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Pregnant athlete wins tough trail race

Hilary Spires began her second trimester by winning the Run Ridge Run 13K trail race

When Hilary Spires toed the line at the Coast Mountain Trail Series (CMTS) Run Ridge Run 13K race on Saturday, February 23, she wasn’t only starting a trail race–she was starting her second trimester. With 600 metres of ascent, the technical (and snowy) 13K course was Spires’ second race pregnant (her first a road race at the Vancouver First Half Marathon). Run Ridge Run felt “really, really good!” Spires said. “It was just so fun to be out there in the mountains for the first trail race of the season, with such a lovely group of people. The giant snowflakes made it extra beautiful.” 
13K and 25K female winners. Hilary Spires (left) and Katie Mills. Photo: Greg Faber

The race

The race was competitive and tough. “I was neck and neck with a girl until the last 7K. She looked very strong, so I wasn’t sure if she would pull away or not. I happened to catch her on a climb and then there was a speedy descent, so I figured if I could get out of sight, I might pull it off. We ended up quite close! It was fun to have someone to push with the whole way. Well–fun now. It wasn’t so much during.” 

The training

Training this year has been different than in the past. “The first three months were really tough trying to keep any tempo. I would feel nauseous almost instantly if I started running fast. I am so thankful I was able to keep training for distance. Long slow runs felt great. I just have to eat more around runs now. After the race I bonked on my cool down lap and had to sit down. I was so dizzy!”
Photo: Instagram

Up next

Before the baby comes in August, Spires is looking forward to more trail races until she starts waddling. Up next is Dirty Duo 50K in March, and Sun Mountain 50 miler (80K) in May. Then at the seven-month mark, she will do the Multi Grind Challenge (hiking up Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver as many times as possible to raise money for BC Children’s Hospital Foundation). Since hikers take the Grouse Mountain Skyride down to the base after each ascent, “I figured it’s a safe bet with no downhill.”


You won’t find Spires sharing mom advice just yet. Since it’s her first time becoming a parent, she is keen to learn from other active mothers. Many have reminded her to listen to her body. “I have to remind myself it’s all temporary, and when I see the little thing, I’m not going to care how fast I ran eight months ago. A huge part of why I want to keep running is to set an example for my ‘snuffer.’ More studies have shown that moms who move while pregnant have healthy and strong kids.” 

Run Ridge Run results

Over 400 runners toed the line this year. And despite the challenges of the snow, the times were fast. Katie Mills accomplished her goal of having more fun than anyone else. She also accomplished winning the 25K race. “I felt like I was cheating because I loved the conditions!”  

25K Females
1. Katie Mills
2. Danielle O’Neill
3. Patricia Roney

25K Males
1. Alexandre Ricard
2. Alexandre Campbell
3. Rob Watson (first trail race)

13K Females
1. Hilary Spires
2. Charlotte Kennedy
3. Jennifer McConkey

13K Males
1. Dylan Gant
2. Samuel Perrin
3. James Lamers

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