5 Peaks Trail Running Series: Sunpeaks Run Race Report

Saturday morning I had a few firsts for running. My first trail race. My first time going to and doing a run with a group of people I knew. My first time taking it easy and enjoying the scenery. My first time finishing a race without wanting to fall over.

Five of us crammed into my friend Carly’s small car and headed up the mountain together. Destination: Sunpeaks, British Columbia’s second largest four season resort. We got there a bit early, the race start wasn’t until 11 and we were there around 9:30. When registering we were given a little bell to put on our shoes, apparently it was supposed to keep the bears away. I guess last year there was a black bear sleeping right off the trail and none of the runners even noticed it. Then, on our way up the chairlift to the race start we saw a black bear in the trees! Needless to say, I was a little worried about running into a bear (literally).  


Finally, after an hour or so of standing around, enjoying the view and warming up, all 150 of us crowded towards the start line. They warned us of a steep hill at the beginning, but I was NOT prepared for how steep the hill was. It was a mountain. I didn’t get to enjoy much of the view at that point because I was busy staring at the shoes of the person in front of me and trying to tell myself in my head that I could do it. After 20 minutes of *steep* climbing, we were at the top. By this point my legs were dead, and I didn’t know if I’d be able to make it the last 5 km or so. I decided I was going to take it easy, have fun and enjoy the scenery. I had my camera in my hydration belt so I whipped it out a few times to take pictures of the gorgeous views.

Carly and Mira before the race, behind them is the mountain we climbed. Second picture is the view from the very top of the mountain, the village is at the bottom and we took the chairlift halfway up and then climbed the rest of the way! 



I settled in about 10 feet behind Carly and Mira, two girls I run with every week, and we had a bit of a downhill before another gradual climb. My legs were still dead from the first hill so I stopped and walked when I had to. Eventually the trail narrowed so small that it was barely big enough for one person. We were doing a bit of a zig-zag alternating between shaded tree-lined areas and open meadows with wildflowers growing in them. It was the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen. I was right behind Mira and we were going through a beautiful meadow so I decided to step off to the side and take a picture, about 10 runners went ahead of me at that point and so I was separated from the group. My legs were finally starting to feel better and I was able to pick up the pace.

Sean and Mira picking up the pace right after the mountain climb and one of the beautiful open meadows we ran through!



It had been raining in Kamloops all last week so the course was muddy, and at a few points we even had to run through little creeks where we literally skipped from rock to rock to get across. We entered another deeply wooded area and the next thing I know I can hear the announcers voice. I was banking on it taking me about 1:30 and this was at about 57 minutes so I figured his voice must have been carrying up the mountain. Nope. We came out of the wooded area and there was the finishing tent, only about half a km in front of me! So I picked up the pace to get up the last little hill and sprinted across the finish line.

One of the many creeks we had to run through/over and our view on the way back down the chairlift.



According to my stop watch I finished in 1:09 so I’m pretty happy with that. Also, some guy with a Garmin said it was actually 8.5K not 6.5K, so apparently I ran farther than I thought. The reason I banked on it taking me about 1:30 was because last year (the first year they ever had this race) the fastest woman did it in 1:03. There were only 75 people running last year, too. I think I could have pushed myself harder, and I kind of wish I would have rather than stopping to take pictures and walking so much. BUT, I also thought it would take way longer, if I’d known I could do it in about an hour I would have pushed harder. Oh well, if I do it next year I will know what’s coming at least! Overall, it was a great race. Definitely one of the most fun ones I’ve ever done!

After the race our run group went down the mountain and had some lunch while we watched the awards. During the awards they were also giving away a bunch of stuff and they were giving away a pair of women’s Salomon trail shoes in size 7.5 to the FIRST girl who went and soaked herself head-to-toe in water. SO, I ran to one of the bike wash stations and soaked myself till I was sopping wet and raced back and another girl beat me by about 10 seconds. She wasn’t even that wet, she just got sprayed on her shirt. So that was kind of a bummer, but I did get a Salomon running hat out of the deal, and I dried off quickly in the hot sun!

Of course, I wasn’t able to escape without a sunburn. I should know not to wear shirts with funny backs when I’m going to be outside all day.


It was a really fun day, I loved hanging out with other runners and people who I knew had been training for the event with me. It made the day that much more fun! We’re going to keep running different trails around Kamloops every Saturday for the rest of the summer so I’m looking forward to improving my hill climbing abilities!

16 Responses

  1. Morgan says:

    OMG that looks like SOOOOOOOOOOO much fun! Congrats on the great time!

  2. H-woman says:

    Looks like an AWESOME race! Count me in for next year. =)

  3. erin says:

    where was your sunscreen?! nonetheless — that looked like an awesome race. I’d just be paranoid of running into snakes…

  4. Wow, that looks like a gorgeous area!! Congrats on your time – you did awesome, especially considering how challenging the course was.

    Ouch – the sunburn looks painful. I hope it goes away quickly!

  5. Em says:

    You are awesome!!

  6. Lys says:

    that scenery is breathtaking! what a place to exercise in ! i would be way too distracted by everything around me to concentrate on running, haha, but congratulations on your time!

  7. haha, i got a funny sunburn yesterday too. sounds like a great race! i’ve always wanted to try a trail race. maybe this fall i’ll have to give it a shot.

  8. Sassy says:

    Sounds like a fun race. I’m really itching to do a trail race. Good work!

  9. Anais says:

    WOohoo!!!! That sounded like such a difficult trail…How do you not twist your ankle when doing trail running?? Anyways, I can’t believe how awesome your time was!! Oh, and by MY book, you should’ve had those free shoes 😛

  10. Ashley says:

    That looks beautiful. I’ve always been so intimidated by trail runs. Treat that sun burn with care!

  11. Heather C says:

    I would never plan on “racing” something like that either – too hard and too gorgeous to skip out on enjoying the scenery!! 🙂 The pics are awesome!

  12. shoshanah says:

    Congrats on your finish!

    The shoes are kind of funny, at least in a scary sort of way.

  13. Congrats on the trail run! The mountain and the view are beautiful. I was bummed for you not winning the pair of shoes. :s Hope your sunburn heals quickly.

  14. Amber says:

    Sounds awesome! Those views were gorgeous, you’re so lucky to live near mountains! 🙂 Hope the sunburn is feeling better!

  15. Melissa says:

    Wow Amber! what a beautiful view to have while running. congrats! I wish I was there to run with you …and to enjoy the beautiful scenery:)