Of all the stages in the Sport, this is the one that scares me. It is a 13.4km “technical trail run”. Another term for it would be “insanely difficult trail run”. Stages 3 and 4 were also trail runs, but on groomed paths. I’ve never run Baden Hills, but if I know Lloyd, it will be lots of very steep elevation changes, single track trails both up and down through the bush, and lots of rocks, stumps, etc. to trip one up.
The stage takes place at Baden Hills Regional Forest in the Township of Wilmot. The area looks small, but there are lots of hiking trails here. Also some challenging hills. I’ve never run here before; all the stage locations are new to me this year. The ENDURrun Ultimate equivalent stage used to take place at Chicopee Ski Hill, but they no longer want running events to happen there, so the stage has moved here.
As far as last Saturday the big worry this week was the weather. Last week it was projected to be raining every day this week. Depending on the severity, there was a chance that this course would be deemed too dangerous to run and the permit cancelled. The weather cleared up for all the other stages, but major thunderstorms and rainfall were forecast for right around the start of the race (5:30pm). The race director informed us that the Township would make a decision at noon whether to allow us to run the stage. At noon, the forecast was that the rain would start around 6:00pm, so our race time was still a go.
I arrived at the site about an hour early and walked up to the start. There were some very dark skies towards the west, which is where the storm was coming from. Temperatures were still quite high, 25 degrees Celsius, and a bit humid. The only thing we all could talk about was the weather. At around 5:00pm, the rain began, and it was torrential! Soon the thunder and lightning followed. At that point, we all gathered under two large tents and discussed options. The race director said there isn’t any way the stage can continue, with so much lightning and thunder happening. We had some discussions about what to do with the stage, whether to run it on another day (we had a rest day on Friday), but in the end he deemed it best to cancel the stage.
I’ll have to admit, I wasn’t all that sad. Giving my legs (in particular my hamstring) more time to rest bodes well for the rest of the week. I was a bit disappointed to not have seen the course, but I’ll see it another day. We all helped the volunteers pack everything up in the pouring rain, and headed home. I went back to my rental unit, had a shower and some dinner, then headed back to Toronto to spend the rest day with family.
- Official Time: 0:00:0 (DNS)
Official photos of the stage are located here