August 01, 2010

75km WCT Speed Attempt, Is A Go!

After the original goal of attempting the trail in May fell through, a secondary plan presented itself. This itinerary called for a group of eight individuals to link together and tackle this trail this past weekend. Each running their own pace, and effectively eliminating the HUGE logistical nightmare that is The West Coast Trail. Unfortunately this too fell through and alas I was left on my own to figure this thing out!

The 75km WCT is a point to point run with both access points located in obscure coastal towns, and with no direct route between them. To put this in perspective, in 07 when I ran the WCT & JDF trail back to back, it took me 12h20m to get through the WCT. My one man wonder crew at the time, Carlos Castillo, took over EIGHT FULL HOURS to drive around and meet me in Port Renfrew at the Southern terminus of the trail! If everything goes well on Wednesday my run time should be relatively close to the drive time!

Because of this it's taken me days to piece this all together. I picked a date, got the days off of work, and was then forced to figure out the rest.


-Work till 5pm
-Ryne Melcher drops me at Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal for 7pm crossing, arriving in Nanaimo at 8:30pm
-My Aunt picks me up in Nanaimo and drives me to her hometown of Port Alberni, arriving around 10pm
-Grab some z's


-Board 'Lady Rose' for a four and a half hour 'water taxi' to Bamfield
-Make my way to trailhead, collect trail permit ($160)
-Back to Bamfield, eat, lodging, eat, sleep


-5am taxi to trail head, since I'm running point to point and not returning to Bamfield I will have to discard all items I'm not running with. I'll be sporting the oldest clothing I can find from Mon-Wed!
-Start run anywhere between 5:30am and 6am
-Ideally run a sub 10h13m trail time, that being the current record, which has stood for over a decade! 1997 to be exact.

Anyone unfamiliar with the trail seems to think it a foregone conclusion that the record will fall. Anyone who knows the trail, is fully aware of the fact that this is a serious endeavor with a 50/50 shot of success. The biggest issue is that the trail has become increasingly tougher over the last decade, NOT EASIER as most trails usually do. After a few windstorms earlier this decade, previously runnable sections of the trail were rerouted via vertical ladder work, up, over, and around obstacles rather than clearing the trail back through the middle.

This is of course in addition to the five cable car crossings, the mandatory water taxi crossing, the suspension bridges, mud, roots, rocks, and of course the beach running sections. All in this trail is a killer, period.

I had hiked the WCT in three days in 01, and as mentioned ran it as part of a larger goal in 07. I was completely shocked by the differences and higher technicality of the route in such a short period of time. I'm honestly going to have to destroy myself to succeed on Wednesday.

Wednesday Afternoon

-2:36pm Hopefully celebrate a trail victory!
-4:30pm bus from Port Renfrew to Victoria for 7pm
-Cousin picking me up and presenting me with his own clothes to wear home
-Grabbing dinner and being dropped off at Tsawassen Ferry Terminal for the 9pm sailing, arriving back on 'the other side' for 10:30pm
-Bus to downtown Vancouver for 11:30pm arrival
-Mr. Melcher picking me up in my car from downtown. Dropping him off and hopefully finding myself spooning my dog by 12:30am

Thursday Morning

-Back to work!

All in this endeavor will cost me close to $500, so basically what I'm sayin to myself right now is,


Wish me luck...

AND, please, please, PLEASE don't forget that I'm still trying to raise $5000 for Right To Play. As of tonight I'm just fifty bucks shy of reaching 50% of my goal. Please help out if you can.

I'll be doing my best to update my progress via Twitter, but to my knowledge there is zero phone reception upon the trail and maybe none in Port Renfrew as well. I'll text updates as soon as I can!

Last but not least, if you have a few more minutes to spare, feel free to read my 2007 run report. I referenced it myself last night to get back into the right mindset. That being one of trying to conquer a torturous trail!



rumon said...

Good on ya, dude. Wishing you dry (as possible) trails, fleet feet and a well-earned record.

penny said...

MAKE IT COUNT ROBBINS! Oh, and GOOD LUCK ;-) Sounds like a cracking route. Looking forward to the updates as and when and if you are able to get them out to us.

Jeff Hunt said...

Go get 'em tiger. Do not be afraid to yell and scream at the top of your lungs at the Nitnat Narrows to make those guys come on time. If you have to wait a long time for those guys to connect you across, it could all be over. Make it count, and try and take advantage of the sandstone shelf in the ocean at low tide. Also do not hesitate being rude to hikers on the ladders - a large hiking group on any of the ladder sections could screw you up. You are too good to not give that 10:13 a serious run. You da man GR!

Clynton Taylor said...

Awesome! Rock on, Gary. You're likely to crush the record, and probably yourself in the process :). I love how you've got a boat to catch at the end of the trip. Extra motivation! Will be anxiously following your updates.

Boris T said...

Good luck! Wishing you good trails!

Mountain Way said...

Best of luck Gary. Keep the forward and vertical progression going and you will be just fine!! And "spooning" Roxie with a new record under your belt ;)

Scott McMurtrey said...

Rock and roll!

Derrick said...

All the best Gary. Run well and enjoy!

Michael said...

Good luck, looks like you'll have the weather cooperating. I looking forward to reading your report.