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July 1st, 2015 ~ Vol. 85 No. 26
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Five local runners will attempt
to solo the Sinister 7
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Herald archive photo
Racers take off during last year’s Sinister 7 Ultra + Relay. This year’s race is slated for July 11 with almost 1500 runners from all over the world descending on the Pass for the grueling 100-mile race.
EZRA BLACK
Pass Herald Reporter
On July 11, almost 1500 runners from all over the world will descend on the Pass for the Sinister 7 Ultra, a grueling 100-mile race.
A total of 204 teams will be competing; they have the luxury of dividing the running between up to seven members, but 180 hardy souls will be running solo. Five of them, Sasha and Craig Harriet, Susan Lowe Wilde, Colin McManus and Suzanne Wemp, are locals.
“I would not call this a beginner’s race by any means,” says race organizer Brian Gallant. “Every hundred-miler is tough but this is particularly tough because of the type of trail and elevation.”
From the starting line in front of Gazebo Park in Blairmore, the racers have 30 hours to complete the course, which runs all over the Pass from Hastings Ridge, through the remains of the Lost Creek fire, near Saddle Mountain, Mount Tecumseh and Crowsnest Mountain to the finish line at the Coleman Sports Complex.
The race has seven stages, which range in length from about 11 to 37 kilometres. The races highest point is about 5,700 metres above the start elevation.
Gallant says an average of 25 to 30 per cent of soloists complete the race. The rest drop out for a number of reasons including foot injuries, fatigue, gastro intestinal issues and mental strain.
In fact, according to a recent report in The International Journal of Sports Medicine and Exercise Immunology Review by Dr. Ricardo Costa, of the University of Monash, extreme endurance exercise such as ultra-marathons can lead to blood poisoning.
His study compared a five-day Spanish ultra-marathon competition in extreme heat with a Scottish 24-hour ultra-marathon in more temperate conditions.
continued below ...
Blood samples taken before and after the events, compared with a control group, showed that exercise over a prolonged period of time causes changes to the gut wall allowing bacteria in the gut to leak into the bloodstream. This triggers an inflammatory response similar to blood poisoning.
The danger is greatest for inexperienced runners as being fit and following a gradual training program enables individuals to develop stronger immune systems to counteract the inflammatory reaction.
Then there’s the mental game.
“Most of the reasons people drop out are mental,” says Gallant. “They become so fatigued that their minds give them a million reasons to stop.”
About 180 volunteers will help organize the event, helping out with everything from registration, to manning checkpoints, to rescuing wayward runners.
“It’s a lot of fun,” says Gallant. “That’s the reason people come to help out, they enjoy being around the runners and they’re a spirited group of people.”
Start time is 7 a.m.
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July 1st ~ Vol. 85 No. 26
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