The Iron Horse Ultra will see the best ultra runners compete in the ultimate race
Runners will take their marks and embark on the Iron Horse trail starting Saturday morning at 7:00 am and race round the clock to complete the 100 miles or kilometers of the famous Lakeland trail. Organizer Ben Poulin says this is one of the last races on the Alberta Ultra series, which must be completed in a 27 hour period.
“The race opens at 7:00 am on Saturday morning and officially closes at 10:00 am on Sunday morning,” explains Poulin. Racers have their choice between doing 100 miles or 100 kilometers. “The 100 kilometer course is called ‘the express’ and the 100 mile is ‘the scenic tour’.” laughs Poulin. Runners do the race in one shot, they typically only take quick bathroom breaks or a mini-stop to fuel up with some food. “The 100 kilometer course has a 24 hour time limit and the 100 mile course has a 27 hour time limit.”
“The 100 kilometre course has been completed as fast as 10 hours, that was three years ago,” Poulin says that accounts to 2.5 marathon. “The 100 miles is a hair under four marathons.” The race has 17 runners in the 100 mile category and 27 runners in 100 kilometer solo categories.
You watch someone run 100 miles and you think, ‘if they can do that, I can at least walk five kilometers’. – Ben Poulin Organizer Iron Horse Ultra 100
Poulin competes as a relay team, “the 100 kilometer course is split up in five, so you can have a team of up to five people and the 100 mile course has eight sections, so you can have a team of eight.” Poulin became interested in the Ultra races and thought it would be a great attraction for the Lakeland area. “I’ve always liked the challenge of it, I think the most I’ve ever done is 50 kilometers; but I’ve always been fascinated by the challenge of it. Pushing yourself to those limits and testing what you can do.” Poulin and his wife, Monique, were instrumental in being a leg of the Alberta Ultra series to the Lakeland area. Now they employ the help of their extended family members who volunteer, along with other interested community members, to make the race a success.
You can watch the runners as they trek through the Lakeland on the weekend. The race starts in St. Paul then winds through Moose Hills road, back to Elk Point. The 100 mile runners will loop out to the river, then the Fort George Buckingham House to Lindberg, back to Elk Point, then to Stoney Lake and back to St. Paul. You can follow along via Facebook.