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Lynne Bermel Lynne Bermel's Column

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October 5, 2000

"When you go out in the woods today"

When you think of trail running, does the image of gliding by colourful hues of red and yellow leaves while you breath in the crisp fall air? If this is you, then mark the Fall Rhapsody (Saturday, October 14th) on your calendar. It's an annual pilgrimage through some of the most scenic trails in the Gatineau Park.

Trail Runner

Race organizer, Dave McMahon (AKA "Mountain Goat") took me on a sneak preview of this year's course recently. The words "fall" and "rhapsody" should have provided all the warning I needed…

The race course really is one of the most spectacular I've ever seen. Of course, you can't lose in the Gats , that is: whenever I mustered enough courage to tear my attention away from my footing. I've never been an Evil Knievel sort - more like Martha Stewart in a running suit. Not that I'm worried about how the "doo" will hold up during the run (much), it's just that I don't like the thought of falling and all that pain and blood and gore. Do you? That's why I have been known to ride my breaks down Blacks Hill. That's also why I took some of Dave's down hills a tad bit more gingerly than the rest of the gang I was running with. (Heavy on the word "tad.")

Kidding aside, Dave's course is a MUST for any runner who likes to get off the beaten track. You won't find another one like it. The path is on well worn single track, rocks, mud roots and hills and more hills, and did I mention rocks and roots and mud? Sort of like a "Survivor" episode for runners. If you enjoyed running cross country in high school, or you're one of these cross-country ski types who love to hit the trails in the summer, you'll be in seventh heaven.

Hate to say it, but I bailed with 3 kms to go during my run with Dave. Gave the old "I ran once today already" excuse. I think he bought it.

At any rate, the Fall Rhapsody is highly recommended for any athlete who's tired of concrete and is looking for an outdoor challenge.

Just leave your watch and heart rate monitor at home. "If you go into the woods today..."

Race Details

Event: 3rd annual Fall Rhapsody 10k Mountain Run

Date: 10am, Saturday, 14 Oct 00
Place: Camp Fortune, Old Chelsea
Registration: At main chalet 09:00am Camp Fortune
Cost: $5
Distance: 10km (about 2km is vertical)
Average Time: 1hour 10 minutes
Difficulty: 10/10
Scenery: 10/10

There are many advantageous to trail running, says Dave. Here are some of them:

Folder   You develop mental toughness.
Folder   You can easily work all of the zones. (This gets our cross country skiing friends excited) Unlike the roads, it's almost impossible to maintain a steady pass in trail running.
Folder   It helps your technique and agility. Dodging those roots and trees and skipping over huge boulders will do it every time.
Folder   It's an easy way to distract yourself into a hard workout. It takes the pressure off you because splits and overall time don't become as important.
Folder   It adds a lot more dimensions than an average run - hills, power, strength, speed and endurance.
Folder   It gets you out experiencing nature at its best time of year.
Folder   You can tap into your spiritual side.
Folder   You get to get your shoes mucky.

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Contact Lynne via email @

For more on Lynne's background read this interview with Wayne Scanlan which appeared originally in the Ottawa Citizen.

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