Back in June the Burly Trail Runners entered their first ever multi-leg adventure relay. Two of us (Thomas and myself) had raced this event in previous years and already knew what a well put together event this was. This type of team event is totally up the Burly trail runner alley so with some planning, spreadsheet making and bribing we got together 8 brave souls to tackle this full day event!
The Moraine is a race covering 160kms on the Oakridges Moraine Trail system. The race is made up of 14 legs that include Canoe, Mountain Biking, Hybrid Biking and Trail/Road running. For our team we paired each runner with another on our team as a ‘buddy’ so that all running legs were run in pairs and the bike legs solo. It was an exhausting day with everyone clocking lots of miles on their feet and wheels.
RACE DAY RECAP
Our day began at 4:30am in Burlington, Ontario where the team assembled into a buddy system of vehicles. It was a very humid morning already with thunderstorms and heavy rain already in the early morning forecast.
Our drive was around 2.5hours to the start at Rice Lake in Gores Landing, Ontario. A town so small if you blinked you would miss it. Our team parked our vehicles and unloaded our canoe and race required materials for this first leg (Bailey, whistle, rope..safety first guys!). We registered our team then prayed to the weather gods that the rain would stop.
Thankfully the sky’s cleared right before race start! The race organisers made some short announcements, got the canoeing pairs lined up, then began the opening parade to the tune of 2 bagpipes. Perfect touch to get everyone excited and ready to go!
Our canoeing pair for leg 1 was Dan and Bryan. They had only had 1 brief practice together so we were just hoping they would stay IN the canoe for this leg! The guys did fantastic (other than being wayyyyy overdressed lol!) And finished the leg dry but exhausted (8km of paddling!)
The next leg started in a flash with David on the mountain bike. I had remembered last year’s race and how bikers were complaining about how Sandy the trail was so I made sure to put David on this leg as he enjoys a challenge. He killed this 18km leg in 1 Hour 4mins for a 3rd place finish.
Legs 3,4 and 5 were all running legs at 10k, 6k and 9k respectively. Jennifer, Trisha and Shawn were the registered runners for these legs and each completed them in great times and flashing smiles (Even though Shawn got lost and ran 12K instead of 9K!)! The trails were all fairly groomed and mostly wide double track but man were they ever Sandy! Leg 3 was 10k of practically running on a beach…and with the humidity in the air it would have easily felt like we were running in Jamaica!
Legs 6, 7 & 8 were back to back biking legs with Bryan, David and Patricia (Hybrid) heading back out and all doing fantastic on difficult terrain.
By the time we hit leg 8 we were all starting to feel the heat. We took a break here while Trisha headed out for her hybrid bike leg to eat some lunch and attempt to hide from the blazing sun we wished for earlier!
Legs 9 & 10 we were back on the trails running with Jessica & Dan heading out. Our team played it smart with the heat and we calmed down our pace and made sure to bring hydration with us on these legs even though they were short. This proved to be handy when we came across a runner from another team who had been out of water for a while and was hurting. We helped out the runner by filling up their water bottle and made 100% sure they were OK to continue on.
On leg 11 Bryan was back out on his bike. At this point the sun was starting to set so we got a little relief from the heat, but the humidity stuck around, just to make it a little hard on us!
Leg 12, Thomas FINALLY got to head out for his run leg. He absolutely killed the course in 36 minutes and finishing 4th overall amongst all the other teams.
The final Mountain biking leg of the day went to David once again. despite the long day he still had a solid 4th place finish in this leg and gave our final runner, Jennifer, a bit of daylight to start the final running leg.
Leg 14, the last leg and running leg of the race was a mix of road and a little bit of trail. The distance was 10.5K but after already completely 2 previous 10K legs (Leg 3 and buddy on leg 9) Jennifer was spent! But still she powered through with the help of her buddy Dan pacing her and finished in 59 Minutes. Good enough for 11th place. Highlight of this run was the short trail portion in the dark, lite up by fireflies!
In the end the Burly Trail runners placed 16th out of 38 Teams (13 Hours 22 Minutes). A very respectable finish for first time entrants. We learned quite a bit this year and look forward to a more competitive finish for next year (More canoeing practice and less getting lost!!!)
Dan created a video of the day for your viewing. Take a minute to watch then think about entering a team for next years event. We will see you at the start line!