CLARENVILLE, N.L. — An epic Liminality endurance race in Clarenville on Saturday, June 2, was a historic event.
It was also an extremely long event. And likely a very tiring event for its participants.
The Liminality race was the longest trail race in Newfoundland and Labrador history, with three different categories — one at 4.3-miles long, another at 8.3-miles, and the last coming in at a whopping 50-miles long.
Organizer Robert Pond told The Packet he put in countless hours preparing for the large-scale trail race. He began putting the wheels in motion last fall after thinking about the possibilities for about a year.
“The majority of the work was with a small committee of people, high school students as well, but there are a lot of people I need to give shout outs to — Trevor Coates, Michael Spurrell, Richard Churchill, Jeff Roberts, Daniel Layte, Noah Bruce — a lot of these guys put in a lot of work for me,” he said.
Pond himself says he always wanted to do something like this, and when he realized that for anything longer than a 50-kilometre race you had to leave the province, he wanted to do the extreme distance race in Clarenville. He says there was a 67-kilometre race in Deer Lake, but now this is the longest in the province’s history.
The 50-miles worked on a loop, stretching from a noon start to as late as midnight that night.
Many of the runners, like Clarenville’s Jesse Avery who ran the 8.3-mile, had to adjust from traditional road racing to trail racing. He says the challenge interested him.
Avery told The Packet he’s good friends with Pond, so he wanted to be involved.
Last Wednesday, along with a friend, he took to the trails to get in some practice time.
“I’ve done a half-marathon before and I’ve done some decent distance races, but after running the (trail) race on Wednesday, I find it’s a different type of difficult,” he said. “In road races, you can kind of go into auto-pilot, you don’t have to be paying attention to what you’re running on, but you always have to be focused in a trail race.
“You’ve got to be looking if there’s a stump, if there’s a rock, where to go. So it’s double the focus, it takes double the skill for sure.”
As for the individuals who ran the enormous 50-mile portion, experienced runner Dan Meades came out from St. John’s to take part in the race.
He jokes, to prepare for this type of thing, you never just get out of bed ready to run 50-miles.
“You put in the hours, you put in the training and you try to get strong and ready,” Meades told The Packet.
“It’s a really cool way to spend your day and test your limits.”
Turnout for the run was phenomenal with 160-plus people registered throughout the three categories and many coming from all parts of the province to participate.
Pond says he hopes this great atmosphere carries through and the momentum builds into next year.
“That’s the whole idea.”
Click this link for a “from-the-sidelines” account of the day of racing by Gaurav Madan.
• Mark Spurrell – 51:04
Female best time
• Michelle Mullaley – 51:14
• Trevor Coates – 1:14:11
Female best time
• Nicole Hollohan – 1:18:34
Three finished out of 17 runners:
• Seamus Boyd-Porter – 8:12:20
• Abraham Rodgers – 9:18:22
• Mike Russell – 10:04:42