WAM: Whistler’s first 100 mile race

Some thoughts for runners before they 'Go Go' to run the inaugural WAM 100 mile race

September 18th, 2019 by | Posted in Trail Running | Tags: , , , , ,

This weekend marks a first for many. Coast Mountain Trail Series’ Whistler Alpine Meadows (WAM) will put on its first 100-miler in conjunction with the 6K, 25K, 55K, 110K, and Triple Wammy races in Whistler, BC. The course covers 176K (104 miles) and gains 9,500 metres of elevation (652 metres more than Mount Everest). Friday September 20 at 10:00 a.m. many ultrarunners will set out for their first 100-mile race, and the nerves are spreading throughout the Sea to Sky Corridor. So, here are some thoughts before you ‘Go Go.’

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Read all the emails

It’s been an ultra long road for race directors Geoff Langford and Gary Robbins, especially after rerouting the original WAM course due to grizzly bear logistics last year. (Avoid sending an email, especially to Langford or Robbins until you’ve read all seven pre-race emails… twice.)

Respect the distance

For many runners toeing the line, it will be their first day (or two) tackling the 100 mile distance. Know your ‘why’ for heading to the start line, and ensure you have a, b, and c goals lined up. Run your own race, and have solid reasons for getting to the finish line.

Don’t feed the bears

There’s a 90 per cent chance you won’t get eaten by a bear in the Whistler backcountry. Focus on putting one foot in front of the other and filling your pack with gear rather than a bear banger, bear bells, and bear spray. If you are unsure what this means, check the pre-race emails again.

Take it easy out there

You have 48 hours to get to the finish line for six UTMB points (if that’s your jam). Don’t run your heart out in the first few kilometres, as there’s no such thing as ‘banking miles’ in an ultra–especially those with almost 10,000 metres of ascent.

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It will get ugly

You’ll likely have three to four low points during the 100 miles that will result in questioning your existence. Trust that these will pass. The good news is, everything is temporary, and the highs will be just as profound.

Mandatory means mandatory

By now you’ve probably taken up an entire garage space organizing all of your gear and snacks. The mandatory gear requirements are no joke. You need them to be self-sufficient in the dark, cold, wet, and snow for up to two days on course.

Don’t be rash

If you see someone who looks like Jamil Coury at the 100-mile start line, it probably is. After cancelling his race at Tahoe 200, he decided to head up north to play in Whistler this weekend.

Photo: Jamil Coury’s Instagram story

Be specific with your crew

A cheer squad is not a crew. So, if you have a crew, be specific and delegate tasks so you can get in and out of aid stations efficiently. For example, one person can be in charge of removing garbage from your pack, while another person can fill your bottles or bladder.

Bring extra snacks

Count the calories you will need for 48 hours of moving, and then bring extra. Even if you don’t touch them, you will have organized uneaten snacks for months of adventures after WAM.

Records will be broken

Since it’s the first 100-mile race for Coast Mountain Trail Series, not only will the winners set a course record, everyone who crosses the finish line will.

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