The challenge of choosing races for 2011

Homer RunningDecember is a time for sharing with family and friends, imbibing a little, enjoying good food and, if it’s your bag, exchanging gifts and celebrating religious things.  It’s also a time for me, unlike other years, to actually do a good job planning my 2011 race calendar.

December 26th, 3rd ed note: got a date on Pacific Populaire and have made a few more decisions.

In the past, I’d think about key distances and then decided what races to do as the year unfolded.  Not this time, particularly since I’m feeling healthier than I have in a long time and I’ve decided to change up a number of aspects of my lifestyle.  I’ll do a recap of my lifestyle change progress to date at year’s end, but right now I’ve got way more choices than decisions made, and I’d love some comments about approach if anyone has them.

I’m approaching 2011’s racing with a few simple guiding principles:

  • Trail running will factor significantly in my plans.
  • The First Half half marathon and Whistler Granfondo road ride Several races are already committed or planned firm.
  • 50k is the longest I want to do next year, if that.  Knee Knackering or Elk/Beaver is the likely target.
  • I want to time a marathon in close enough proximity to a 50k ultra so that I can essentially kill two birds with one training cycle.
  • I have an unfortunate (but hopefully temporary) restriction from traveling to the U.S. so the events should be in Canada.


My first race is in January FebruaryHaving said that, below you’ll find the races I’m considering so far. I’m only actually registered in two races so far.  The following list represents everything the races I’m still considering at this point.  What I’d really like to form is a cycle of races that let’s me ramp up distances then recover a bit, then do it again and so on, throughout the year.  I’ve also decided to consider some duathlon multi-sport events.

Of note, I’d like to do the whole Five Peaks series, but many of them are very short, so I’m unsure of the value.  Also, I’m really keen on doing an early season road ride, so I’ll likely choose Pacific Populaire instead of Diez Vista, a 50k race I likely won’t be ready to do by April.I have decided to do the Pacific Populaire and the full Five Peaks series.  There are many 50k distances to choose from below, so I’m also considering timing and whether I should do one early and one later in the year.  Finally, in addition to the fall marathon choices below, I’m considering a destination race earlier in the year, as I have to use some airline credits by July 20th, so I’m open to the possibility of a destination marathon or ultra in June/July.

As you can see, way more choices than decisions right now.  Looking to firm this list up by the end of December so any comments below would be great.

0 thoughts on “The challenge of choosing races for 2011”

  1. I’d second the 5peaks series. Sure they are short, but of sufficient intensity to keep you tuned without much need for a ramp-up / taper period. The points series is a fun bonus to keep motivated. If you do just one, do the Whistler one.

    I’m also in for the Duathlon and the GranFondo and will likely re-load for the BMO full. It all just seems to fit well. Won’t do Victoria again, but would have a go at the Okanagan race (course marshalling has been brutal the last few years, though)

    I missed the Frosty 50k last year so I’ve got that one on my radar (late September). The other one you might consider if you haven’t done it before is the Rubble Creek Classic through Garibaldi.

  2. Steveston, probably;
    First Half, yes;
    All 5 Peaks, gonna try;
    Fools Run (a 1/2 on the Sunshine Coast), probably;
    BMO 1/2, probably;
    Sun Run, yes;
    Bay to Breakers (in SF), yes;
    Tender/Iron Knee, probably Tender;
    Summerfast, probably;
    Scotia Half, yes;
    Coho Run, probably;
    James Cunningham, yes;
    Haney to Harrison Relay, probably;
    Turkey Trot, yes;
    Gunner Shaw, yes;

  3. Thanks guys.

    @jay I think I saw your name on the Knee Knacker confirmation list, too. Might take a shot at a June marathon (maybe that’s my destination race) and follow it up with that, but also another marathon/ultra in the October timeframe. I did Okanagan back in 1999 (still my PB) and it was desolate in places.

    We’ll have to get some bike riding in together – I’m likely to do several, including the Populaire in April and then training as I can. I haven’t decided on UBC Du yet, but there’s also another shorty Du on the Island in early September. I’m not committed to multi-sport at all.

    @becomingajock I forgot many options, including Fools Run and the RTNS series. I’ll probably revisit this list tonight and cut out the ones I know I won’t do for sure. I’d like to decide whether Vancouver is on my agenda, since early bird is over at midnight tonight.

    I got tired making the list so I didn’t input the short year-end races, but I’m likely to do Cunningham and Gunner Shaw.

  4. You would probably enjoy the Dirty Duo 25k if you liked the Mike’s CFA event. Similar terrain.
    Elk Beaver would make a great first ultra—easy course and logistics. I’ll probly do the 50k (presumptuous since my long run is a 1.5 hour pool run at the moment). Dario and possibly Paps will be there.
    I’d skip Tenderfoot unless someone organizes it next year, including actually marking the course.
    Frosty would be much more scenic than Walk in the Park.
    There’s also Around the Lake 30k at Cultus Lake which I’ve enjoyed a few times (October).
    Don’t know as much about the shorter events but I did like 5 Peaks Buntzen half marathon this year.

  5. Thanks Tim. I’ve added your suggestions into my ongoing list edits. Glad to know that about Tenderfoot. Elk Beaver might be a good choice and would give me two 50k ultras two months apart so I’m giving that serious consideration.

    Hopefully, you’ll be doing more than 1.5 hr pool swims very shortly. I’m up for it when you can sustain a bit of running.

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