Buckin’ Hell 50k Race Report – Heather LeFriec

Race: Buckin’ Hell 50k

Runner: Heather LeFriec

Race Date: 07/27/2019

Location: North Vancouver, BC

Results: FINISHED-10:15

buckin hell 50k race report

3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

This was my first 50k and I was not expecting the climb and how long it was going to take me! Even though I was not expecting the it

  1. The technicality of the route was the best
  2. The location-North Vancouver (Deep Cove) is spectacular
  3. The climbing (8,500 ft)

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

The amount of time it took me to finish! Even though I loved how challenging the route and how technical the course was– I was not expecting it to be so technical so I thought I’d be finished a lot sooner –I was not prepared to be out there for 10 hours

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

The weirdest thing for me was how quiet the trail runners are (especially compared to road runners)- I was running with my friend and we can get pretty chatty, so everyone we’d encounter with during the race, we wanted to start a conversation with, most were not interested in talking. ;-///

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

I love endurance events so (even though it took me way longer than I was expecting) I did start to enjoy myself more at about 6 hours into the race. Mentally I start to get tougher the longer I’m out there so second 5 hours were much more enjoyable than the first 5 hours.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

You should definitely be prepared for technical climbing–I’d spend a lot of time on the Stair Mill if I were to do it again! This race is not just a trail 50k. I’d suggest researching Gary Robbins races (incredible but so hard). You would definitely benefit from poles in this race.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

I learned that I need good trail shoes. I also learned that the aid stations have most of what I need and I way over packed on food/fuel. I also learned that you need to run when you can because there is a lot of climbing up and descent in this race that really slowed me down.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

8,500 feet of technical climbing and descent, train for technical climbing

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Beautiful! Its was one of the most beautiful areas I’ve ever run in. British Colombia is always beautiful but most of this course was in the middle of a plush, lush, green forest

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

YES!!! it was a beast —I’d say very hard! This was my first 50k and I had no idea how much climbing this particular race had. I learned that Gary Robbins’ races are HARD!

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

YES!! It was excellent on all levels. The course markings were incredible. You never went more than 60 seconds without seeing flagging so there was no chance of going off course. The aid stations were so great too, and helpful– well stocked and I discovered how much I like pickle juice! GREAT RACE!

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Even though I was in the back of the pack –there seemed to be competitive women and I know it counts for 3 UTMB points (I only know this because my husband is trying to gather points)

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

The race did fill and cap but it didn’t cap until a week before race day! I was supposed to do Broken Goat 50k the weekend before but I didn’t make it there because my husband couldn’t go so I scoured the internet and found Buckin Hell 50k and registered 7 days before race day but there were only a few spots left at that point. We secured an airbnb just 10 minutes from race start no problem! Deep Cove (North Vancouver) is so beautiful and easy to get to (besides the 5 pm Friday traffic through downtown Vancouver)

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

They were great! Well stocked and the volunteers were so helpful–they even grabbed my bottles and filled them at every station- is that normal?

Weather and typical race conditions

75? Humid but since you’re in the forest, no sun which was nice! I did hear that the year before was SUPER HOT and in 2017 there was ice !!

Gear – Did you need anything special or is there anything you’d recommend for the next guy?

No, but I did wish I had poles in just a few spots and better trail shoes!

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Not really? I only noticed spectators at the start and finish, and a few at Mt. Seymour (about 20 miles in)

How’s the Swag?

Finisher’s medal and a beer glass. The medal is a bottle opener! I was bummed no shirt! They had several items for sale!

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

10/10 YES!!! Now we want to do the Broken Goat 50k!

Heather LeFriec is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about her or to work with Coach Heather, check out her coaching page.

buckin hell 50k race report