Run British ColumbiaRun British Columbia

Posted

September 7, 2017

7 min read
Words: Jen Segger
Photos: Sarah Seads

Imagine, if you will, a week-long adventure with ten of your best friends. Picture planning an amazing getaway where you get to explore, travel, run, climb mountains, drink espressos, take photos and be inspired by stunning views of peaks & valleys day in and day out. No responsibilities, nowhere to be. The only thing to be done upon rising is to run a picturesque trail & immerse yourself in some remote backcountry landscape. If you can see yourself enjoying such a trip, then you’d love to join us on the annual RUNBC Project.

The concept of a women’s only running adventure around beautiful British Columbia came to me several years ago. I wanted to create a unique excursion, a road trip actually, where like minded females and I could come together to play in the big BC mountain terrain through adventure running. Leaving the race mindset at home, this running trip was all about camaraderie, sharing nature and seeing how far our running legs could take us each day.

When I put the call out for the inaugural RUNBC project three years ago, the trip filled in less than twelve hours. Year one was a crazy, jam packed week as we circled around BC in seven days, covering 140 km by foot and over 2000 km. We ran seven different trails and stayed in some of the quaintest little towns around the province. From the backcountry of Whistler to ridge running in Rossland, mega climbs to reach the alpine near Nelson and flowy single-track trails in Manning Park, I knew I had created something special with this run-explore-run more-repeat project. My mind immediately started spinning with what would be next...

Year two (or now termed RUNBC2) was as unique and special as the first year. Nearly all the same ladies returned again with only one lucky new addition.

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  1. After several hours navigating through the trails below tree line, we found ourselves surrounded by fields of gold as we traversed the rolling hillside towards Trigger Camp and where we spend our first night on the trail.

Trail running has a way of making time stand still.”

I decided that there was still a great deal more to explore in the Kootenay region and so opted to base RUNBC2 around the Revelstoke, Golden, Kaslo area. Less driving meant more time exploring as we engulfed ourselves in high, wild flower painted alpine meadows and tackled routes through some mammoth mountain passes. As cameras filled up and friendships solidified, I was confident once again in knowing that all of the planning and logistics that went into the adventure would impact these women for years to come.

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  1. Despite the hot British Columbia Summer, water was still flowing from the snow melt in the high alpine. This meant plenty of creek crossings and ample water to drink and cool off in.

Before RUNBC2 had wrapped up, I knew exactly where RUNBC3 would have to be. The ladies and I would head to the remote Southern Chilcotin Range area to experience a multi-day backcountry running excursion. A hidden gem, the Southern Chilcotins takes some serious effort to get to. Driving the infamous Hurley forest service road is always a good way to kick start any backcountry trip and thankfully we arrived at Tyax Lodge, our launching pad for the excursion, without any flat tires.

With cars parked for the week, our only mode of transportation was our own two feet and this suited the ladies just fine. Different from the previous years, our 2017 journey - RUNBC3 - was a hut-to-hut based trip. In the run world we call this fastpacking. With all of our personal necessities on our backs for four days, we ventured out to explore and find solitude in the Southern Chilcotins. I had enlisted the services of Tyax Adventures in order to access their wilderness cabins. Complete with a camp cook, we were able to lighten our loads by carrying limited food each day. Amazing meals awaited us at the rustic backcountry cabins that we arrived to each afternoon. Brought in by horseback and the wranglers who spend their days on the trail, each bite was appreciated. Camp hosts prepared our meals while we swam in pristine mountain lakes, soaked our legs in nearby streams and relaxed around a table of post run snacks. No cell coverage or WIFI, we were able to escape fully and be truly present in the moment. How often do we take the time to do that these days?

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  1. The Southern Chilcotins, still magical, despite the layer of smoke from burning fires nearby.
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  1. Exploring a summit above Eldorado Camp on our last night on the trail. Despite tired legs from back to back running days, the ladies wanted to venture out for just one more time to tag a peak and snag some views.
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  1. Long ascents guarantee epic descents in these mountains. Leaving Deer Pass behind, the group ventured on towards Spruce Camp and where night two on the trails would be enjoyed.
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  1. Big mountains, mega views. Runner Ashley Ramsey putting in a few speedy kilometers during a lunch break stop on Deer Pass.

“Picture planning an amazing getaway where you get to explore, travel, run, climb mountains, drink espressos, take photos and be inspired by stunning views of peaks and valleys day in and day out.”

Our fastpack adventure unfolded beautifully. Over the course of four days, we covered nearly 100 kms of trail with over 4200 m of vertical gain. Not too shabby considering the topography we were in and the weight on our backs. Despite the intense fire situation around BC and the heavy smoke that would at times blow in and blanket the peaks and valleys, the majestic mountain tops would still show themselves from time to time. With the late snowmelt this year, the alpine wildflowers were in full force. Their sweet smells made our long climbs much more enjoyable. We ridge walked on some of the best terrain in the area and cruised down narrow single-track trails. This was trail running in BC at its absolute finest!

Trail running has a way of making time stand still. I’ve always found it to be the best way to unclutter my brain and de-stress. It can be as quiet or as social as one wants. During RUNBC, we don’t hammer along the trails breaking speed records. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The group’s age ranges from 30 to 60. While all are in different phases of life, age is just an insignificant number when it comes to these ladies. Strong and fit with a zest for life, each lady is as accomplished of an athlete as you could ever hope to meet.

However here at RUNBC, egos get left behind as positive energy and huge hearts form the platform to make this a majestic experience. I suppose this explains why I get year-round inquiries, asking if “maybe just one little spot” will be opening up for another woman to jump on the road trip.

RUNBC is a highlight of the year for me. Surrounded by good friends who share a similar passion for the outdoors and life on the trails, I can’t imagine much that could be sweeter. And as for RUNBC4? You can bet that plans are already underway for the next episode of our BC Trail Exploration. Onward….

More on Jen and the RUNBC Project can be found at:
www.jensegger.com
www.challengebychoice.ca

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  1. One last visit to Spruce Lake before loading the packs back on and heading out onto the trail for another day of exploration.
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  1. Hundreds of perfectly groomed kilometers making for ideal travel through the Southern Chilcotins.