Run to the Hills: The Whistler Race-cation

Run to the Hills: The Whistler Race-cation

Tighten up those shoelaces and start stretching out your hamstrings, fitness events are fast becoming some of the hottest shindigs of the summer and as Whistler’s race and fitness season kicks off the new trend seems to be “race-cations.”

“I think health consciousness is important in the times we live in,” says Willow Bloomquist, a Qualicum Beach, BC mother currently training for the Whistler Tough Mudder. “And with the rise of social media, it can be isolating. It’s important to find ways to get together with people as a group and spend time together in a tangible way. And if it’s doing something healthy together all the more power to you.”

2015 marks the third year Willow’s team of gym mates (awesomely named ‘Snatch Attack’) will race-cation in Whistler and they have their routine dialed. “Everyone is pretty mellow Friday night because it’s an early start Saturday for the race. We go out in Whistler Village to celebrate as a team on Saturday night and Sunday is when everyone tries to experience Whistler by hitting the Farmers’ Market or doing some yoga or going to the spa.”


Photos: Mike Crane

The idea of tagging a few days of Whistler fun before or after a physically demanding race or event makes sense. But this summer will also see the continued rise of the “train-cation” as well, where athletes signed up to compete in events like the Subaru IRONMAN® Canada or the Whistler 50 Relay and Ultra trail run will come to town well before their event to get a taste of what they’re in for.

“For an event like Ironman, a lot of athletes have anxiety over what they have heard for the bike course,” says Annemarie Alf of UPRISE Performance Camps. “People hear the course is difficult or hilly so we thought it would be good to hold a course preview camp to help ease these fears and educate them on how to train for them.”

UPRISE camps compliment the running or biking training sessions with education on everything from diet and nutrition to mobility and injury prevention, but Annemarie says an important aspect is also letting the participants enjoy Whistler’s more laid-back offerings too.


Photos courtesy Uprise Performance Camp.

“We do try to incorporate that vacation feel into it,” she says. “Training amongst the mountain views and glacial lakes is gorgeous but we also want people to experience all the life in the Village with the shopping and dining and patios. A social aspect allows people to make new friends or training partners but also, these can be family events where maybe the Dad is an Ironman competitor and the rest of the family can come enjoy the other things Whistler has to offer.”

With a dozen running, racing and fitness events slated for the summer calendar there’s ample opportunity to combine a little healthy living into your summer vacation plans, with or without the kids.

“Our Tough Mudder team is a lot of women and mothers,” explains Willow Bloomquist. “It’s never easy to leave your child with your husband or inlaws to go do something that could be seen as self-centered but for me, it’s empowering to come up for these kinds of events. Definitely easier to ask someone to watch the kids for four days while I go do something super challenging and healthy than saying ‘hey can you take them while I go to Vegas and drink my face off.”

Have you got a race-cation in you? Check out this list of Whistler’s upcoming running and fitness events and take a gander at this gnary new one, the Redbull400 — billed as the steepest race on the planet. As always, Whistler.com is the place for all your accommodation needs and other cool Whistler activities.


Team “Snatch Attack” up to some Whistler shenanigans. WILLOW BLOOMQUIST PHOTOS

Feet Banks

Feet Banks

Feet Banks moved to Whistler at age 12 so his parents could live the dream and ski as much as possible. He ended up living it too. After leaving home Feet did a few good stints in warmer climates and 4 years of writing school before returning to the mountains to make ski movies, hammer out a journalism career and avoid the 9-5 lifestyle as long as possible. He’s been a hay farmer, a hole digger, a magazine editor and has a jump named after him on Blackcomb Mountain, Feet’s Air. It’s tiny.

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