Running: Finding Your Footing in Fernie, BC

Photo by Raven Eye Photography

Fernie lends itself to new adventures and activities. In terms of the great outdoors, there is everything you can imagine, squeezed tightly and conveniently into this great, yet relatively small valley. So it goes without saying that you’ll try something new from time to time, out of intrigue, or because someone you know seems to love it beyond your comprehension, whether you’re a fresh-faced newbie or a long-term local.

For summer, biking is an obvious choice. Bikes litter downtown, whether a townie taking an afternoon beer break by a patio, or a shiny full suspension proudly awaiting its adventurous new owner outside a store. Not to mention the bike chat which is ripe and invariably extreme sounding. What’s not to love?

However, like the battle round in The Voice, there’s a younger contestant taking to the ring. And increasingly, year on year, it’s sporting more of an even battle. Trail Running. The lesser known, but way more fun brother of road running, the Prince Harry of the Royals. Less six minute miles, heart rate zones, road crossings and orthotics, and more hiking hills, summiting crests, well-earned views and skipping over logs. What’s not to love?

World-wide, trail running and racing of every distance and variety is on the up, and Fernie is certainly one of the finest places to find your footing. Fernie at present has in excess of 300kms of single track, accessible to everyone, which throughout the summer months seemingly grows on a weekly basis. The Fernie Trails Alliance, landowners and locals work together to create a seriously extensive trail network. Trails pop up almost overnight, as the volunteer trail maintenance crew works like beavers to put in that must needed connector, a user friendly access route, an engineering feat of a bridge or create a whole new trail out of nowhere. Such a fantastic choice of trails puts a smile on the face of many a Fernie’ite, no more so than the explorative trail runner.

Such variety also makes for easy training, with many a jaunt turning into more of an intrepid adventure. And you aren’t alone, with more and more trail runners to explore with, and an increasing number of trail running events on Fernie’s sporting calendar to sign up for. Whether 10km or 80km, there’s a race for everyone and it’s amazing what a goal of a race will do to your game.

So if you have a road running background, take this summer as your chance to kick up your heels and run for the hills. Or you unfairly class yourself as “a non-runner,” dispel that myth, find a friend (two legged or four), and give it a go. From rolling to steep, twisting to straight up, root strewn to rocky, mountain cresting to river cruising, there is indeed a trail for everyone. A fantastic Fernie-fun single track trail that is.