The Mighty Quail Trail is basically a 100 kilometre torture test with postcard views to keep one from calling it quits part way through.
The inaugural event held on Saturday isn’t for everyone.
“It’s going to be bloody hard,” said Stacey Cleveland, one of four organizers of the inaugural race. “We have warned everybody from the start that it’s a tough race. A lot of it is going to be hiking. You wouldn’t be able to run it. The terrain is so steep.”
On the events blog, Mighty Quail Trail 100K, organizers wrote the course links some of the finest singletrack trails in the Okanagan Valley.
“This epic course will be both challenging and gruelling. But, for those fearless enough to take it on, the rewards will be huge. Expect sweeping views with massive elevation changes on a variety of trail surfaces from buff to boulders.”
The 50 runners will begin their pursuit of completing the run starting at 6 a.m. at Skaha Lake Park with a cut off time 18 hours later at the Penticton Yacht Club. There are other cutoff times to make. Even the name plays into the challenge the race is expected to be.
“The idea of the Mighty Quail is just a bit cheeky,” said Cleveland. “It’s not a walk in the park.”
Cleveland said the name comes from wanting something quirky and fun, while the Okanagan has quail in the area.
Of the 50 athletes running, it’s expected only half will finish. Organizers capped the race pack at 50 for a few reasons, including that they wanted to keep the first event small. The race, a fundraiser with proceeds going to Penticton Search and Rescue this year, is being done to show people Penticton has a large amount of trails.
“As far as long distance running, trail running, Penticton is not known for trail running,” said Andrew Dingwall, co-organizer of the Mighty Quail. “We just want to put it out there that it’s a great destination for trail events. You don’t have to do just laps on the Three Blind Mice. There are other trails to explore and put something on that is reasonably priced. Kind of take a little bit of all the best experiences that we have had in all the races we have done into one race.”
Cleveland said the KVR is great for what it is.
“If you are a trail runner who likes single track, it’s nice to get off the KVR,” she said. “We do have these incredible trails here to check out. Nice to get the word out that the trails exist.”
The first person to cross the finish line will win a locally made statue of a quail as well as a hydration pack for the top male and female. They will also have run prizes for categories. A crazy quail will be given to a participant that completes the Mighty Quail as well as the Summerland Sweets 7.4 kilometre race. There are two people who are going to attempt both.
Event organizers want the public to be aware that pink flagging and trail markers will be used to indicate the course. For the safety of the participants, they ask that you do not tamper with these trail markers. All race signage will be removed immediately following the event.
Organizers are also seeking a couple extra volunteers to help out. Anyone interested in helping can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.