Trail runners from around the world recently descended on Revelstoke.
The TranSelkirks took place September 10-14, where runners started at the base of Revelstoke Mountain Resort (RMR), before climbing high into the mountains. The event offered runners two options, a choice between three or five days of mountain racing. While the TranSelkirks have been in Revelstoke since 2017, event director Jacob Puzey explained how the contemporary race grew from another event and how this year was different from other years.
“We’ve been working with the resort and doing events in Revelstoke since about 2013, so it’s been a decade,” Puzey said.
As locals know, the last decade has seen many changes for the community, but for the TranSelkirks Run, the changes have been more notable in the number of trail options available to them.
“The very first year, I don’t think we hiked a single single trail leg,” Puzey said with a laugh, adding that over the past decade, “the number of trails hiked on the mountain is pretty remarkable .”
As the trails have changed and developed, so has the event. This led to an ever-changing event that grew with the landscape. The ever-evolving event changed five years ago to include some of the trails maintained by the Revelstoke Cycling Association, taking riders out of the resort for different stages of the event.
This year, day four took runners to Begbie Falls, where competitors completed two laps of the course, covering 37km.
“Hats off to the Revelstoke Cycling Association and once again to the Revelstoke community for the incredible trail construction and maintenance they are doing,” Puzey said.
Aesthetics play a big role in choosing routes for the TranSelkirks Race. When Puzey and his team work on creating the routes in the summer, he says they keep visuals in mind, trying to provide as many different incentives as possible.
As event organizer, Puzey wears several hats throughout the days of the event, ensuring the event runs smoothly. To do this, Puzey often leads the course alongside the participants. He said eye contact between himself and competitors is an element of racing that is important to him.
Although trail running is often a solitary activity, Puzey said he tries to find a balance between giving runners their space and making sure they’re okay.
“I’m there with them and so it’s kind of a shared experience,” he said.
Running alongside competitors also allows Puzey to enjoy the event that he and a small army of volunteers have worked tirelessly to create.
“Some of our staff are in their 60s and some of our participants are in their 60s. So, it’s not like any of us are spring chickens,” Puzey said with a laugh. “But we work just as hard, if not harder and longer, than our participants. But it’s something we look forward to every year.
This year’s event attracted about 100 runners, which Puzey said is down from previous years. The race usually takes place in August, but this year they had to schedule it later. The change of date probably meant that some participants were unable to come once the busy September schedule was established. With smoke from wildfires covering the area in August, it may have been fortunate that the runners didn’t have to deal with that.
Equipped simply with a hydration pack, hat, jacket and bear spray to cover more than 100 km, runners tackling the TranSelkirks race are no strangers to impressive feats or breathtaking landscapes. Still, Puzey said he heard one word more than any other during the event.
“‘Wow.’ I hear the word ‘wow’ a lot,” Puzey said.
Some runners come from all over the world to participate in the race, and many have traveled to other parts of the world for other races, getting the opportunity to see huge mountain ranges in South America and Europe.
Whether it’s the views, time spent in the Alps or proximity to wildlife, Puzey said competitors are always amazed by what Revelstoke has to offer.
The TranSelkirks race is part of the TransRockies race series, which hosts ultra events in other communities. A full list of participants and race results is available on the Zone4 website.