The course is unique for how much of the course is singletrack. Runners will enjoy running on dedicated running, hiking and mtb trails. What makes this race so special is the culture amongst the organizers and volunteers—professional, positive, and fun.
The first 10km of the race is on flat singletrack and gravel road. This section is one of very few flat sections included in this course, so if you are feeling good, take advantage! The remainder of the day will require a heavier load on climbing and descending muscles than your flat running systems.
After the first aid station, the course takes runners onto the Coho Trail where it starts to roll upwards to the base of DeBeck's climb. The climb to the top of DeBeck's Hill is (noticeably) the steepest of the day. From the summit of DeBeck's, head down a wide gravel trail to a junction, then finish the descent on challenging, steep singletrack to a false flat which takes you into the second aid.
From aid 2 in Alice Lake Provincial Park, follow the lake shore then a rolling circuit past 3 more small lakes. The forest here is a fern-filled wonderland, be sure to take a look around as you bounce down these soft trails. The first climb is a set of steep switchbacks as you leave the park and head to higher elevations and the third aid station. From the top of the climb, continue running on mostly flat trail through to aid station 3.
From aid station 3, you start a ~10k lollipop loop back into Alice Lake Park. The "stick" of the lollypop is a gentle downhill grade into the loop and a long false flat out of it. The end of the lollipop is more technical running, with about half of the loop climbing, then a technical descent to finish the 3k loop. Head back out of the park on a gentle uphill grade back to the aid station.
From aid station 4 (same as aid station 3) there is a long false flat on gravel road to the base of Galactic Scheisse
where you'll start the longest climb of the day. Expect to take 1.5 to 2.5 hours between aid 1 and aid 2 as you tackle the long climb and technical descent on the other side.
From aid station 5 there are 5 kms of rolling, mostly downhill and fun singletrack which take you into the party at aid 6: Quest University. Quest is also nearly the halfway point.
Leaving aid 6, the climbing starts almost immediately along a couple kms of gravel road then back onto singletrack as the climb heads up on switchbacks. This climb is not the most prominent, or steepest, but seems to go forever as there are a few flatter sections along the way before the trail continues to head farther up the mountain. Finally, you'll reach the top 8 km later, and head downhill 2-3 more km into aid 7.
From aid 7 there is no more flat terrain until the last 2 km of the race. There is a small 100 m climb, then a long descent, which turns upward again on the climb up Mount Crumpet. This climb is roughly 300 m and nicely graded. A long gentle descent takes you into the final aid station at farside.
From aid 8 to the end, there are 2 more significant climbs of around 200-300 m of elevation. The first of these climbs is immediately out of aid station 8, which will enable you to take it on with some rested(ish) legs. The section between the climbs rolls gently downward for 3 km then turns upward for the final climb up Mountain of Phelgm. The final climb starts soft and progressively increases in grade with some short, punchy steeps which feel a little harder than usual on your tired legs. The summit finally comes after a final steep section, and is indicated by a wooden viewing deck. Take a moment to enjoy the view if you aren't in a rush. Otherwise, start the steep descent off the mountain of phlegm, which eventually levels out through Smoke Bluffs and onto the final and flat section of the course to the finish line.
This course is fantastic. If you are fit and motivated, then it is 95% runable. For the rest of us, this is a nice mix of running and power hiking.
Technical descending and power hiking skills are an asset on this course.
This race was born out of the Stormy Squamish Ultra and started in 2012 with RD Gary Robbins creating a fresh course and changing the name to Squamish 50.