Going the Distance: Running Events in Whistler

Going the Distance: Running Events in Whistler

Updated February 2020

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 2020 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.

Just get out there. PHOTO WHISTLER PARK RUN / JIM BUDGE

Fun Fact: Whistler parkrun will host a 5-kilometre timed, fun 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 16, 2020

Difficulty: Easy-peasy, lemon squeezy

Surface: Gravel

Distances: 5 KM

More Information

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 6, 2020

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

Surface: Pavement and gravel 

Distances: 1 KM, 5 KM, 10 KM, 21.1 KM, 30 KM

More Information and Registration

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

Whistler X Triathlon

After huge success in its inaugural year (2019), the Whistler X Triathlon is thrilled to be back to host their 2nd triathlon. Athletes get ready, as the 2020 event is a qualifier for the 2021 ITU World Championships in Townsville, Australia.

A runner races down a rocky path in the Whistler X Tri.

The trick is to smile and make it look easy. PHOTO WHISTLER X TRIATHLON

Date: Sunday, June 14, 2020

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

Surface: Gravel and dirt

Distances: Sport (750 M swim, 12 KM bike, 5 KM run), Championship (1,500 M swim, 24 KM bike, 10 KM 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 25-kilometre singletrack trail offers progressive climbs, a few descents and numerous sweeping, mountain vistas. New for this year, the post-race celebrations will be hosted at the new finish line at Spruce Grove Park, only 2 kilometres from Whistler Village. 

Runner at Comfortably Numb Trail run

Experience the 25 kilometre Comfortably Numb course on foot. PHOTO MIKE CRANE

Date: June 20, 2020

Difficulty Rating: Butt burner – not recommended for the average couch potato

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

Distances: 25 KM

More Information and Registration

Red Bull 400 Whistler

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 11, 2020

Difficulty Rating: Ultimate leg test – don’t let the distance fool you!

Surface: Grasslands to wooden planks

Distance: 400 M

More Information

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.

The views just might be worth the effort. PHOTO NORTH FACE VALLEY TO PEAK RACE

Date: July 25, 2020

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 KM main race, 10 KM loop, 3 KM loop and a 1 KM Kids Fun loop (a valid lift pass is required) 

More Information and Registration

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 22, 2020

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

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

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

More Information and Registration

Spartan Mountain Series

Get ready and get physical as Spartan hits the slopes of Whistler Blackcomb! This obstacle course styled-race is not just a fun day in the mud, it’s a racing event that involves a full body workout that will test your mind and endurance levels. They have events for the seasoned racer, casual mountaineer and beginner with their; Super, Sprint, Hurricane Heat and Kids Race categories.

Date: September 19 – 20, 2020

Difficulty Rating: Moderate to difficult, designed for those with something to prove

Surface: Alpine trail – combined with obstacles to push your limits

Distance: Super: 10 KM with 25 Obstacles, Sprint: 5 KM with 20 obstacles, Hurricane Heat, Kids Race: 3, 1.5 and 1 KM options (based on age)

More Information and Registration

Rotary Brandywine Boogie

Run, walk or cheer! Participants get ready to be blown away by the natural beauty of this feel-good, community 10 KM run / walk travelling the Sea to Sky trail from Cheakamus to the Cal-Cheek Camp Ground.

Fun Fact: The Rotary Club of Whistler Millennium are the proud organizers of the Brandywine Boogie and 100% of profits go to charity.

Date: September 19

Difficulty Rating: Plain sailing hike through the forest with a competitive edge for the enthusiastic challenger.

Surface: Mostly level gravel trail with the occasional single track and overall downhill direction.

Distances: 10 KM

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, from 25-kilometre to 100-mile (161 kilometres) options, and they are not shy on the elevation profile either (the Ascent race is a doable 5.75 kilometre race on paper but pair this with a steady climb of 1,200 metres and you may find you require buns of steel.) The reward is experiencing the amazing landscapes of the Coast Mountains, expect to see glaciers, waterfalls and wildflowers.

The view is just a little distracting. PHOTO BRIAN MCCURDY

Fun Fact: If one race is not enough, participants can sign up for the Triple WAMMY! and receive three days of joyful bliss, including the Friday Ascent, Saturday 25 kilometres, Sunday 55 kilometres. Totalling 85.75 kilometres; 4,750 metres of ascent and 3,550 metres of descent.

Dates: September 25 – 27, 2020

Difficulty Rating: Wow to Triple WAMMY

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

Distance: 25 KM, 55 KM, 110 KM, 100 Mile, 5.75 KM Ascent Race, 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 11, 2020

Difficulty Rating: Cream puff to cakewalk

Surface: Gravel

Distance: You can do the 5 KM Drumstick Dash or really run off the calories on the 10 KM 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 or four as well as a solo 50 KM ultra-marathoners. In 2019, the Whistler 50 changed up the course to include the incredible Lost Lake trails, with all of the transitions taking 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 17, 2020

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

Surface: Paved and gravel

Distance: 50 Mile relay and 50 KM 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 person's life story over a pint of beer.

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