What Does it Take?

What does it take to crack the top ten at Western States? Crazy stuff like this.

I recently got a glimpse into what one man is willing to do to prepare for the Western States Endurance Run 100 Mile Run. Granted, my glimpse consisted of text alerts I received while sitting in the comfort of my living room, but on May 29, I followed a series of tweets from North Vancouver ultrarunner Gary Robbins describing an epic run that ranks up there with the craziest training runs I’ve ever heard about.

Gary set out to run multiple repetitions up and down the BCMC trail, a meandering vertical scratch up the side of Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver which roughly parallels the world famous Grouse Grind. The BCMC trail begins just east of the Grind and gains 2,800 feet or 858m in its 3.3k, topping out at the Grouse Mountain Chalet. Gary averaged 40 minutes on the ascent and about 22 on the descent, with enough rest in between to grab some food and drink, a change of clothes, and of course, to do a little tweeting on his iPhone.

This was Gary’s colourful account of the run via Twitter, 140 characters at a time:

@gary_robbins I’m heading out to see exactly how much pain my legs can handle after a month of almost zero running, wish me luck!
Sat May 29, 10:26 am

@gary_robbins BCMC x1 39/23. The Grind is closed, BCMC is officially full of douche bags today!
Sat May 29, 12:22 pm

@gary_robbins BCMC x2 39/22 A shirtless buff/fat dude on his cell refused 2 budge an inch, pls open Grind again soon!
Sat May 29, 01:42 pm

@gary_robbins BCMC x3 39/21 Dry clothes-choc-coke:) legs r starting to chatter, getting fun now! 9000ft & counting
Sat May 29, 03:06 pm

@gary_robbins BCMC x4 41/22 Full change & 1 more 4 gd luck. S&R dragging some1 on spine brd 2 top, didnt lk like fun
Sat May 29, 04:39 pm

@gary_robbins BCMC x5 42/20 =5 rtn laps 5h08m not including smoke breaks of course! Just shy 15,000ft climb & descent=destroyed
Sat May 29, 06:11 pm

His tweets over the following few days are just as revealing:

@gary_robbins My quads really don’t like me today, gonna thank them for yesterday with yet another ice bath! ‘My 14,000 Foot Day’ http://bit.ly/bKBFaD
Sun May 30

@gary_robbins Laying in bed talking to my legs, begging them to work for me today. BCMC – confidence boost yes -smart…not so much!
Mon May 31

@gary_robbins In case anyone is curious 5 BCMC’s in row (14G ft/5hr) is in no way conducive towards ever walking pain free again! Day 4 still f-d
Wed Jun 2

@gary_robbins So sore dont want 2 get out of ice bath! Managed slow-painful 10k, considering it toughen up training 4 WS since last 20m last yr were worse
Wed Jun 2

@gary_robbins 2.5hr on trails with Taz tonight, my first real trail ‘run’ in over a month! Felt great & almost recovered from last weekends BCMC beat down
Fri Jun 4

In case you missed the link hidden up there in the tweets, click here for Gary’s training run report, ‘My 14,000 Foot Day’.


  1. Paps, sorry I totally missed this one! I’ve tried to link your blog to my side link before but it didn’t seem to take, I’ll have to try to reset it. Hart’s blog won’t feed either?

    Thanks again for the awesome CTC logo!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *