After making a strong impact in its first year, the 2013 edition of the Arc’teryx Squamish 50 is building momentum and the distance running world has seemed to notice.
Registration for 50-mile race planned for the second edition of the event began on Friday (Nov. 30) at midnight and race co-director Geoff Langford admitted that even he was surprised by the positive response.
“It kind of blew us away,” he said. “We opened registration on Friday at midnight and by today [Monday] we were all sold out. It’s pretty encouraging.”
All 150 spots were quickly grabbed, a definite improvement from last year.
“Last year we launched in November and opened our registration around the same time as last year,” Langford said. “It took us a while to get the word out and get people excited about it last year, but obviously people loved running the trails in Squamish and the buzz has been good for us.”
There will be a few changes to the event this year, as the relay portion has been eliminated and race organizers have added a 50-kilometre race and a 1 km kids’ race, while keeping last year’s 50-mile (80 km) and 23 km races.
Another wrench that was thrown into the plans for the event in 2013 was the recent announcement that the Squamish Valley Music Festival (SVMF) will be running on Aug. 9 and 10, the same weekend as the Squamish 50.
“We heard about it internally before it was announced and it threw us for a loop,” Langford said. “There’s really nowhere we could move to because of the racing scene in Squamish on the trails with all the local mountain bike races. But I talked to Paul [Runnals] at SVMF and I think we’ll be able to co-exist. He’s great to work with and we’ve identified a lot of opportunities for us to work together. There will be challenges, though, because hotels are going to be full and everything will be busy.”
Langford noted that the Squamish 50’s partnership with the Sandman Hotel was eliminated because of an existing partnership with SVMF. He said he’s been working on a plan with Quest University to open up accommodation at the school. He said the two events should be able to run at the same time with minimal problems.
“It seems like we don’t really cause each other any grief,” he said. “Our course does come out of the Smoke Bluffs and into Rose Park, but we worked out a way to establish a lane for our runners. That might be the only problem if it gets busy on Saturday.”
Last year’s champion, Squamish resident Jason Loutitt, has not yet registered for the event, but Arc'teryx athlete Adam Campbell of Vancouver is running in the 50-mile race. Campbell won the 23-kilometre race last year and will hope to repeat his success in the longer distance. Veteran adventure racer Karl Meltzer from Utah has also signed on for the 50-miler. Meltzer has completed 89 ultramarathons and holds the world record for most 100-mile trail wins with 30.
Registration for the 50 km race begins on Dec. 15 at midnight and details are still being ironed out for the kids’ race. For more information on the event, visit www.squamish50.com.