THE BLOG

Bear Foot Running

07/10/2013 01:52 EDT | Updated 09/07/2013 05:12 EDT

Kananaskis3 was event number four in my TransRockies Quest 888. The original plan was to run three events over three days in the Powderface / Little Elbow area of Kananaskis just outside Bragg Creek. Unfortunately, the Alberta floods put an end to that. Bragg Creek had been hit hard, the bridge on Highway 66 had been destroyed and many of the trails had been wiped out.

Aaron and Jonathan, organizers of the TransRockies Events Inc., had to scramble fast in order to find alternative locations. They contacted the managers at the Canmore Nordic Centre and were given permission to hold the events there. This was despite the fact that Canmore had also taken a hammering from the flood.

So, on the evening of Friday July 5th, Sue drove me to Canmore, along a section of Highway 1, part of which had been repaired and across several road sections that had been cleaned up of rocks and debris. At 6.20pm, Aaron called all the runners to the start and gave us some last minute instructions. The first was to follow the orange tape. This was important as in last weeks Fernie Ultra a number of the runners got lost. The second, was even more important, what to do if you see a bear. The key points were as follows. If it's a black bear then:

• If a bear is advancing and getting closer, stand your ground. Use your bear pepper spray and anything else to threaten or distract the bear. Do not run or climb a tree. Bears can run faster and climb better than you

• If the bear makes contact, fight back with everything you have

However, if it's a Grizzly then:

• If the bear makes contact, curl up into a ball on your side, or lie flat on your stomach.

• Try not to panic; remain as quiet as possible until the attack ends.

• Be sure the bear has left the area before getting up to seek help.

As you can see, the key is not to get your bears mixed up.

We all headed off into the mountains and wondered what the next two hours would bring. The 13km run went well, despite the rain and sleet, lots of orange tape, but no bears. On Saturday July 6th I was back for the marathon. There were approximately 100 runners, the weather wasn't too bad and most people managed to complete the 42.2 kilometres. On Sunday July 7th it was the half marathon. The sun shone from beginning to end and I really enjoyed the run. All three courses were different but all entailed tackling both steep accents and descents, often on single track trails.

The three days of running had gone well with 76 kms completed. The Canmore Nordic Trails had stood up relatively well to the heavy rains. The only real evidence of the deluge was several creeks that had ripped through the trails and established a new river bed of rocks and trees.

So, the completion of Kananskis3 brings my total kilometres completed to 161 for the Quest. That means that I have 727 kms left to do of my 888 kms goal. Next weekend is the Gran Fondo Highwood Pass which is now the Gran Fondo David Thompson Highway. But that's another story.

For more information on TransRockies Quest 888 check out: http://transrockies.com/transrockies-quest-888/

Bare Foot Running