On September 6th, 2014, I ran the new 5 Peaks trail race at the Kortright Centre for Conservation in Vaughn, Ontario. The Enduro race was two laps around a 6.5km course for a total distance of 13km. I registered on a whim at the last possible minute before the registration cutoff. This was my second 5 Peaks, my first was Albion Hills Enduro in 2013 (my first ever trail race). The race started at 10am, the latest start time of any race that I've run. Which was great for me since I woke up with a sore throat and head cold. I'm used to 7:30am gun times, so I appreciated the extra sleep and time to clear the fog of sickness. I planned on being at the race an hour early - BUT - arrived with only 7 minutes to the start time. The 400 North from Toronto to Vaughn was CLOSED! This made my 35 minute drive turn into a 90 minute traffic freak out. By the time I made it to Kortright, I was a nervous wreck. I gave myself 30 seconds to get my shoes, socks, and water in order. Locked the car and made a mad dash to registration. Chip timer wrapped around my ankle, bib pinned in place, slip into the back of the 2nd wave and we were off! Not a minute of downtime, but once we were moving I was able to zen out and forget the troubles of the morning.
Kortight is a lovely green space in the suburbia of Vaughn. It's hard to believe the massive shopping palace of Vaughn Mills is just a few clicks away. The conservation area is very lush with a great mix of meadow, forest, swamp and ravines. It had rained hard all night so there was plenty of mud (not as much as TNC ECSON) but there was a surprise water feature on the course. Fitness blogger Iron Rogue included an excellent photo of it in his race report. It was a refreshing dip that the Enduro course ran through twice that cleaned up the mud from the previous kms.
The course has lots of pleasant dips, turns, and ascents. It's not too technical and has a only a few hills to contend with - I was warned there was a huge one at some point, but after running up Blue Mountain pretty much everything else feels like a molehill. I ran my second lap in a negative split and crossed the finish line in 1 hour 27 mins, placing 11th in my age group. A good time overall considering this was a spontaneous race paired with a sore throat and sinus congestion.
There's always a happy-go-lucky vibe at 5 Peaks events, but are some serious runners at these events. The top women in my age category are amazing. Laid back and lightning fast. There's a real community to trail running. I don't know anyone at these events, but every race feels like I'm running with old friends. I'm looking forward to trying out the 5 Peaks course at Rattlesnake Point in 2015.