Injured but too stubborn to give up, Erica Summers walked the last eight of her first 50-kilometre ultramarathon on the East Coast Trail in St. John’s.
Now she’s looking forward to the Steep Ultra in September 2020, her next challenge at home.
Race director Michaela Pye and other organizers believe it's time to show off to out-of-province running competitors some of the mountainous areas in western Newfoundland while giving locals an opportunity to try ultra running.
Running enthusiasts can take on one of the hardest mountainous routes in North America, winding in and near Corner Brook, next Labour Day weekend, Sept. 5.
Since opening registration for Steep Ultra, a 50-kilometre race and a 100-kilometre race, there were 63 registrants up to Tuesday of last week.
Steep Ultra will provide the first-ever 100-kilometre course in the province.
Summers said this course is steeper than the one in St. John’s and will live up to its name.
She has run portions of the course before and will be practicing on it come the spring.
“Having this race here is definitely an advantage for locals,” she said.
The 31-year-old maintains a base line of fitness and will continue with swimming, skiing and snowshoeing throughout the winter, before hitting the trails in March.
Summers is proud this event will showcase trails in the area and the beauty of Corner Brook and the Humber Valley area.
She has run many different distances, including road and trail races, but feels the 50-kilometre mountainous trail is best suited for her.
“I like to see what my body is able to do, and I think I’ll be sticking to that distance for a little while,” Summers said.
Pye said people from all over Canada and several from the United States have registered, and they’re encouraging more local people to get involved.
She said race organizers have a great safety plan and trained medical support will staff all stations along the route.
The 100-kilometre course is out-and-back style, traversing four mountain peaks, twice.
Twenty-four-year-old Pye, who is originally from Deer Lake, runs ultra courses on a regular basis. She started with the 50-kilometre run in St. John’s, but has raced a 330-kilometre course in Washington with 45,000 feet of traverse.
She’s ran races in Utah and Alaska, along with several in British Columbia.
“We need to share our beautiful trails and get ‘Come from Aways’ in to see our scenic terrain,” Pye said. “It presents a great opportunity to boost tourism.”