 2017 winner grateful for experience

Petersen discusses what it’s like to win a year of free concerts at the SOEC

UPDATED: Super League organizers cancel Saturday afternoon races in Penticton

Inaugural North American triathlon hoping for clearer skies Sunday

UPDATED: Evacuation alert expanded due to wildfire near Princeton

The RDOS has issued alerts for properties in the electoral areas

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Key to the SOEC 2017 winner grateful for experience

Petersen discusses what it’s like to win a year of free concerts at the SOEC

In Photos: Roots and Blues 2018 day one

Michael Franti and the Lil Smokies lit up the main stage to close out a day filled with great music

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Wildfire west of Summerland completely guarded

BC Wildfire Crews are on scene of two wildfires that started Aug. 17

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

Apple Triathalon cancelled in Kelowna due to smoke

The event has been cancelled for Saturday

Most Read