BC trail running series shows off amazing Okanagan region
Soup2Nutz and Freaky Creek are set to run this summer
The Okanagan of British Columbia is stunning, but visitors rarely get an up-close-and-personal deep dive into the trail system that winds through this beautiful region. Luckily, there is a trail running and event series that showcases this gorgeous spot. Bush Babes and Bro’s is planning on at least two events this season including the Soup2Nutz Duathlon on July 17 and the Freaky Creeky Trail Running Race on Sept. 18.
“I feel there is no place like the Okanagan,” says race founder Dawna Jodoin. “The North Okanagan has it all and is a playground for any outdoor activity during each of our 4 distinct seasons. The weather, the accessibility, the views, the friendly community, the small-town feel, the proximity to everything is ideal. You can ski, mountain bike, golf, trail run and paddleboard all in the same day!”
Soup2Nutz features mountain biking and trail running while the Freaky Creek is a popular ultra with distances from 10 to 100 kilometres and is a UTMB qualifying race for 2021.
Fifteen years ago, Jodoin was putting serious mileage on her local trails in the Okanagan region of British Columbia while training for her first ultra. As more people expressed interest in her showing them around the trails such as those in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park and learning about trail running, she established Bush Babes & Bro’s Trail Running in 2006 as a way to offer clinics and eventually events.
Race director Dawna Jodoin tests out the trails
“It was 5 loops of 10 km-ish that you could ride, run, or walk. It was super family orientated; we even had one person do the loop on a unicycle,” Jodoin says. “After 10 years it was decided to start doing an official event and really show people what our amazing park is all about. Our community is very proud of our local parks and the surrounding area of Vernon and there is nothing better than experiencing a new community through events.”
With Freak Creeky, the most popular event in the series, Jodoin wanted to showcase Kalamalka Provincial Park.
“It’s an area that most people couldn’t, wouldn’t or didn’t know how to reach without being shown the way,” Jodoin says. “Our Freaky Creeky event sports not only a 10, 27, and 50km trail running race, but we have the only 100km race in the area with 3,700 meters of elevation, amazing view of Kalamalka Lake, as well as the Monashee and Silver Star Mountains.”
She says what makes the event so special is the atmosphere, which allows “athletes of every ability to feel welcomed, important, encouraged, and safe.”
In turn, Soup2Nutz allows participants a look at the lovely Silver Star Mountain Resort, and it brings together the riding and the running communities.
Fine Okanagan trails
“This event is the only one of its kind in the North Okanagan, sporting a cross between techy and cruisy terrain,” Jodoin explains. “The event starts at over 5,000 feet and winds its way up from there, giving you not only views of the Monashee Mountains but the entire valley, Kalamalka Lake, Swan Lake, and Okanagan Lake. All of our events are created, mapped, flagged and supported by trail runners and riders to make them as epically fun and safe as we can.”
Trying to organize race events in the current pandemic has been extremely hard, says Jodoin, but she says she is an athlete first and a race director second, so she knows how important it is to have something to look forward to and to set a plan in motion. That being said, she understands the realities and as a result, has created a plan and a refund policy to cover all the bases and make participants feel comfortable booking the events this summer. And to start training!
“It is not healthy for a person to not have plans or hope of plans for the foreseeable future. This is why we have continued with our plans to go ahead with our events, and as soon as PHO (public health orders) lift we will be set to go,” she says.
“Our refund policy is simple. We understand with the uncertainty of our times it is scary to sign up for an event and have the possibility of losing your money (especially these days), so we have created a great refund policy. If our events are cancelled no closer to the event than four weeks, athletes will receive their funds back other than the bank transfer fees (between $5 to $10).”
Jodoin wants nothing more than for athletes from across British Columbia and beyond to experience her incredible backyard.
“I’m happiest when I’m on the trails and I see that reflected in others when I take them out,” she says. “Have a look at our racecourse, read the comments from our previous participants, and join our tribe. Our community, mountains, trails, volunteers and most of all the event director welcome you to our community.”