Fat Dog 120 mile

Fat Dog 120 mile

Fat Dog 120 mile

( 1 review )
100% of reviewers recommend this race


Agassiz, Canada
14 9
"Fat Dog 120 mile race review"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management
Willa 's thoughts:

It's official. I'm a Fat Dog! 120 miles with elevation gain just shy of Everest. 46 hours and 4 minutes of digging deep and pushing through.

My Fat Dog adventure began Thursday morning at Manning Park Lodge for package pickup and UBC fit testing. Then we all headed up to Princeton for the mandatory race meeting and rest up for the night before the long weekend ahead.

The race meeting got me both fired up and nervous, but it was very cool to be among so many 100+ mile veteran athletes.

Extremely grateful to Michael Senior for letting me camp out with him for the night! The managers of the motel were amazing- got breakfast organized for us an hour earlier than usual so we could be well fueled for the day. Farm fresh hard boiled eggs, waffles and fruit and maple syrup, yogurt- they went all out to feed us!

We hopped on the bus and headed out to the start line (about 30 kms outside of Keremeos). My pack weighed a ton and I was really hating that I only had my heavy gore tex jacket instead of the light as air ones everyone else was carrying!

Once the race started, we were straight into the climb. Up and over Red Mountain. It was hot and muggy and I felt slow and my legs were already feeling heavy (main reason I do not like to taper). The views were outstanding though and well worth the effort in the 30+ degree heat.

I managed to pace myself with a woman named Francine, who has completed seven 100- mile races- oh ya she is also a grandma!!! Humbling to be able to file in with her. She gave me a great mantra for completing distance races- "Start slow, hold back, settle in, work hard, finish strong!" This stayed with me throughout the entire weekend.

On our way down from Red Mtn the rain and thunderstorms began. We made it into the first aid station and fueled up quickly as the torrential downpour and thunder and lighting raged above us. What would have been a 40 km stretch of nice runnable terrain turned into knee deep mud with extreme winds and freezing rain, resulting in us all falling multiple times and sliding and slopping our way slowly.

Volunteers at the aid stations were amazing! Wrapping us in emergency space blankets to preserve body heat and serving us grilled quesadillas, hot soups and broth, coffee and anything else they could to keep us happy. I love each and every one of them!

The following section took us down really steep muddy embankments - many a bum slide was had by me during this part- and across a river. I crossed the river at 9 pm and ran a 2 km section of highway 3 to the entrance to manning park. This is where I met up with my first pacer Craig Frizzle who was going to accompany me up the next section of the course and keep me on track timing- wise. It was a 19 km steep uphill climb in the forest in the dark. I was grateful I had him with me as it was a bit creepy in the woods at night.

Made it to the top just before 4 am, well before the time cutoff. This section is another place where many people dropped out because of the cold. It was whiteout and blizzard conditions mixed with freezing rain on an exposed ridge for about 50 km. I managed to keep warm and dry enough to keep moving. I saw a cougar early that morning, crossing in front of me. Pretty amazing.

Had a rapid descent from the ridge because I was concerned about the time cutoff to the next section which was 18 km away. I ran quick and managed to make it down in under 3 hours, two and a half hours before the time cutoff.

I was grateful to finally have a dry pair of socks and shoes to put on at this point (I had been in the rain for over 24 hours). The volunteers at the aid station were once again amazing- cooking up hot quesadillas and soups for us to warm up and stay nourished.

The next 8 km I made up some time and stayed ahead of the cut offs and met up with my next pacer Chris Hardy for the 37 km section ahead. This section was the most runnable but I did not initially think I would be able to run (already being 125 km in to the race). However Chris and Kyle Conway pushed me to keep going and I managed to run/ walk/ shuffle my way to the final cut off point at the base of the Skyline trail in Manning, almost 3 hours ahead of the cutoff, buying me some extra time for the huge task still ahead of me: 33 km of big steep climbing over 7 summits through the night.

My final pacer Mike Jones met me here and we began to ascend for what felt like forever in the darkness. I was feeling the sleep deprivation (by that time I had been awake and running for over 30 hours). Every bush or stump looked like a person, a bear, an elk, or a building or vehicle. I think I actually managed to sleep while running for a few minutes- what a weird experience. One neat thing was that it had finally cleared up and you could see all the stars and the Perseid meteor shower happening- very cool.

Once dawn broke and I was on my way down the final peak towards the finish, I realized that I was actually going to finish this race. It was surreal. I never expected to make it this far through the race and so the thought of finishing was overwhelming. I managed to run the entire last 8 km down to Lightning Lake and across the finish line, where Johnnie and Toby and many friends were waiting. I cried. It was just an extraordinarily emotional feeling to have completed this event. I was finished in 46 hours and 4 minutes, well ahead of the 48 hour cutoff.

I have to say a huge thanks to everyone who supported me this weekend! I could not have done this without you guys!

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