Spanning a distance of 50 km over four mountains, through creeks, boulders, snow and skree, the Knee Knacker ultra-marathon is aptly named, as it is not for the faint of heart.
Terrace’s Susan Moldenhauer knew she was in for a challenge when she applied to participate in the race, which took place just north of Vancouver on July 9th.
“It was my Ironman,” Moldenhauer said.
And she rose to the occasion, placing 12th in her age category and running an overall time of 7:49:22.
Moldenhauer starting training in January in preparation for the Knee Knacker run, which hosted 16,000 ft. of vertical climb and descent through Pacific Northwest rain forest.
Moldenhauer had initially applied to the ultra-marathon with a friend. However, due to the popularity of the Knee Knacker, participants are chosen via lottery style and only Moldenhauer was accepted.
“There was a lot of fear there because I have never done an event on my own,” she said. “So that’s a big fear, but I conquered it and I am quite proud of that.”
The race started at Horseshoe Bay and ended at Deep Cove; both locations are on or around sea level. At its height, the trail reaches 4,000 ft. at the peak of Black Mountain.
“It goes by so quick,” Moldenhauer explained of her almost eight-hour run. “Your mind is so focused on the trail and your footing that you’re not thinking of anything else expect for following that trail.”
However, she describes the moment she crossed the finish line as very rewarding.
“It was pure joy,” Moldenhauer said. “When I knew it was the final part of the trail it just hit me, and I was overcome with emotion.”
Moldenhauer said the entire experience was very empowering and something she would love to do again.
“I’m already thinking of next year, I’m just so excited about it,” she said.
Moldenhauer is also looking to take part in Colorado’s TransRockies run in 2012, where runners from across the world meet to take on the Colorado Rockies in a 190 km run.
The Knee Knacker was started in 1989 and has become one of the largest ultra-marathon races in Canada.