This weekend’s Scorched Sole offers runners 25k, 50k and 50-mile course options among the trails and forest service roads in and around Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park, south of Kelowna, BC. With another record number of entrants this year, the ever-evolving Scorched Sole is in its fifth year and the race has yet to be run on the same course twice.
Last year, the route suited my road-guy-slash-wannabe-trail-guy skillset. There was a lot of steady, non-technical climbing and a fair percentage of flat, almost road-like trail which was once the railbed of the Kettle Valley Railroad. The real bonus of the race for me was getting to run the scenic Myra Canyon stretch of the KVR over the famous railway trestles which cling to the canyon walls. It was a warm, sunny day and Myra Canyon was stunning.
This year the route goes in a completely different direction, taking runners south to Little White Mountain rather than east to Myra Canyon. The 50k route turns around at the summit while the 50-mile route goes up and over Little White, down a nasty scree slope and around a forest service road loop before heading back up the mountain to make up the extra 30k. It would probably be a tough enough route under ideal conditions, but this year there appears to be a fair bit of snow still sitting atop Little White. With daily temperatures in the mid-20s Celsius this week, this year’s race could be ummm… fun?
I won the 50k race last year and will be running the 50-miler this year with recently-crowned Calgary Marathon women’s champ and new women’s 100k trail world record-holder, Ellie Greenwood, along with 37 of our closest friends. While it’s not exactly Billy Jean King versus Bobby Riggs, Ellie and I are the current record-holders for the 50k and Ellie did beat me at Chuckanut and recently beat our pal Sammy Lotfi-Pour to take the overall title at the Elk-Beaver 100k, so you know Ellie Jean will be bringing her A-game. Look out guys!
Trying to sneak into Kelowna without me noticing, Tim signed up on Wednesday. He’ll be joined on the 50k line by Darin Bentley, Bruce Grant, David Crerar and last year’s 25k champ, Glen Lear. I swear Jen Segger was on that list earlier this week, but she must have heard about Tim signing up and arranged to be elsewhere this weekend.
Speaking of being elsewhere this weekend, sadly my streak of seven-straight Scotiabank Half Marathons comes to an end. Scotiabank was my first half marathon back in 2003 so I probably wouldn’t be running my first 50-miler this weekend had I not mustered the courage to run it seven years ago.
And of course, a year ago this Saturday I spent nearly the entire day parked in front of my computer following the granddaddy of all 100-milers, Western States. Hopefully I get back to my mom’s place in one piece so I can attempt to follow the action on her ol’ hand-crank Apple II.
Good luck to everyone running halfs to hundreds this weekend!