However, it turns out this May was all about rain in Invermere. Other than a couple of blue patches and moments of reprieve, rain was on the menu. At least it was warm…ish.
Organization: Shuttles brought runners from the Invermere townsite (parking behind the PetroCan) up to the race area at Lillian Lake, about 7 km away. There were 40-something participants in the Kids, Enduro and Sport courses. With such a small number it was like a family affair and package pick up was straightforward. We all received 5 Peaks Buffs for taking part in the first race of the season, and a packet of Kicking Horse coffee.
There was no bag check, but again, with such a small crowd we just left our duffles in the registration tent. The aid stations were at the start line and at about 2 km into the run. Post-run snacks included apples, veggie stix, bagels, nut butters, cookies, rehydrating drinks and coffee.
Course: The 10K Enduro followed the Johnson trail – a single track with consistent rolling hills and occasional sets of switchbacks. The course ran through open forest, then up along the bluffs/hoodoos above Toby Creek offering stunning views of the Columbia Valley and the Rockies. There was plenty of lush foliage, and even fuzzy little purple crocus patches along the way. Wet roots and rocks added minor technical challenges but overall it was a solid aerobic workout!
My run: I had the pleasure of running with five amazing ladies for this trip. Four of us tackled the Enduro and two took on the Sport. In the Enduro, we started well on the first five kilometers but then fought through the remaining. The constant hills sucked the life out of me, and I know I have way more hill training to do before my big race!
We got caught out by the sweeps about three kilometers from the finish line, and hauled ourselves over the red tape in a time of 1:41 hrs. There’s nothing like being the last four people to cross a finish line when the top runners came in under an hour; but the lovely thing about trail running is that people are really supportive. There was no judgment or crankiness despite the winners having to stand in the rain waiting for us….and instead we were cheered across the finish line. Really awesome atmosphere.
5 Peaks gave out awards and prizes, and two of the ladies won some cool stuff (quick shoe lace system and a wicked Salomon hydration pack).
Running trails in the mountains is pretty great – love the small mountain town feel and the truly amazing scenery. Make it a weekend. Make it a holiday. Be sure to try out some of the other Kootenay races in the series in Kimberley (June), Revelstoke (July), Fernie (August) and Golden (September).