17 Sep Gros Morne – Trail Running Race
The Annual Gros Morne Trail Running Race
It all started in 2016. I had been running the East Coast Trail Ultra since its inception 2014 (2015 was the first official year) and had been knocking around a few ideas with the organizers for an event on the west coast… with Gros Morne National Park seeming like the right place to hold it.
I invited a few people out, I think we had roughly 10 people around the weekend for the first test run, and had notified Parks Canada about our intentions; 2016 we would do a rough run through the course and see what worked, and what didn’t. I can still recall Patrick and Caroline had just completed a 70 mile, and 100 mile race in Colorado, had flew back to St. John’s only to pack up the car and drive across the island. Tough bunch!!
We initial ran Green Gardens, and Gros Morrne Mountain, two trails in two days… but people felt there was enough time to add in another trail on the afternoon of the first day.
In 2017 after working diligently with Parks Canada staff in Gros Morne, we got the go ahead! We would run 3 trails over 2 days – Gros Morne Mountain (16km, 800 meters), Stuckless Pond & Lomond River Trail (15km, 200 meters), and Tablelands with the Lookout Trail (12km 400 meters).
Sadly, Green Gardens Trail due to maintenance issues had to be cut for the initial year, and replaced with the Tablelands portion. The race started with the Tablelands, which cut onto an ATV trail and lend into the lookout trail (located behind the Discover Center in Woody Point), before participants circled around Woody Point and ending at Galliot Studios. By chance, a cruise ship had just arrived who cheered on participants as they ran through the streets of Woody Point.
The afternoon of Day 1 it poured! I thought it would be fun to try and run this portion, as we had enough volunteers to cover the course without me. And did i mention it poured? Stuckless Pond and Lomond River are know to be muddy, fast trails… and they wouldn’t disappoint on the day. It was a muddy fun mess, with the boardwalks being a little annoying…. we had the fire places going at the finish in Lomond River camp ground, with hot chocolate and snacks. It was a great ending to a great day!
Day 2, we woke to clear skies!! Gros Morne Mountain portion would go ahead!! And what a beautiful day we had… the first runner finished the course in an hour and 33 minutes (1:33:09), with the last group coming in just over 3 hours.
Success! We didn’t have a huge crowd, 16 in the end, which was nice to work through some of the kinks. Most importantly everyone finished safely, and had an enjoyable weekend!!
On to 2018, September 15, and 16th!!
www.GrosMorneTrailRun.Com for more info.