Seek the Peak 2013
Seek the Peak is one of my favourite races and 2013 was no exception. A record 804 participants ran 16km from Ambleside Park in West Vancouver up 1225 meters to the peak of Grouse Mountain. The weather was much kinder this year than the past two. Bright, sunny and not too warm.
Leg 1 starts adjacent to the sports fields at Ambleside and connects to the Capilano Pacific Trail on a mix of asphalt, crushed gravel and short sections of wooded trail. After 4km the work begins with Leg 2 continuing up the CPT and then veering off onto the wooded Shinglebolt Trail. This section of trails rolls with some short technical descents. Agile and arguably fearless trail runners will make up some time here just remember to call your pass.
After rising up to grassy field at Capilano Dam the route trudges 1.6km up Nancy Greene Way – possibly one of the toughest parts of the course as it challenges you mentally. Fortunately on race day lots of people are out cheering you on, which is a huge help on the climb.
For some reason the Grouse Grind section to me almost feels like a reprieve. This may be because I love to climb and my legs have so much muscle memory in them that I can clear my head and turn the race over to my legs. The Grind is still the Grind though and it can really challenge you as racers scale 900m of elevation over 3km of distance. And the climbing isn’t over there.
The final leg takes you from the main Grouse Mountain chalet and wraps up to the peak before racers cut the breaks descending back down to the main chalet and finish area. This was my 3rd consecutive year racing Seek the Peak and there were some great highlights:
- an extra day to pick up race kit
- Raincoast Crisps in the swag bag
- pre-race warm up
- BC Cancer Foundation as the charitable partner
- helpful and energetic volunteers
- race medals for the first time
There are two main adjustments I would make from an organizational perspective:
- each of the past 3 years the finish line has been in different spot, which is completely fine however, you could not see the 2012 or 2013 finish lines until you were within about 30m of them. Having a sign on course with 400m – 500m to go would give runners an indication of how far they are and when to start their finishing kick.
- race photography, even if it is only the finish line, to me is key to a first class race experience.
Overall, I was very happy with the race and super impressed with the record participant turn out. I battle through a seized right calf to finish in 1:52:51 – a personal best!