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International racers take on trail

Ultra running group visits upper Sunshine Coast
FLEET FOOTED: French adventurer Christophe Le Saux and Canadian ultra runner Tiffany Saibil are bringing an international trail running group to participate in a timed stage race of the Sunshine Coast Trail September 7 to 11. Le Saux and Saibil have organized races and trail running camps around the world. This is their second event in Canada. After completing the group race, Le Saux will run the entire trail again in an attempt to beat the current fastest time. Contributed photo

An international group of ultra runners will be taking part in a timed stage race of Powell River’s Sunshine Coast Trail early next month.

Led by French trail runner/adventurer Christophe Le Saux and ultra runner Tiffany Saibil, the multi-day race will be self-sufficient with runners packing all their own food and gear over the 180 kilometres and 6,000 metres of elevation.

Originally from BC, Saibil is now based in Chamonix, France. She and Le Saux have organized many adventure races around the world, but this is only their second in Canada.

I grew up in Vancouver and really love the Sunshine Coast,” she said. “Powell River is great and the trail has been really well done.”

Le Saux is considered an icon in trail running and is known for his ability to do back to back endurance challenges, according to Saibil. A day after completing the group run, he will run the trail again solo in an attempt to beat the current fastest time, a record set by Dylan Morgan in 2016 of 31 hours and 55 minutes.

“It’s kind of this thing people recognize him for,” said Saibil. “But I’d say it might be difficult to beat that time after just running the trail with a heavy pack. So we can’t promise, but he’s going to try.”

This is part of a larger project Le Saux is undertaking known as Seven Wild Trails, a solo challenge to achieve record times on trails in seven countries and five continents. So far he has completed trails in Peru and Iceland. The Sunshine Coast Trail is the third challenge. “I chose this trail for North America because it is in the heart of nature, where silence rules,” said Le Saux. “It is a trail that can only be done in a self-sufficient manner, and like prehistoric nomads you can live off the land.”

Le Saux and Saibil did a test run of the Sunshine Coast Trail last year before deciding to bring a group. They are hoping to build ties in the community and bring more groups in the future as well as explore the climbing, hiking and paddling opportunities in the region. “Wherever we go we try to really engage with people locally,” said Saibil.

On September 6, the day before the race, the group plans to participate in some volunteer trail building and maintenance work. For those interested in joining, they can contact Saibil through her blog

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