September 2014
September 29, 2014

The Hillsound team caught up with Pat Malaviarachchi after his successful finish of the Sky Pilot race hosted by Coast Mountain Trail Series on the 21st September. Here’s our interview with Hillsound’s local brand ambassador:

H: Hi Pat! Congratulations for completing the race in 16th place! How do you feel?

P: Thanks! I was really pleased with how it went. The perfect weather, stunning course, and racer camaraderie made for a great day of playing in the mountains. Gary Robbins and the team at Coast Mountain Sports have dialed-in how to create great events.

H: Were you always an active person?

P: I was reasonably active as a youngster but became much more so in my late twenties and thirties, especially after moving to BC. It’s hard to restrain yourself when surrounded by so much mind-blowing terrain!

H: I know that you are a mountain biker as well, but what kinds of other sports were you involved with in school, community, etc before you got into ultra-running?

P: I never really embraced team sports and was equally horrible at individual sports in high school. In fact, I loathed running and dreaded our annual cross country run. As I got older, I realized that any modest natural talent I had was not in speed but rather endurance. I’m a slow twitch muscle fibre kind of guy. Before getting into ultras, I used to adventure race, mountain bike, road bike, and dabble in some rock climbing.

H: What does staying active and healthy mean to you?

P: Staying active is massively important to me. There’s no better stress release than exerting yourself to a point where all extraneous thoughts melt away and you’re forced to focus on the task at hand. It’s like having a mental reset. I find the more you do, the more you realize you can do, and this can eventually snowball into a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.

                                      On one of the rope sections early on (image credit: Enzo Federico)

H: When you’re training, do you have any favourite songs you like to listen to?

P: I actually don’t listen to music while running. I know it can provide extra inspiration or distraction but I find I need neither. I’m usually training with very hyper friends and we generally chat our way through the forest.

H: What’s the process like for you to be preparing for a race like this? (You don’t need to reveal your personal secrets!)

P: Normally it starts with a Google Earth flyover of the race course. It gives a great 3D sense of the terrain and can do a lot to improve course familiarity. Virtual simulations only go so far though. For a technical race like Sky Pilot with big climbs and descents, I tried to incorporate as much hill work as possible into my training, ideally on mountain scrambles. Compared to ultras, the 18 km distance is a bit of a sprint so I made sure to throw in some faster fartlek-type running on trails into my training.

H: Are you known as “that active guy” among your friends, or are all your friends as active as you?

P: I lived in Ontario before moving to BC and back there, I was very much known as the crazy mountain biker or extreme adventure racer. Out here though, I’m just another guy enjoying the great outdoors. On one of my first runs on the north shore, I saw a couple probably in their mid-60’s hammering down some gnarly single track on their mountain bikes. It was a beautiful thing.

Approaching the ridge up to Mount Habrich (image credit: Coast Mountain Sports)

                         Approaching the ridge up to Mount Habrich (image credit: Coast Mountain Sports)

H: I know that the ultra-running community is huge, but I feel that it is also quite close knit. Do you get to meet a lot of people and stay in touch after these races? Did you see any familiar faces at this one?

P: Definitely. These kinds of races are basically trail runner reunion parties. The community is very close knit but equally open to newcomers. Trail runs are frequently being organized on Facebook. Before long, you may find yourself sharing an epic 10hr adventure with someone you just met in the ultra-running community.

H: In what ways was this race challenging, but also rewarding in the end?

P: The race was made challenging by the steepness of the climbs and gnarliness of a few boulder field crossings. It’s one thing to casually walk across boulders on a hike, quite another to negotiate them as fast as possible with the clock ticking. You had to be light on your feet and find a zen-like flow. The most rewarding aspect of the race was the magnificent view from the alpine ridges that overlook Howe Sound, the Sky Pilot massif, and Mount Habrich – BC trail running at its finest!

H: Thank you for your time Pat! Keep us posted on your next races and congratulations again!

P: Thank you for the opportunity!

At the finish line with Race Director, Gary Robbins (image credit: Coast Mountain Sports)

                  At the finish line with Race Director, Gary Robbins (image credit: Coast Mountain Sports)

Find out more about Pat on our Ambassadors page!

September 10, 2014

Here’s your chance to win a pair of our FreeSteps6 river traction devices! Simply click on the image below and post a comment on the photo through Facebook to enter.

For anglers, the eco-friendly FreeSteps6 provides secure grip on rocks and river slime and does not transfer invasive aquactic species when rinsed after use. You can read more information about these anti-slip traction aides on our Product Information page.

September 3, 2014

Here at Hillsound HQ, we’re excited to celebrate several recent athlete ambassador victories. John Tribbia, Stevie Kremer and Marshall Thomson had top finishes in the La Maratona Verticale (The Vertical Marathon), Skyrunning World Championships and Power of Four 50K respectively.

At the end of July, ultra runner and Hillsound athlete, John Tribbia, competed against elite runners from around the globe and took first place in the La Maratona Verticale at Copper Mountain. The Colorado race is part of the 2014 US Skyrunner Series, which encompasses five Sky, five Ultra and three Vertical K races that are distributed across the country. The win placed Tribbia in a great position earning 100 series points for the next race in the series, which will take place in Big Sky, Montana on September 12th.

Elevation distance runner, Stevie Kremertook the women’s combined title in the 2014 Skyrunning World Championships, a series of European endurance mountain races with a minimum altitude of 6,561 feet. Kremer dominated among the competition and finished second in the Vertical K and a third in the Mont-Blanc Marathon. In 2013, Kremer was the Skyrunner World Series Champion and also won the Mont Blanc Marathon in Chamonix, France, and the Pikes Peak Marathon in Colorado. During the winter months, Kremer competes in ski mountaineer races to train during the running off-season.

Ultra runner and ski mountaineer athlete, Marshall Thompson defended his first place title in the Aspen Power of Four 50K, where he destroyed his own record for the 31-mile course that ascended almost 10,000 feet and covered all four ski areas in Aspen and Snowmass. Thomson squeezed the event in just before he left to compete in another race in Switzerland.

“We are so honored to have such a talented group of athletes and are blown away by all of their amazing finishes,” said Hillsound Sales and Marketing Manager Jessica Greinke. “They truly are elite athletes and exemplify what it means to be a top competitor.”

You can read more about our inspiring Brand Ambassadors on our Hillsound Ambassadors page.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Marshall Thomas