Egg Nog Jog – Recap

Weather definitely got the memo for this year’s Egg Nog Jog. As if on cue there was a dusting of snow that set the mood for the 10.8K loop around the Terra Cotta Conservation Area. Celebrating it’s 35th year with a sold out race, 18 Benders towed the starting line. Cheered on by those who either waited too long to sign up or were nursing an injury. Participants scored a fantastic medal and personalized bath towel as well as enjoyed a great post race celebration.

Be sure to sign up early next year to avoid disappointment as this race always sells out.

*photo credits – Gallery and header – Carlo, medal – Sue Sitki

 

A Letter of Thanks – from Don Doan

Sharing a fantastic letter from Don Doan about the Don Doan Dash.

Email from Don Doan – Sept 11, 2017

Tough Benders

Eight courageous Benders dressed in black… Seven courageous Benders dressed in black and one navy blue arrived at Mount Saint Louis Moonstone to face Tough Mudder 2017. There was a mixture of experienced obstacle course racers in the group. Many having done the always popular Mud Hero. Others had Warrior Dash on their resume as well as couple Spartans mixed in. Surprisingly though no one in the group had done the Tough Mudder.

After passing the multi-tiered registration process which moved surprisingly quick the group found their way to the starting corral. Going off in the first wave of the day, the warm up in corral was pretty standard with the hype man getting every one pumped while making sure everyone stayed safe and looked out for one another. One thing that stuck out in particular was that Tough Mudder was NOT A RACE. It was an experience, it was about team work. I didn’t think much of this line until the gun went off and the crowd started moving.

 

The start of the Tough Mudder began with a climb straight up the ski hill. In every race I’ve been in the past there’s always people that burst out of the gate and gun it full out regardless of terrain or their ability. Surprising true to what the hype man said, Tough Mudder was not a race. The crowd almost leisurely made their way up the mountain. A growing line of Mudders assembled up the mountain giving each others encouraging high fives as they made their way up. This was going to be a team experience!

Tough Mudder boasts 20 obstacles spaced over 18kms. We were met with the first obstacle after cresting the mountain. Mud! Getting everyone dirty right off the bat. From there it was obstacle after obstacle with only breaks to climb mountains or descending them. Laughs, cheers and high fives as the group made their way through the course. 

There were challenges to be found too, whether it be tight spaces, cold dark water, heights or electrocution every Bender faced something out of their comfort zone. Teamwork provided the extra bit of encouragement that some needed when confronted with that challenge that seemed too daunting. A few obstacles offered two choices, one for newbies and one for Legionnaires (veterans). The Legionaries options offered a more challenging twist to the obstacle. Even though we were all first timers the Legionnaire route was what we tackled with glee.  That is all but one obstacle.

The final obstacle offered up this choice but there was something different about this obstacle. Legionnaires to the right for Kong, everyone else to the left, Electroshock Therapy. If anyone has heard one thing about Tough Mudder, it’s about this obstacle. The name isn’t just a clever title. THERE IS ACTUAL ELECTRICAL SHOCKS!!  10,000 volts worth of shocks!

Watching a few brave Mudders run the gauntlet and face the sharp sting of the dozens of live electrical wires suspended above a pit of mud and water it was our turn. One by one we made our way through the final obstacle. Some carefully and calculated, other wildly and quickly, regardless of the strategy there was just too many live wires. Zap! Zap! Zap! go the Benders, one by one we all fell to the 10,000 volts!  But we all made through to the other side earning the free beer that had been strapped to our wrists all day. Cleaning up and hitting the beer garden we relaxed and enjoyed our free beer to the yelps of fellow Mudders getting zapped.

Cheers to the Tough Benders!

Also cheers to the amazing spectators who followed us throughout the course on the special spectator route snapping pics, taking videos, laughing and cheering us along all the way! Hopefully we can return the favour next year!

 

 

 

 

Neon Nights and Blue Mountains

The traveling party known as The Brampton Benders hit the Night Nation Run at Woodbine racetrack on Saturday night to throw down a quick 5k before partying it up. Unfortunately from the reports of those who participated the crowd was more interested in partying and less so in the running portion. Overpriced beers and an abundance of weed in the air was a turnoff for the group. Looks like this event is going to be placed firmly in the “one and done” category. 

Sunday saw a pair of Benders at Blue Mountain in Collingwood to take part of in the North Face Endurance Challenge. Anupam arrived early and volunteered Saturday and saw first hand some ultra marathoners completing the 50K and 50Mile distances. On Sunday the longest distance was the half marathon. This event in the past few years has seen some hot days, with aid stations 7K apart it makes for a tough race. There’s also the part where you run up and down Blue Mountain several times over the course of 21K. Weather was slightly more forgiving this year as it wasn’t scorching hot. It did however make up for this with a particularly soggy and muddy course due to high amount of rain seen earlier in the week. Both racers had a great time and will definitely be back next year.

Western States Endurance Run – One Week Later

Last week we did a brief recap of Steve’s attempt at the Western States Endurance Run (see here). Below we get the tale straight from the source:

 

In case you didn’t already know I DNF’d at Western States. I knew it would be a big challenge and it was. Us back-of-the-packers have little room for error on this thing. It got more challenging the day before when they said the hell with the snow we are not going to use the snow route to get around it. This meant 18 miles of snow and muck and water cascading down the hills and creeks. It was also baking-hot in the high country. I still had some lingering hip (Tom knows this when he saw me in January barely walking) and calf/hamstring weakness I’v been fighting for several months. All of this caught up with me on the relentless hills. In the 30 miles I completed my fitbit registered 700 floors climbed. They ranked this year with other years and said it was the 4th most difficult year of 31 years of data. About a third were DNF’s.

Each of the aid stations has a cutoff. On paper they look generous but in practice they are very tight. I got out of the 2nd one with 12 minutes to spare and out of the 3rd one with 5 minutes to spare. I missed the 4th one by 5 minutes after taking 2 hours to go 5.9 miles. This was at Michigan Bluff where I had the first chance to see Carol and Randal. So 30 miles and 9 hours after the start the staff cut off my wristband. I wonder what the outcome would have been if I had made it. Maybe I would have been late to the next one. I have been thinking about it all week. I should have pushed myself more but going up the hills I was already at max heart rate and very little of the downs were runable (no such thing as flat).

It was an incredible experience for me. I met many great people and it was an awesome event to be part of. Amazing to watch how it unfolded as the hours moved on. Expect the unexpected. Huge thanks to Carol and Randal for coming with me. I’m disappointed that your crewing and pacing skills were not used much. I hope it wasn’t a lost week for you guys.

I will qualify again and enter the lottery again but it may take some years because took me 5 years for this one.

Official Race Photos

Steve’s Facebook pics

Busy Race Weekend – WSER100, IRONMAN and BAA10

It was a busy race weekend with Benders racing all over the North America. California, Boston, Quebec and Toronto.

This weekend saw Steve along with Carol and Randall out in sunshine filled California. Lake Tahoe specifically where The Western States Endurance Run was taking place. The Western States Endurance Run is the granddaddy of the all ultra-marathon races. First 100 Miler in North America. Find more info here .

Steve who has been working tirelessly to qualify (multiple 100 mile qualifying races) and with the hope of being selected for this race for the past 5 years. His ticket was finally drawn from the lottery in December along with 368 other people (only 1 of 9 Canadians) to toe the line this past weekend. 

Conditions looked tough even for your most seasoned 100 miler with the first part of the course being still snow covered (It starts at Squaw Valley, which is still open with over 100″ of snow!!) and into the canyons where temperatures were over 40 degrees! Rising temps and rapidly melting snow left the course very muddy and not very runnable. 

Unfortunately Steve did not meet the cutoff timeline after the 30 mile aid-station and was forced to drop from the race. 30 Miles!! Did anyone else manage to run that far this weekend? Amazing work Steve, I’m sure you’ll be back there to get your buckle!

 

Lorraine and crew headed to Quebec to compete in The Mount Tremblant IRONMAN. As is the tradition it was Lorraine vs. Robert showdown. Lorraine coming out on top this year with 7:50 vs. 8:05. (those times are in hours! wow!)  Talk about a competitive family. Awesome work guys and way to keep it fun.  

After completing the 5k in Boston in April, Michelle B. returned this weekend to compete in the B.A.A 10K. Judging by the post race celebrations it looks like there was a different drink for every kilometer. Now that’s how you celebrate a race! Will she be back in October for the half marathon to complete the trifecta? That’s going to take some serious training…that’s over 21 celebratory drinks! Awesome work Michelle!

Anupam was out crushing another MEC race. This time it was the half. The MEC series are a great series of low-key races with various distances with minimal entry fee all over southern Ontario. A great way to checkout your fitness level. Well done sir!

Did we miss anyone? Be sure to reach out and share your race stories.

ALS Walk and Niagara Ultra

Depending on who you talked to the weather cooperated…well, sort of. Whether it was running 50K in Niagara or a 5K walk in Brampton your perspective might be slightly different. There was no rain but it was hot and humid. No complaints, just stating facts.

For the second year in a row The Brampton Benders were out to support our dear friend Don Doan as part of his Doaner’s Groaners as they participated in Brampton’s ALS Walk on Saturday at Chinguacousy Park. A great deal of funds, over $25,000 was raised, with over $11,000  coming from Team Doaner’s Groaners. Top fundraiser with over $4,000 raised surprising no one, is the man / team  captain / all around amazing guy, Don Doan! Wow!! Funds and awareness were raised but most importantly a great time was had by all. Thank you to all who donated, supported and participated in this event.

If you missed out on this event fear not. The Don Doan Dash 5k is coming up in a few short months. Proceeds from this race will be going to ALS Canada. Prices go up July 1st, don’t delay and register now for $30. Did I mention there’s shirts and prizes?

A few Benders managed to successfully complete a few of the many distances offered at this years Niagara Ultra. From half-marathon to the 50K. Congrats to Liz, Ivar and Sam on completing despite the heat and humidity. A sweet medal that doubles as a bottle opener for all finishers. Time to sit back and opening a few well deserved cold ones! Well done to all!

Sulphur Springs – Race Recap

Brampton Benders took to the trails this past Saturday to participate in the 25th running of the Sulphur Springs Trail Race. The race offered a few special distances this year to celebrate their 25th Anniversary. Notably the 200Mile and 100K distances were added the standard distances of 10K, 25K, 50K, 50Mile, 100Mile and 100Mile Relay.

A team of eight was assembled to complete the 100Mile Relay. Starting at 6am the team had 30 hours to complete 8 laps (1 lap per runner) of 20K for a total of 160K (100Miles)

The morning started off chilly and overcast. It had rained heavily on the Thursday shortly before the 200 Milers began their attempt to finish in the following 72 hours. The course was said to be muddy in a few areas but generally in pretty good condition. Leg one of the relay set off at 6am along with the 100Miler solo runners and 50Milers. The 50K, 25K and 10K runners would be added to the course as the morning went on, 1200 runners in total would be on the course in total.

With minimal course experience on the team, each runner dove head long down the steep decent of Martin Rd and into Sulphur Springs where one after another runner left everything they had out on the course. The weather grew warmer and muggier as the day wore on but they showed no signs of slowing down.

By the time night had fallen 6 of 8 runners had completed their laps. Runner 7 took off into the woods with only their headlamp and the reflective marks on the course as their guides. Runner 8 set off just before midnight and would return covered in mud just a few short hours later. Roots and rocks had tripped him up just mere kilometers from the finish. Despite being covered in mud the remaining team members gathered for high fives at the finish line as they completed 100 Miles in 19Hours and 38minutes, placing them 12 of 20 teams.

Special recognition to Steve who crushed the 100K distance finishing 12th overall (9th Male and 2nd in age group) in a time of 13Hours and 31minutes. This race was part of his prep work for his upcoming 100Miler, none other than the famous Western States 100 later this June.