What would it take to get you to run from Nelson to Trail in one day in sub-zero temperatures?
For members of the Nelson and Rossland run clubs, raising money for the Movember challenge was reason enough.
On Saturday, four of them set out from Lakeside Park in Nelson, planning to run 69 kilometers to Gyro Park in Trail, mostly sticking to the eastern banks of the Kootenay and Columbia rivers. Three others joined them at various points along the way.
Rossland club member Neil Farynowski notes Movember, an annual men’s health initiative, challenges participants to run or otherwise move 60 kliks in November.
“We decided to add a bit of a twist and try to do the whole 60K in one day,” he says.
Farynowski, along with Roger Hull, Marc Caruth, and Connor Sherman set out at about 7:20 a.m. from Nelson.
They managed to stay off the highway most of the way. The first 19 kilometers were on backroads through Blewett. They then followed Rover Creek Forest Service Road until it turns into a bike track, then followed the Ward’s Ferry trail about 10 kilometers to Glade.
From there it was another three kilometers of road, then onto the Skattebo Reach trail, which finally popped them out near the highway at Brilliant.
“That was a miserable couple of kilometers getting passed by semis and trucks,” Farynowski laments.
When they reached the Doukhobor Discovery Centre, they met their crew to change footwear and enjoy hot tea. Then, as darkness fell, they continued on along the Columbia trail, which switches from a double-track gravel road to single-track hiking trail. They wore headlamps and encountered the most snow yet on that 25-kilometer stretch, which saw them delayed by a wrong turn that led to a dead end.
Cheering family and friends met them in Gyro Park following the final three kilometre stretch into Trail via Sunningdale.
Farynowski says the idea of a Nelson-to-Trail run has been a “pipe dream” of his for a while. He used to live near Nelson and now lives in Trail.
“I knew there was a pretty good trail network all the way along. I had done quite a few sections but never linked them fully together.”
He estimates they covered two-thirds of the route by trail and the remainder by road.
Farynowski says long-distance running is not foreign to club members, who meet weekly for an eight-to-10-kilometer jaunt and sometimes organize longer runs of 20 to 40 kilometers on the weekends. Furthermore, club members have done Rossland to Nelson runs, broken into four sections, with one section completed per week.
But the Nelson-to-Trail in a single day jaunt was “definitely an ordeal.”
Farynowski says everyone who set out to do the whole thing finished it, and in good time too. Their original goal was 10 to 12 hours and they finished in about 10 hours and 15 minutes, despite running 74.5 kilometers, slightly longer than expected.
The temperatures did not make things any easier.
“It was a challenge,” Farynowski says. “You run too fast, you sweat too much, which gets you cold. But if you run too slow you also get too cold. I think our pace was ideal but it definitely was pretty cold first thing Saturday. Leaving Nelson it about minus-9 and pretty windy.”
The runners have raised $2,600 so far, but are still hoping to collect more.