Running the Phantom

After I had written my thoughts about running I decided to give a trail race a go. It’s getting a little late in the season so there are not that many local races going on. Still I did find a race run by Mountain Madness called the Phantom Run As with everything that I do it was a last minute decision to run the Phantom and I just managed to squeeze in my registration before the deadline. The Phantom run has three separate races to choose from, 12km, 19km and 24km. Of course being a glutton for punishment I chose the 24km. All of the races looped through various trails throughout the lower Seymour conservation reserve in North Vancouver. Even though I have spent lots of time photographing on Mt. Seymour I had never actually visited the lower sections so the whole race was an adventure.

So how did the race go? Well I seem to have a problem with pacing myself. The start was fast and furious and since I keep thinking that I’m a 30 something Olympic athlete who is in prime condition, I was pooped after about 2km. I ran well for the first few km following the pace of a guy that was obviously in better running condition than I, still I kept the pace until the inevitable happened. The guy in front of me had taken the wrong turn. Since I wasn’t paying much attention I thought nothing of the direction until the small group that was ahead of us at the start suddenly appeared running the opposite direction. It would seem that we were not the only ones who had taken the wrong trail. I looked behind me and there was a small group of runners all as confused as I. Everyone turned around and away we went back to the last junction in the trail. Getting lost put a bit a damper on the start as I now had to catch up and hopefully pass a few people on some single track. The trail itself was a mix of gravel road down to single track with lots of puddles, roots and rocks. All in all it was a tremendous amount of fun.

Somewhere on the internet I had read that moving yours arms a lot while zipping down hill improved balance, I decided to give it a shot. I must have looked quite funny running as fast as I could down steep sections with my arms flapping in the wind. But you know the technique seemed to work very well for me and it felt like I was flying. Equally funny is that my arms now hurt as much as my legs do. I wish the same could be said about running up hill, flapping arms up hill doesn’t help at all. Both down hill and up hill sections I kept a good pace I seem to have more of a problem keeping my speed on the flat sections. Still it was my first trail run and overall I was happy with my time of 2hr:28min, placing 30th out of a field of 90. I’m really looking forward to the next event.

For details of the route be sure to visit

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