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An Ultra Eye Opener… Seaton Trail 52km

I decided that it would be best to give myself a few days to write about this one.

Signing up for the Seaton Trail Ultra-marathon (52k race) was a part of a long-term plan leading up to a spring-season full marathon race in May.

The plan…

Take on something more challenging than the full marathon distance with enough time for recovery and adaptation before the targeted spring full marathon. With any luck, the marathon might seem a little easier.

It’s definitely not a new concept. But this ultra-marathon business is certainly new to me…

So the goal is to finish… That’s it.

I’m standing at the line with several people who appear to be quite familiar with what I am about to realize is pure madness.

No frills…

No start gun, no pre-race rituals, not even a starting LINE.

“Follow the markers. If you don’t see them, you’re off the course. Good luck. Ready, Go!”

Awesome. Really it is. These people are running for pure joy. A community of ultra-distance junkies, getting their fix from fresh air and exercise.

And when I say “community” I really do mean it. These are some of the friendliest people I’ve met at any endurance event. Suddenly, I can understand how some people get hooked.

A Humbling Experience…

Speed and efficiency through form don’t count for much here if you’re not willing to trudge through knee deep water, and get plenty dirty.

Even still, don’t be surprised to find yourself trailing behind others you might otherwise run circles around in a typical road race.

Endurance definitely takes on new meaning here. But if you’re up for the challenge, it’s definitely worth it.

The good news…

52 kilometres of trail running over fairly “unforgiving” terrain is likely far more difficult than any full marathon road race, yet the recovery seems to be much faster.

As challenging as it may be, calling on our legs to carry us this far on the soft surfaces of the trail seems to do much less damage than pounding the pavement for only half the distance.

This in itself is enough to make me thirsty for more! Perhaps though, not quite 52 kilometres more… at least not for a while.

Kudos to all those Running Free folks who took on the challenge! It was awesome to see so many of us out there on the course!

Happy training! See you on the trails… maybe.



I’m 26 years old. I have a beautiful girlfriend who doesn’t mind coming out to long races in the extreme heat or pouring rain, and splitting the grocery bill with me and my 4000 calorie / day vegan diet. I’m a triathlete from the ankles up. I started out as a very biomechanically inefficient runner… the worst you’ve ever seen, I guarantee. I’ve somehow managed to drag my pancake-flat feet through marathons, triathlons, and even a 400 kilometre 10-day charity fundraiser run. Shifting the focus away from running though, and training as a triathlete has helped to keep me injury free for the last 3 years. It’s even made me a little faster on my feet. Aside from swimming, cycling and running, I like travel, yoga, and surfing. In 2006, my girlfriend and I lived in Japan and went surfing every week… unfortunately, there is no surfing in Markham.

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  • Congrats on your race…or should I say experience Derek.
    Now I gotta ask, what kind of twisted logic made you think that doing 52k, on difficult trails no less, would somehow better prepare you for a spring full?
    LOL! You are a crazy man!
    See you at the races bro.


  • Dereck, obviously you did recover very well, based on your performance at the 5k Legacy race yesterday…you’re the man!

  • Thanks Mike! LOL. I’m not sure what made me think that… I think I might be desperate, and am at this point, willing to do anything that might help to improve my fatigue rate.

    Kelly! Thanks so much. It was an absolute pleasure to run with such an amazing community!

    Laurent! Likewise brother!! You had a great run 🙂 It was awesome to warm up with you before the race as well.

    Lots of fun!

    Thanks for reading / posting everyone 🙂 Hope to see you all on Friday!!

  • Awesome run Derek
    It was my first go at an ultra too
    Congrats on the top ten finish

  • Way to go Derek, great seeing you out there and also great to hear you enjoyed yourself!


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