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

Larch Hills junior racers top Teck BC Midget Championships

Multiple top-five finishes contribute to aggregate team trophy

Pool plans disappoint Shuswap swim clubs

Mayor assures options for city rec centre only preliminary

Children’s organizations offer mixed reviews on Budget 2019

Concern over long waitlists, early intervention funding, but relief child care funds are included

Niedermayer jersey retirement ceremony a dream come true

Penticton minor hockey players bring home memories of a lifetime from Niedermayer jersey retirement

UPDATE: Tractor trailer overturned on Highway 3A near Yellow Lake

Drivers may be wise to plan an alternate route as crews will need to recover the truck

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could save the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

Vehicle fire on Coquihalla near Kamloops

A large plume of smoke could be seen rising into the sky over Highway 5

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

Top blues talent joins festival roster

Salmon Arm’s Roots and Blues adds stellar Canadian acts to 2019 event

Senior Golds climb rankings after Western Canada Tournament

First time since 2002 that Salmon Arm team has qualified for national rankings

Most Read