Discussion: Charlotte's Bruce Trail Run
in: Adventure Racing; General;
At sunrise tomorrow, Charlotte Vasarhelyi - whom many Ontarians know through ultrarunning, adventure running and adventure racing - will start running the Bruce Trail from Kilometre 0 in Tobermory, Ontario. She will run in daylight hours and average over 80 km of trail running each day until she reaches Queenston about 900 km later.
Charlotte is the current overall solo record holder for running the Bruce Trail, which follows the Niagara Escarpment. The trail changes slightly over time as landowners change and becomes more interesting (often slower) as better routes are found to follow the escarpment more closely. I don't know yet what the exact length is in 2012 but when she ran it two years ago, the trail was 894 km long and took her 13 days 10 hours 51 minutes to run end to end. That was almost a full day faster than the previous record.
Having learned from that experience, she is setting out tomorrow with the plan of breaking her own record with the help of a dedicated support crew captain, her new husband Chris Phillips.
Some Attackpointers will be helping her - pacing her, driving support vehicles and providing base camps for her brief overnight stops. Frankenjack, Baloney, Trav, Goose, 'Bent and I have assignments on the official planning spreadsheet and I suspect others will pitch in as she moves along the escarpment.
Daily updates will be posted to Monumental Effort
(nothing there yet), and Twitter updates will use hashtag #charbruce. The support crew has set up a Twitter account so this will likely be the best place for realtime info. If you're on Twitter, feel free to jump in with encouragement or questions - even if you don't know Charlotte! She isn't on Attackpoint but we can share this AP discussion with her too - probably not as often during the run though.
Here's the Twitter discussion
. No need to be on Twitter to read the tweets.
Amazing! Wish her all the best.
I forgot to mention that several years ago, Charlotte also earned the record for running the Bruce Trail as part of a relay. The Blaze Run set the record for running the Bruce Trail as a relay team (about 3 days 23 hours) and raised money for charity. It was organized by Zoolander and included other Attackpointers including Baloney, Hansel, Hammer, Super, Tarno, Frankenjack and others who are welcome to jump in here because I'm too lazy to dig up the full list of 20 runners! Coach Trav also played a key role, as he did with the Sulphur Springs 100-mile relay record last weekend.
And she's off! Charlotte left the Bruce trailhead at Tobermory at 5:44 a.m. Not the nicest weekend for a rocky, technical run but it's better than last weekend's hot weather.
Hey when does she pass through here? I would love run with her, or cheer her on.
I'll e-mail you. The plan is to finish in Kolapore on Wed. night.
Btw she did 84.8 km in 15 hrs 5 min on her first leg today. She's in Lion's Head now.
Incredible and inspiring feat! All the best to ultrachar.
She left Lion's Head in the rain at 5:38. Last night's e-mail said that yesterday's rocky trail was wet and very slippery so she took it slowly.
Ang, we both ran the first part of today's trail in the Bruce Peninsula Multisport Race. It is going to be another tough day through wet, rugged terrain. Tonight's goal is Wiarton. Each day is planned to be a little over 80K - a daily 50-miler!
80 km day after day...can't imagine. I remember how rugged the trail was and how close to the edge of the cliffs.
Charlotte and I ran together from Lions Head on the first night of the blaze. It was the first leg of the relay for both of us and we left just after 9 pm, finishing I think just after midnight. We both thought the trail was really nice but since the sun went down in the first ten minutes it was hard to be sure. I'm glad one of us has seen it in daylight now.
The best way to follow Charlotte realtime is by following Twitter
. No need to be on Twitter to read it. If you have a moment, I'm sure she'd love some tweets of encouragement.
Btw Charlotte left Wiarton at 5:50 a.m. today after running 166 km over the past two days. The Bruce Peninsula is some of the most consistently rugged terrain on the Bruce, and she had rainy, slippery days so it was slow going. She's got another 80+ km day scheduled!
Ouch! An hour of extra running yesterday due to sketchy marking of a re-routed section of trail.
Oh no. Thanks for keeping us posted.
Where will she be Sunday?
On Sunday she is planning to do 80K finishing at Burlington City Park so she'll be passing through the Milton area. When you're running a 50-miler every day, the schedule is not written in stone but that's what our highly detailed planning spreadsheet says!
I figure it may change. Thanks! I will confirm with you on Sat at five peaks. Would be nice to meet her for a run along the trails.
Day 3 wrap-up- stopped at Inglis Falls. 77.1km 15hr 55min. 3day total 243km #charbruce
Charlotte Vasarhelyi is my new hero !!!
Bash: do you know if there is her tentative daily schedule? I would like to cheer her on or may be even run with her!
I have her plan and a phone # where you could text her support crew chief to get current location, etc. I won't post it online but if someone e-mails me for specific info, I'm happy to send it.
Charlotte loves support and encouragement! However, a note of caution... Endurance athletes will appreciate that what she is doing is *really* difficult and all-consuming both physically and mentally. It's draining for core members of her support crew as well. She is on the trail 15-16 hours each day, and it's hard to sleep and eat well after running that much.
I remember from her last record attempt that it was important for those of us without assigned roles on a given day to avoid interference (e.g. taking up too much of the support crew's time and energy) and to be completely self-sufficient. For example, if someone other than Char's assigned pacer joins her for a 20K stretch of trail, the crew may not have time or vehicle space to shuttle that person back to where he/she started. So it's great when people join in but they need to plan a loop, drop off a bike or bring a friend so they can do their own shuttle. You don't want to use up any of the team's resources. For example, the crew meets her at "checkpoints" but they may not have enough water or food to resupply more runners than they've planned for.
Char may not have the energy to make conversation beyond "Hi, how are you?" even though she is happy to have people around and know that they care. At other times, she may want to chat. We let her take the lead. She's the one with sleep deprivation and sore feet!
So as long as you approach it with those caveats in mind, I know she'd be thrilled to be surrounded by more support on this long journey! :)
Unfortunately, Charlotte has been forced to halt her Bruce Trail run.
Southern Ontarians will remember the exceptionally heavy rain and flooding last Friday. The north end of the Bruce Trail is very rugged and rocky - more of a scramble than a run, even on the best days. The team experienced very slick trail conditions and sections of bushwhacking; they also did an extra hour of running on Day 2 due to a poorly marked reroute. This difficult section of trail is always hard on runners' bodies - but this time it was even harder One of her pacers - a top ultrarunner - commented that it put a lot of stress on hips and ITB, and he had to go for physio when he got home.
Somewhere in the slippery scrambling, Charlotte's hamstrings were strained. As one of Canada's most experienced long distance runners, she has a high pain threshold and knows her body very well. By Day 4, with almost 300 km of the 900 km trail under her belt, she realized that the pain was unusual. it was time to seek medical attention.
Some reasons for leg pain in runners can be very serious - or even life threatening, like blood clots. Over the past two days, Charlotte has been through a battery of tests and consulted with four doctors. Fortunately, the most serious problems were ruled out, and this morning she was feeling ready to head back to the trail if the doctor agreed. "It's not about the record - it's about the journey."
However, the doctor advised that her injured hamstrings needed time to heal - that to continue could have an impact on her future running. No journey is worth that, of course. She made the smart decision and is heading home now.
In addition to Charlotte's training, she and her husband Chris spent months putting together a detailed plan for this record attempt. They have had committed support from 20-30 close friends and family members who were ready to pace on the trail, drive vehicles and provide meals and accommodation for the team. It isn't easy to get to the start of such a huge endeavour - but it is even harder to stop when you really, really want to go on.
All the best to Char. She is making a smart call and I'll look forward to seeing her on the trails again soon.
If anyone wants to post a message for her, I'll send her a link to this page in a few days.
Sad that she had to stop but 300k of bruce trail is awesome! I agree, journey is more important than the end result & am sure she would be back soon to finish up the journey! All the best to Char.
Very sad to hear. But Charlotte you are amazing. You already hold the record and I have no doubt you will break it in the future.
See you at the next Ultra. Heal up quick!
I saw another thread about "what was the hardest thing you've done in AR" and I was surprised not to see a lot of "had to quit because of X". Give me all the punishment and exhaustion but don't set me up to be done before I'm done. Props to Charlotte for making the tough right call.
Agreed, very sad to hear. Glad that ultimately she is OK, and hope she heals quick and is back on the trails soon :-)
Char - you're an amazing inspiration and that includes making the right decisions at the right time! Heal up and you'll be back out there before you know it!
I am inspired not only by the challenge she took on but equally by her ability not to be 'blinded' by the finish and to make the smart call.... getting to the start is tough, taking your eye off of the finish is tougher! The trail (and many others) will be there tomorrow.
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