The Whistler Alpine Meadows 50km is a new race in 2016 from the Coast Mountain Trail Series. Featuring over 3350m/ 11,000ft of vertical for the 50km course, this race has a tough elevation profile to say the least. But runners are rewarded with some of Whistler’s best alpine and glacier views, and the opportunity to race through terrain that has only been opened up in the last few years.
Hillsound brand ambassador, Pat Malaviarachchi, ran the 25km course on September 23rd, which boasts an impressive 1500m elevation profile. Hillsound caught up with Pat after the race to hear about his experience.
Hillsound: This is a new trail race from Coast Mountain Trail Series – how did you find the course? I noticed the elevation change was 1500m- well done!
Pat: Thanks! The course was fantastic – tough but easily among the most scenic I’ve encountered. There was a good mix of climbing, descending, smooth trail, and technical singletrack. The real prize was getting above the treeline and running through alpine meadows. Waterfalls, wildflowers, glacier-fed lakes, this race had it all.
H: What made you want to run this race?
P: This was on entirely new terrain for me so there was a nice element of the unknown. The course runs on the relatively new Skywalk Trail system (opened in 2014) so it was exciting to explore that for the first time.
H: What was your training like in the lead up?
P: I’d spent most of the summer hiking and scrambling and didn’t have many proper running miles under my belt. Fortunately given the elevation profile of this course, it worked out okay!
H: What was your game plan going into this race and how did you feel about your performance?
P: I wanted to start conservatively as the day began with a big climb into the alpine. The plan was to save my strength for the long descent back into Whistler valley. It went reasonably well with only a brief double-leg crampfest with a few km’s to go.
H: Was this familiar terrain for you- do you trail run in Whistler often?
P: I’ve run a bunch on the Whistler side but not the Rainbow Mountain side, where this race was. On a clear day, you’d have great views of Whistler-Blackcomb across the valley. While we didn’t get that, we did have a fantastic thermal inversion and got to run above the clouds for big parts of the day.
H: Did you glimpse the glacier at the end?
P: Yes, it’s the only race I know of in Canada where you get to run to a glacier! As another example of how epic the course was, the aid station near the glacier had supplies heli-dropped in!
H: Any other upcoming races we should look out for you in?
P: My calendar is wide open at the moment and I’m in planning mode. Thanks for the support as always!
H: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Pat. Congratulations again!
You can learn more about this and other races from the Coast Mountain Trail Series on their website.