FKT: Ryan Niclasen - Bruce Trail, Niagara Section (ON, Canada) - 2021-05-15

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Total time
7h 55m 45s

The idea of running this route hard came to me when a group of us ran it for fun on August 1st 2019.  The idea for an fkt was proposed, so I applied for the route and it was accepted.  With races hear in Ontario all being canceled this spring, I decided to make this my goal race.  I found a 100 mile training plan and loosely followed it.  A few weeks in to training, Adam and I came up with a date for the attempt.  May 15th when hopefully the trails would be dry from April showers and not to hot yet.

It was a near perfect day. I woke up after a great nights sleep super excited for the challenge ahead but also nervous because I knew I had set a lofty goal for myself.

The first 5k flew by as I headed down the trails in search of Paul who would be with me for the next 25k or so. We met up and kept the pace at comfortably hard. At Woodend, my wife was there and I dropped off my vest and grabbed 2 handhelds.

Paul and I headed off towards the Glendale bridge. I was nervous the lift bridge might be up with a ship sailing underneath it so I pushed the pace a bit. As we approached the bridge, I saw a ship coming out of lock 3 from the north so I took off. Redlined for a while to cross the canal. Turned out, it was for nothing because the bridge was still down when we were a kilometer past.

At Decew house, Kara was there and handed me my running vest and I dropped off my handhelds. Paul stayed with me for another 2k than left me to run solo through Short Hills. The park was tough as the trails were already hard and full of ruts. In Short Hills I passed halfway and realized sub 8 was possible knowing the technical trails were still to come.

As I approached Rockway, Vaughn was there waiting for me who would be with me till the end. I switched handhelds with the vest again and drank some extra water. It was starting to get warm compared to the winter we had just been thru.

Running with Vaughn was great as we continued to push the pace. At Glen Rd, things changed and I started to feel rough. The technical trails in the area were taking a lot strength and I think I was also starting to get a bit dehydrated.

At 5th Ave, Kara was there and gave me my first tailwind with caffeine and I drank an extra bottle of water. At this point I thought I would be walk running it in to the finish. Things were not feeling good. We set off to Quarry Rd where I knew Eli would be joining us.

At Quarry Rd I drank more tailwind with caffeine and shortly after I started to feel a lot better. We met Adam a few k later who had run from the finish towards us. Things were looking a lot better and I knew if I could push hard to the finish a sub 8 was possible.

One last bottle swap with Kara at Mountain View Rd and all that was left was a hard 10k push to the finish. Caffeine was working its magic and I was feeling better than when I started. The 4 of us worked hard and were able to run a great last 10k. The encouragement from the guys at this point helped tremendously.

Thanks to everyone who I ran with all winter. From the Morningstar Mill runs to all the speed work and everything in between. Thanks to all the people who came out to give a cheering voice. Thanks to my pacers who made the day possible and most of all thanks to my wife who crewed me with a loving attitude and encouraged me all winter to keep working hard.

I would also like to add that I benefitted from a couple course changes from when Zack ran it.  In Woodend, there was a reroute off of private property and onto a farmers field which made the course about 2k shorter.  Also there is a temporary closure of the Bruce on the Welland Canal parkway just south of Glendale due to construction on the train bridge.  The reroute there also saved me about 2k.   I had no idea that was going to happen as it was announced the week of my attempt.  One other reroute added about half a k to my run right at the end because a foot bridge was closed which is due to be replaced in the future.  Also the trails now are probably more runable due to covid.  There has been a lot more people on the trails preventing any overgrowth from happening and they are generally wider now and more runable.

*I couldn't get the pictures to upload.  They are however on my strava file.