We talked to race Director Trish Benoit who ran the Pick Your Poison race 4 times before she joined on as the race directing team.
Chris: Hey Trish, what's your experience with the Pick Your Poison race course?
Trish: F*** you Little Katie, just F*** you.
Trish: Can you put asterixis in for the F***?
Chris: Yes. I think that's a good idea.
Trish: So Little Katie is this brutal hill and there's a sign at the bottom of it and there was this rock that I would make myself run to then prepare for little Katie. Little Katie is this hill that you run to and there's this flat spot but then you just have this climb. You look up and there's just rock, and that's Little Katie.
Chris: Where's the aid stations on course?
Trish: There are three aid stations on course. One is at the start/finish, one is halfway up the first big climb and the last one is by the golf course at the end of the hairpin.
Chris: Can you take us through the course?
Trish: You start by going down the parking lot and turning left and you're on a wide section and everybody is hootin' and hollerin' and then you start to kind of spread out a little bit and you get into a short single track section that's in the pine rows. That's where I saw a bear the first year I was there.
Chris: You saw a bear in Copeland Forest?
Trish: Well, I didn't see it, but a runner saw it
Chris: Did they ever see that runner again?
Trish: I don't know how that story ends. So you do all the single track and then you dump out to that forestry road and you run that for a good chunk of time, I think it's a few kilometers, and then you turn left back into the woods. It's really wet in that road section some years. So you then do a couple switchbacks up and then you dump onto the ski hill. The conditions have really been hit and miss over the years on that hill. The first year I ran it, it was really hot, I was wearing like a short sleeve. The second year I ran it, it was a mudfest because all the snow from the ski hill had melted. The following year it was just snow, so your were sliding and trying to get your grip. It was really icy and snowy still. That's the year I fell down the final hill.
[continued after pics...]
Chris: *Chuckles* I remember bombing down the snow at the end. You just give it as hard as you can.
Trish: I remember my first year I ran PYP on the ski skill climb I saw everybody walking and I was like, "why is everybody walking?!" - then I came around the corner and was like, "ohhhhh that's why they're walking - because they're smart."
Chris: My favourite part of the course is the last aid station because as you head out to it you can see everybody about 10m through the woods heading away from it. What's your favourite part of the course?
Trish: The most beautiful section to me is the switchbacks in the Copeland Forest, even though it includes Little Katie but the finish is the best part of the whole race. You're at the top of the ski hill and you can see the chalet and everybody can see you coming down the hill and you're being cheered on.
Chris: Are you excited about the race this year?
Trish: I'm very excited about this year. It's always a crapshoot to see what the weather is like. It can be anything from shorts and t-shirt weather to long tights and coat. There's always a good base of snow on the ski hills because they make it there, but yeah, we're excited to finally be having the race again.
Excited to see everybody for in-person-racing, April 30!