Going the Distance: Running Events in Whistler

Going the Distance: Running Events in Whistler

You may know that Whistler is a world-class ski resort, but did you know it’s also a runner’s paradise?

With a wide variety of trails that cater to everyone from recreational runners to pros, Whistler’s fresh air and outdoor vibes are undeniably good for the heart and soul. My personal favourites are the paved Whistler Valley Trail network and the gravel trails that circle Lost Lake. While my deer-in-headlights depth perception forces me to tiptoe carefully through the rocky terrain of the Coast Mountains, our high alpine trails are loved by many locals.

Whistler hosts a number of local and international running events, the 2019 running calendar is packed with unique events that cater to various abilities and interests. The sheer number of events can make picking one feel like a daunting task, so we’re here to help with this handy guide:

Parkrun at GO Fest

Want to get the whole family involved? Look no further than Whistler’s Great Outdoor Festival, GO Fest. This family-friendly event falls within the Victoria Day Long weekend and celebrates getting everyone out to enjoy Whistler’s great outdoors.

Families running a race in Whistler

Family-friendly and fido approved. PHOTO MIKE CRANE

Fun Fact: Whistler parkrun will host a 5 kilometre timed run every Saturday throughout the summer, including over GO Fest weekend. Registration is not required, show up before 9 AM at Lost Lake Passivhaus to join in.  

Date: May 18, 2019

Difficulty: Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy.

Surface: Gravel.

Distances: 5 kilometres.

More Information and Registration

Whistler Half Marathon presented by Smartwool

The Whistler Half Marathon is one of Canada’s most scenic runs and a personal favourite of mine. There are five distances to choose from ranging from 1 kilometre to 30 kilometres (including a 21.1 kilometre half marathon, of course), making it welcoming for all levels.   

Don’t want to run? You can walk or opt to be an official cheer squad member.

Spectators cheering on runners in Whistler

Reminder for spectators: have fun, dress the part, create a sign – a good cheering squad can make all the difference. PHOTO MIKE CRANE

Date: June 1, 2019

Difficulty Rating: Tortoise to hare – there is something for everyone.

Surface: Pavement and gravel.  

Distances: 1 kilometre, 5 kilometre, 10 kilometre, 21.1 kilometre, 30 kilometre.

More Information and Registration

INSIDER TIP: Stay the Saturday night, the event continues on Sunday with a Dog Jog and Recoverrun.

Whistler X Triathlon

Looking for a new challenge? Whistler is excited to bring you the inaugural Whistler X Triathlon! Hosted by the Whistler Triathlon Club, this new off-road triathlon (that’s a swim, bike and run) will take place within the picturesque Lost Lake Park. If you are like me and prefer not to swim, find a pal or two and enter as a relay team.

Date: Sunday, June 9, 2019

Difficulty Rating: Moderate. A personal challenge if you don’t like one of the three.

Surface: Gravel and dirt.

Distances: Sport (750 metre swim, 13 kilometre bike, 5 kilometre run), Championship (1,500 metre swim, 26 kilometre bike, 10 kilometre run), plus Championship relay options.

More Information and Registration

Comfortably Numb Trail Running Race

This is a bucket list race for trail runners. It takes place on one of Whistler’s longest mountain biking trails, Comfortably Numb. The 23 kilometre (ish) singletrack trail offers progressive climbs, a few descents and numerous sweeping, mountain vistas. New this year, the course will include a descent down the Yumby Numby trail to finish in Whistler Village.

Runner at Comfortably Numb Trail run

Experience the 23+ kilometre Comfortably Numb course on foot. PHOTO MIKE CRANE

Date: June 15, 2019

Difficulty Rating: Butt burner. Not recommended for the average couch potato.

Surface: Alpine trail – rocky, uneven, technical at times.

Distances: 23+ kilometres.

More Information and Registration

Tough Mudder Classic & Tough Mudder 5K

This famous military-style obstacle course returns to the rugged Whistler Olympic Park for an epic 2-day weekend of events, featuring the Tough Mudder Classic and Tough Mudder 5K. Let’s be clear – this event is not a race, but a muddy adventure filled with wacky costumes, comradery and a great deal of high energy fun. No winners’ podium nor medals will be in sight, just a ton of iconic orange headbands that signify who’s crossed the finish line. They will be the Whistler fashion statement of the weekend!

A group celebrating at Tough Mudder Whistler

“Orange is the new black.” PHOTO WARREN ZELMAN

Date: June 15– 16, 2019

Difficulty Rating: Moderate to difficult. Tough Mudder is a personal adventure, will you accept the challenge?

Surface: Mud, mud and more mud, combined with muddy obstacles.

Distance: Tough Mudder 5K (5 kilometres + 13 obstacles) and Tough Mudder Classic (13 – 16 kilometres + 25 obstacles).

More Information and Registration

Red Bull 400 World Championships

This race is guaranteed to put your calves, quads and endurance to the ultimate test – it is the steepest 400-metre race in the world, taking you from the bottom to the top of the ski jump at Whistler Olympic Park. The concept may be simple but the execution is punishing! This year’s event will feature music, more sweat, a beer garden, air show and free shuttle from the Village.

Runners going up the ski ramp at Redbull 400

Get ready to discover the painful reality of 400 metres. PHOTO MIKE CRANE

Fun Fact: 400 metres is only a quarter mile but according to Insider Feet Banks, it feels like a marathon when you tilt it on a 37-degree angle.

Date: July 13, 2019

Difficulty Rating: Ultimate leg test. Don’t let the distance fool you!

Surface: Grasslands to wooden planks.

Distance: 400 metres.

More Information

5 Peaks Trail Running Series

To get to this race, you must take a gondola ride up Whistler Mountain and cross over to Blackcomb Mountain via the PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola. There you start your journey through wildflower meadows, past alpine lakes and up and over boulder fields, all with panoramic views of the Coast Mountains.

Runners going past Black Tusk in Whistler

Get off the road and spend some time in nature. PHOTO JUSTA JESKOVA

INSIDER TIP: Like many of Whistler’s events, this race is disposable cup-free! Please bring your own reusable cup or bottle.

Date: August 24, 2019

Difficulty Rating: Easy-breezy, these runs are for everyone.

Surface: Alpine trail – rocky, uneven, technical at times.

Distance: 6.6 kilometres Sports course, 10.6 kilometres Enduro course, 3 kilometre Kid’s Race, 1 kilometre Children’s Challenge

More Information and Registration

The North Face Valley to Peak Race

As the name suggests, this one involves going up, up and up. Starting at the base of Whistler Mountain, your challenge is to conquer the Top of the World trail. After running to the peak of Whistler Mountain you will race down to cross the finish line at the Roundhouse Lodge.

Date: August 31, 2019

Difficulty Rating: With a super casual elevation gain of 1,852 metres, the full distance is only recommended for well-trained runners! Shorter loops with less elevation are available for recreational runners.

Surface: Alpine trail – rocky, uneven, technical at times.

Distance: 22.5 kilometres main race. A 10 kilometres loop, 3 kilometres loop and a 1 kilometre Kids Fun loop also available (a valid lift pass is required).  

More Information and Registration

Whistler Alpine Meadows Races

If you are up for the challenge of long alpine climbs over rugged mountain terrain, then the Alpine Meadows Races could be for you. These races have it all, 25 kilometres to 175 kilometres(!), and are not shy on the elevation profile. The reward is experiencing the amazing landscapes of the Coast Mountains, expect to see glaciers, waterfalls and wildflowers.

Fun Fact: The 2019 event marks the first time for the killer 175 kilometres distance will be included in the race schedule. If you want elevation, this one’s for you.  

Dates: September 20 – 22, 2019

Difficulty Rating: Wow to Triple WAMMY.

Surface: Alpine trail – rocky, uneven, technical at times.

Distance: 25 kilometres, 55 kilometres, 110 kilometres, 175 kilometres, Triple WAMMY!

More Information and Registration 

Whistler Turkey Trot presented by Smartwool

Gravy is not a beverage? Say what! Signing up for this family-fun trot will make all of the indulging over Thanksgiving guilt-free. On this run, you will be served stunning views paired with the fresh aroma of autumn in the mountains. The event proudly supports Crohn’s and Colitis Canada.

Man running dressed as a turkey

Gobble Gobble! Turkey anyone? PHOTO ROB SHAER

Date: October 13, 2019

Difficulty Rating: Cream puff to cakewalk.

Surface: Gravel.

Distance: You can do the 5-kilometre Drumstick Dash or really run off the calories on the 10-kilometre Gravy Burner.

​More Information and Registration

Whistler 50 Relay & Ultra

This annual event held each fall in Whistler is a 50 mile relay race open to teams of eight, four, or two as well as solo ultra-marathoners. New for 2019, the Whistler 50 is changing up the course to include the incredible Lost Lake trails. This new course means all of the transitions will take place behind the rings at Whistler Olympic Plaza. Spectators can enjoy the comfort of the beer garden while cheering on their favourite athlete. With pre-race gatherings and post-race parties, this is a fun athletic event and a great, social weekend.

Participants having fun at the Whistler 50 Relay & Ultra

Keep moving forward as it only gets better. PHOTO MIKE CRANE

Date: October 19, 2019

Difficulty Rating: Walk in the park (relay) to extreme (solo ultra).

Surface: Paved and gravel.

Distance: 50 mile relay and 50 kilometre ultra marathon.

More Information and Registration

More Events:

 

Want More? Check out the Whistler events calendar. For help with planning your race-cation, check-out Whistler.com and get local help from the cool kids who live and race right here.

Tina Wickman

Tina Wickman

The call of the mountains brought this mix of city / country girl to Whistler over 5 years ago. Tina is spontaneous but overly plans, outdoorsy but has no problem hiding in a shopping mall, outgoing but enjoys the quiet peace of reading a novel. She is genuinely curious and will often find out a persons life story over a pint of beer.

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