November 01, 2009

It's Official, New 100 Mile & 100km Race In B.C. Next Summer!!

Let me be one of the first to officially welcome the 'Fat Dog 100' to the ultra racing calendar!

BRAND NEW FOR 2010 and guaranteed to be a must do!! I'll go on record right now and say that by the third year this race will be selling out in a hurry, and well on its way to epic status within the ultra running community! Located in B.C.'s gorgeous park systems and easily accessible to anyone in the Pacific North West. Almost all singletrack, point to point, stunning mountain vistas, and an ass kicker of a course, The Fat Dog 100 is sure to become an instant classic.

Thanks so much to the very experienced race director Heather Macdonald for putting in the leg work to ensure this thing got off the ground and rolling. Although I somehow got an official thank you on the website I honestly did very little outside of encouraging the efforts of those behind the wheel. Special thanks should also be extended to Peter Watson of North Shore Athletics, and his girlfriend Nicola Gildersleeve (pictured above) for stepping up and helping out in every way possible.


Friday July 23 to Saturday July 24, 2010

Why: Stunning alpine views, very runnable trails, challenging profile, sumptuous aid stations, great organization, enthusiastic volunteers, and a lake at the end for soaking.

Distances: 100 miles, 100 km, and 6 relay legs that cover 100 mile route.

Where: 100 miler and relay start near Keremeos in Cathedral Provincial Park. 100 km starts in E.C. Manning Provincial Park.

How to Get There: From Vancouver, take Highway 1 to Hope, then Highway 3 to Manning Park. Follow the signs to Lightning Lake "DAY" parking.

Here is the official thank you mention off the website. My hat goes off to each and every one of these people. Depending upon my own schedule I'll either be racing the inaugural edition of The Fat Dog, or heading up a full blown party all night aid station...where costumes will be mandatory! Either way you'll see me there in 2010.

This race could not have happened without the encouragement of three stellar individuals: Peter Watson, Gary Robbins and Glenn Pace. Some other fabulous people who helped with GPS and 'trail discovery' included: Laura Woodward, Cheryl Johnson, Mike Heiliger, Judy Sullivan, Nicola Gildersleeve, Lara Taylor, Amber Ringers and Tamsin Anstey. That great photo of Nicola on Heather Trail above was taken by Peter Watson. Another amazing person that must be included is Kelley Cook of the Ministry of Tourism, Sports and the Arts who was instrumental in helping us navigate Trapper Lake Trail

And finally, a few more teaser pics...



Derrick said...

Wow...great looking race. Would love to come out for it.

Unknown said...

I've been meaning to ask your recommendation for the top 2-3 trail races near Vancouver? Any distance, but ranked by % single track and best scenery.

Bruce Grant said...

Looks like a great course, and the areas is spectacular - I love hiking in the region and the tales from the old Eagle 100 miler up there are legendary. BC has been ripe for another 100 mile route for a long time.

So my first reaction was "awesome!".... followed quickly by "when??"

What is a shame is the proximity of the race date to BC's only other established 100-mile run, STORMY in Squamish - this new race is only two weeks before it! We have the terrain and the market for more than one 100-miler here, but I am quite concerned that to virtually overlap like this will weaken participation by local athletes and volunteers to both events. I'm sure more of each group would want to attend both events, but two weeks apart is too close for most.

I would be less concerned with encroachment on the dates of more geographically dispersed events - there are so many 100 milers out there and a schedule conflict is inevitable - but to be on top of the local STORMY event like this strikes me as uncooperative at best and competitive at the extreme.

I absolutely love the idea and the location, but really feel the timing could be improved upon. I would hope that local events could work together and be mutually supportive in order to encourage as many local participants and race venues as possible.

Gary, what are your thoughts on this with your background at STORMY as the course record holder there (though I sense by your enthusiastic post that you don't see an issue ;-)

Derrick, living in Ontario and as a potential participating athlete, how about you?

Anyone else? I'd love to hear what others think.

Respectfully, and hesitantly enthusiastic,


garobbins said...

Hey Bruce, I appreciate the reply and fully expected to field questions such as these. All very valid points that I'm glad were brought up. I definitely understand where you're coming from and this was one of the main things Heather struggled with while planning this event.

In the end it basically broke down to the fact that the window of snow free running in the mtn ranges throughout Manning Park is very short on heavy snowpack years, and bad weather and or snow would make this route even more torturous than it already is and most likely impossible/impassable. Stormy takes up the early Aug time slot and Cascade Crest the late Aug time slot. After lengthy discussion we thought that late July was the absolute earliest the run could safely occur on snow free terrain and to push it back into Sept would be to roll the dice on weather, and to somewhat encroach upon the new Hundred In The Hood (which although not in BC would be drawing from a similar geographic location). Heather certainly was not trying to move into direct competition with Stormy but I felt that would be the perception from many within the scene.

To take it one step further, there were pretty strong and valid rumors floating around just over a year ago that the 100 version of Stormy would not even occur again. I think Wendy is a fantastic race director and am obviously a huge fan of hers and the race, especially given that it was my first EVER ultra in 2004 and then my first ever 100 miler in 2008. Having said that however, I've never gotten the impression that the 100 was ever going to be a focus race that would be grown into a big time event. I know that Heather did contact Wendy when these rumors were prevalent about helping to salvage the 100 version of Stormy, and to help grow it in both numbers and presence, but from what I gathered nothing came of these discussions.

I guess to be completely honest here, I've never been convinced that the 100 mile version of Stormy would even survive in its current incarnation, nor that everyone involved were 100% in favor of continuing it. If you look over the results after three seasons you will get 13 finishers in 07, 16 in 08, and 22 in 09. With limited growth like this I personally don't believe that Stormy can lay claim to such a valuable time slot for this specific distance in the B.C. community. When I reference the feedback I have received through my FB account since I posted this, it is almost entirely from runners within the Seattle area. All of these people know of the Stormy 100, yet for various reasons have chosen not to participate in it. All of them are already leaning towards participating in The Fat Dog in 2010. I'm not sure what is to be drawn from this other than the fact that we most certainly were in dire need of another option for a 100 mile race in this beautiful province, and I honestly think it is a great edition and will only help to foster positive growth within our community.

Ideally Stormy will still find a way to attract their capped 30 runners to the starting line and Heather will find a way to grow T.F.D. into a great race for years to come. Maybe a pipe dream but obviously would be the best of both worlds. Either way I hope there is no animosity amongst runners and race directors here as again there was no 'safe time frame' to work with that would not affect another 'locally available' 100 miler.


saschasdad said...

If it's anything close to as beautiful as the Eagle in '04 was (and starting in Keremous, I'm sure it covers some of the same terrain), then runners are in for a huge treat. And no doubt the organization for Fat Dog will far surpass that of the Eagle. In '04, the Eagle was the same weekend as Fat Dog will be, and I remember it being VERY HOT. Hopefully there are plenty of creek crossings along the way, and that lake at the finish will be magical.

Thanks for sharing the great news, Gary!

mrC said...

shut up and read this

garobbins said...

Right on Sean, hope you can make it up for it one day!

Michael, top 2-3 trail races near Van? Any distance eh...hmmm,

-Knee Knacker is legendary and goes to a lottery system. 30 miles of gnarly terrain with a very legit C.R. of 4h39m (99% singletrack)

-Iron Knee 25k. Similar trails, shorter distance, lotsa fun! (98% singletrack)

-Frosty Mtn, coupla hours outside of Van in Manning Park area. 50k, amazing mtn singletrack! (99% singletrack)

Hope that helps,

Ean Jackson said...

Robbins, you must have heard that I have come out of retirement by signing up for the STORMY 100-miler this year. You can't say you didn't know that my stated intent was to give you a spanking and rob you of course record. How do you ever expect to win Guinness from me if you won't meet me mano a mano? Or are you planning to do a 100-miler in Keremeos and kick my ass at another 100-miler 2 weeks later? Time to come clean with your buddy!

Aaron said...


It is a well established fact that Gary talks smack at home and then hops on a plane to race on the other side of the continent, so as not to back up his words with action...

Ean Jackson said...

Fightin' words! =;-)

garobbins said...

-Yes I have continually been ducking Heidt by flying out and doing major US races...and we all know Aaron hasn't even finished a 100m yet...yeah I walked about 1/2 of WS, but I finished:)
-Who knows Jackson maybe I'll shoot for the WS-FD-Stormy triple threat!
-Heidt seriously though I hope your name gets pulled on Dec 5th and we all somehow end up on that starting line come June 26th.


Moogy said...

I'm in if a little of the logistical issues can be ironed out for someone not available to have a crew (coming in from Ontario). I'm in the Western and Hardrock lotteries but they are crapshoots. Will keep my eye on rego.

garobbins said...

Moogy, I'm sure that can all be figured out! In the meantime best of luck with the lotteries, otherwise be sure to drop Heather a line!

Scott Corsie said...

I find the name the "Fat Dog 100" to be highly offensive to to any of the poor dogs that are a little on the heavy side.
Perhaps the name of the event could be change to the "Plus Size Pooch 100"?

Gary Robbins said...

Awesome Scott! Thanks for the laugh!!
I'll be sure to mention to Heather!

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

Hey, Gary, my race schedule for this summer is probably already. Can I register now for 2011? (I'm serious!)

garobbins said...

I am sure that Heather could guarantee you a spot for 2011 if you were totally serious! It's gonna be an AMAZING course and I know you'll love it!!!
Great hearing from ya again and thanks for the congrats on HURT.