When the Abbotsford Trail Running Club decided to cancel its grassroots race—the Valley Vertikiller, founded in 2017—the club started brainstorming a new idea to still be able to allow trail runners to experience a piece of the Vertikiller lore while staying safe during the ongoing pandemic.
The idea to offer the Verticuddler 10 kilometres Challenge was born to introduce the newest race distance while raising funds for the Central Fraser Valley Search and Rescue (CFVSR).
Like the Valley Vertikiller, which features long-distance courses of 20 km and 30 km showcasing the beautiful trail network on Sumas Mountain, the 10 km Verticuddler course includes steep single-track trails of varied technicality through the towering forest, over raging creeks and with stunning views of the Fraser Valley, with an elevation profile of over 430 metres of elevation gain.
Just when runners climb the third big hill, they come upon an adorable bear mascot, painted and donated by local artist Peter Wyse, to snatch a selfie with.
The way the Verticuddler challenge works is that the “verticuddlers” have the opportunity to run a flagged course as many times as they want between Oct. 3 and 31. If they succeed in running the exact route (which is traced using the Strava app), their run appears on the leaderboard on the verticuddler.ca website. The top three women and men will receive prizes, plus participants will be eligible for draw prizes.
In addition to the minimal registration fee, from which all proceeds go to CFVSR, runners had the chance to give an additional donation. Through the Verticuddler Challenge, the ATRC has raised $2,700.
The ATRC was founded in 2016 as “a bunch of runners who enjoy getting together and running the many beautiful trails the Fraser Valley has to offer,” stated Carlos Zamora, the founder and club president.
In 2020, the registered non-profit organization has a board of directors and over one hundred members. They offer several volunteer-led group runs per week, ranging from five km EZPZ Monday runs to steep, technical eight to 10 km Hills Thursday runs. Most of the year, these evening runs mean running with a headlamp over the roots and rocks of our local trail system.
In spring, they offer a Kickstarter clinic for runners interested in trying out trail running, with a five km distance range. This fall, the trail running clinic has focused on intermediate runners wanting to run eight km routes.
The club also does volunteer trail maintenance and offers a student bursary.