Back-story: trail running in PEI, road running in Saint John

The current issue of Canadian Running is the magazine’s annual trail issue, but the publication still includes some road stuff as well.

I’ve been a contributing editor with the magazine since it’s first issue (as I have with its sister publication, Canadian Cycling), and in the current edition I have two articles.

That’s actually kind of prolific for me these days, since I don’t do very much freelance work any more.

One is on a subject that I love: Brookvale Provincial Park in Prince Edward Island. I had the good fortune to live on PEI for five years. It’s an intensely beautiful place contained in a relatively small space, so that everywhere you go you’re agog at the natural splendor.

I did a bit of trail running in Brookvale, but usually after I’d mountain biked. Back then, I was all about the bike and the park is packed with hilly single-and-double track trails and is also host to several mountain bike races annually. It’s all very flowy and a great place to rip it up on the bike.

Brookvale also offers some tough running.

Canadian Running asked me to write about the Brookvale Ultra, a 50 km race on the trails and clay roads that’s been growing in popularity.

Here’s the link:

On the flip side, the magazine also wanted an On the Run In…. This is a regular department that profiles a Canadian city with a particular focus on where to run along with running-oriented amenities. Each piece also details three routes.

Again, Saint John was a city I spent a year (ask me where in Canada I haven’t lived) and loved. Saint John is packed with hills and tough runners who think nothing of hitting them hard. It’s a great running town with all kinds of loops, not too mention some pretty stellar trails in the Irving Nature Park and Rockwood Park (which will host its first 50 km ultra this spring).

You can read the story here:

As always, I hope you enjoy the read.

About subthree

A multiple award-winning journalist, I'm currently a contributing editor with both Canadian Running and Canadian Cycling magazines. My articles have appeared in Explore, Canadian Geographic, enRoute, The National Post, The Globe and Mail, and many other magazines and newspapers. Formerly a competitive cross-country mountain biker, I switched to running in 2006. I've run seven marathons, qualifying for Boston five times (and which I've run once). Generally, I've placed or won in my age group in races, in distances ranging from five and 10 kms to half and full marathons. I've also taught spin classes at a number of leading Eastern Canadian gyms. Sub-three was a 2012 #Runchat finalist for Best Overall Blog.
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6 Responses to Back-story: trail running in PEI, road running in Saint John

  1. Daryl Steeves says:

    Brookvale is one of my favourite runs. Especially because Shawn was so welcoming when I explained my running limitations and that my 25 km would take longer than many 50 km runners. His response was without hesitation that I should come along and enjoy the run. I did go and was behind some of the 50 km runners but finished with a smile and a pride that I will always remember. The chance to run along side (actually way behind) some of those fantastic trail runners was a treat I will never forget, I wear my Brookvale shirt with pride! Thanks to Shawn for his amazing contributions to trail running!

    • subthree says:

      Great to know that on such a hardcore course they’re willing to accommodate runners of all abilities. That’s what helps make a good race. And now look at you: putting together the Rockwood Park Ultra!

  2. Rebekah says:

    I enjoyed BOTH reads, as well, as this one. A goal I have for this next year is to run my first ultra. Have you done one? I would love for my first to be in PEI or New Brunswick. Touring a beautiful place on foot is the best kind of vacation.

    • subthree says:

      Thank you, Rebakah.

      No, I have yet to run an ultra. To date, I have seven marathons under my belt, but after defaulting Boston again (second time) this year, I’m starting to revisit my goals. An ultra may be in my future, but I’m also thinking pretty hard about trying to first to a PB 10 km and then maybe a half.

      PEI offers a beautiful full marathon every October. The first 10 km are incredibly memorable as you run through the national park. I’ll have to do a Read it. Run it. The ultra is in the woods, so you’re looking at a lot of trees and hills and, well, more hills. It would be tough. I’d love it just because I spent so much time on those trails and back roads.

  3. I love this race. The trees meeting over the top of the MacKenna Rd as you head over to SS…. the clean leaf-blown trail…. the brutal climb in back of the Alpine centre… and coming out of the singletrack onto the grass with the finish line in sight……..sigh. Can’t wait!

    • subthree says:

      It’s still one I hope to do. Running all the routes I used to bike would be a lot of fun. You have a decided advantage, of course, in that you can run the course any time you like!

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