Spring weather has arrived just in time for the 2018 Storm the Fort Night Race.
Race organizer John Bouwman said he found the trails in surprisingly good shape while on a test run in the river valley on Tuesday (Apr.24). He reported that despite some muddy spots and a bit of lingering snow, about 98 per cent of the race route is good to go.
With the current weather forecast -- temperatures should reach into the 20s on Thursday, Friday and Saturday -- Bouwman is confident the course will be pristine by race time.
The Storm the Fort trail run, now in its seventh year, kicks off Saturday (Apr.28) at the West River’s Edge pavilion. The post-sunset race has runners follow a route through the trails of the Fort Saskatchewan river valley. Over 120 athletes have signed up so far, although Bouwman expects to see a last-minute jump in numbers thanks to race night walk-up registrations and the mild forecast.
In the days leading up to the race, Bouwman will be making sure the route is clear of deadfall and other hazards, but he reminds runners to watch their footing on the trails. With the 10 km starting at 9:15 p.m. and the 5 km at 9:30, all participants are required to wear headlamps.
Bouwman also recommends that runners wear eye protection with clear lenses and keep in mind that the river valley is home to some local wildlife.
"We've had a few wildlife encounters. One year we had a squirrel attack a gentleman and then last year we had a grouse chasing after runners,” he said.
Anyone interested in taking part in the night run can register on the Running Room website or on race night. Organizers are also looking for a few more volunteers to help out with the event.