A group of Comox Valley athletes travelled to Oahu, Hawaii to compete in the XTERRA Half Marathon Trail Running World Championships as part of Team ELM Canada in late November.
“Congratulations go to Niki Flynn, Emily Morris, Donna deBellefeuille, Kim Senechal and Trina Bay, of Team ELM, for reaching their dream goal of training and racing in the XTERRA Trail Running World Championships,” said Sarah Seads of Equilibrium Lifestyle Management.
“On race morning the team got their first view of the Kualoa mountains of Oahu – steep, razor-edged and loaded with jungle foliage from mountain top right down to the sea. It was a spectacular sight!” Seads said.
“The temperature was perfect – not too hot, not too humid and with a nice breeze blowing off the water. The race was very well organized and included multiple aid stations on the course as well as a generous post race refueling station at the finish line,” Seads said.
“There were close to 2,000 racers at the start line, divided between multiple distances from one mile all the way up to the 21K mountain race.
The race began at 9 a.m. with 950 half marathon racers taking off first followed by the remaining 1,000 5K and 10K racers. After a beautiful and unique Hawaiian blessing we burst out of the gates, over the cattle guards and up into the hills on the first of many climbs,” Seads said.
“For every hill we ran up, we were immediately rewarded with a fun, fast downhill section as the course was continuously changing between up and down. About two-thirds into the course the route became more exposed, the temperature climbed to hot and the trail veered steadily upward. We knew this was coming and were mentally prepared for the BIG hill at mile10,” Seads said.
“Our pacing and preparation paid off because the hill did not seem daunting at all! We had heard so much about it and planned to save something for it, that once we reached the hill we were all pleasantly surprised how manageable it really was for us. It was great to know all of our training had paid off during the hardest parts of the course.
“It was awesome to get to see each member of Team ELM (and our other Comox Valley friends Cathy Clark and John Ingram) come running down the homestretch and across the finish line. Every one of them looked strong! Team ELM rocked their race day plans and finished looking and feeling great – congratulations!”
Team ELM trained with coach Seads for 14 weeks leading up to their goal event at the end of November. Their program included weekly coached hill and speed work sessions, a trail racing workshop and a detailed day-by-day training plan to help them reach their off-road half marathon race goals.
ELM will once again be offering this training plan in preparation for the 2014 XTERRA World Championships on Dec. 7. For information, go to www.elmhealth.com.