Friday, 31 May 2013

Race Report - Iron Knee 2013

Time: 2:27:06
M4049 – 12/20
Overall – 71/166
Shoes: Brooks Pure Grit 2

Every race has it’s lessons, some more than others. A few things I learned from last weekend’s Iron Knee trail race:

1) I really need to get out on the trails more (I’ve only been on technical trails once in the last 6 months and broke my elbow). 
2) Trails are a full body workout.
3) I did better than I expected, considering lack of trail training. 
4) I’m now paying for doing better than expected (Quads! The humanity!)

Last weekend’s Iron Knee was a lot of fun. Met up with Greg and Rob at 5:30am and hit the road. We had to drop the car off at the finish line at Deep Cove and then catch a shuttle over to Grouse for the start.

Because we had to leave all but what we were running with in the car, it was definitely a little chilly waiting around for 45 minutes for the race start. Fortunately we were able to catch up with some running buds in the meantime, some I’d only ever socialized with on Twitter, like Damian and the indefatigable Solana.

I was warned about the climbing in this race and it was all justified. At 8am we charged straight up Nancy Greene way for a kilometer and a half. After that, some access road stretches and switchback up to the trail head. (It took me about the first 3km to finally feel my toes again. brrr)

Photo by Jay from

I don’t know the trail well enough to go step by step, but needless to say it was a helluva a lot of fun mixed with a helluva lot of challenging bits. I only managed to fall once and it wasn’t a faceplant or a SuperMan. (I can say though that actually hugging a tree is not as noble as it sounds). Fortunately the new Brooks Pure Grit 2’s hung on to the trail and boardwalks a lot better than their first iteration. I was still a little tentative on the stairs, boardwalks and the more technical descents but that will improve with experience. (I found I was still able to make up some time on the roads and flats, even with legs getting rubbery towards the end). It was fun to watch Solana careening confidently past on the technical descents as we played leap frog for most of the race.

The last section of the race before hitting the paved trail at the finish line is quite the ride with lots of roots and rocks on tired legs, and like clockwork, Solana went sailing past just before the final stretch where I couldn’t quite sprint to catch her at the finish line.

Overall I’m happy with the race, it was a better time than I expected and a great learning experience, especially while limping around on hammered quads. Post race Greg dragged Rob and I into the cold, cold Deep Cove water for an, er, energizing soak.

Knowing that I have the rugged Squamish 50k coming up in August, this was a good test and good reminder to up my game on the trails. It actually comes at a good time anyway, as each training cycle I’m trying to focus on a different aspect of my training. Two cycles ago was nutrition and this last one (previous to Vancouver International Marathon) was injury prevention and consistency. I think adding more trails will help not only with trail racing but will also be beneficial for strength, balance and fine motor movement all ‘round.

I’m thinking I might try to make a point of doing trails every Tuesday, which leaves Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday for my marathon clinic commitments.

Be sure to read Greg and Solana’s race reports for more details and great pictures.

More photos from Grant Mattice


  1. Hahaha I had to look up indefatigable, I had no idea what that meant. Looking forward to getting out on the trails with you more in the future! Remember, run in front of me, or right behind me to end up with more photos! :P

    See you Saturday!!

    1. Ha ha... yes, great word, isn't it? See you Saturday indeed!