Posted by & filed under 2019.

We asked this question to our contenders on the eve of the 8 day, 7 stage, 160 KM event.

This is a sampling of what they had to say:

“I’m antsy.”
“I’m super nervous.”
“How fast does one go for stage 1 of a 7 stage event?”
“I don’t know where my fitness is at. Tomorrow will tell me a lot.”
“Injury recovery! Tomorrow will be interesting!”
“Full. ;)”
“I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that I’m freaking out a bit, but know that once I get out on the course, everything will come together.”
“Not sure what to expect.”
“Some people rest up during Endur…I renovate. 1/2 marathon prep….porch cement repair 🙂 I will be working on porch and building new large main deck stairs during this endur”
“Great to meet old friends and see how their year has gone and exciting to see that there are so many rookies for this year.”
“I am looking forward to an early morning race and starting endurrun 2019 and making new friends.”

Great to see you again

On the evening before Stage 1, Race Director Lloyd Schmidt hosts the community for a meet-and-greet-style race meeting. Welcome back to Conestogo and huge thanks to the neon shirts. See you tomorrow morning!

The 63 expected starters are the largest field in ENDURrun history. 20 are Rookies. We went over handy details like course changes and rule changes. Reminder to keep this info booklet handy.

Favourites for Stage 1

In the women’s event, defending champion Valery Hobson is joined by Gold Club members Vicki Zandbergen and Robyn Collins, as well as Catherine Desrosiers, all four of whose ENDURrun best times span 0:15:09 (5 seconds per KM) and are all from 2017 and 2018. Looking for a dark horse? Rebecca Kruisselbrink is on the right trajectory to make some noise in this event.

For the men, four-time defending champion Robert Brouillette is challenged by coach Josh Bolton. Robin Richard-Campeau, Christian Belair, 2013 champion Stefan Gudmundson, Nick Burt, Aidan Rutherford, and Dave Rutherford all have best times within 20 minutes of each other, although Aidan and Nick have the most recent best times.

Valery, Vicki, Robyn, Catherine, Robin, Christian, Stefan, and Dave headline what is likely the deepest field of Masters in ENDURrun history.

In Relay, H+P is chasing records with Sean Delanghe, Victoria Siemon, Luke Ehgoetz, and Tracey Kuchma in their A teams for men and women, open and Masters.

We asked Twitter about the men’s race, and the 42 voters seemed to give an edge.

Posted by & filed under 2019, Contender.

Hello everyone, Caroline here! I’m really excited to meet you all and to spend an amazing week getting to know you. I’m looking forward to this experience and can only imagine the great friendships that will be formed during the week. Happy trails! 🙂

We are so excited to have Caroline Samson-Belair in the field this year! Credit to Christian for the five year sales cycle!

How did you find out about ENDURrun? My husband has run the race three times.

What convinced you to take the plunge? Hearing how much fun Chris has during the week, the great people he meets and the amazing food he eats. I just had to be a part of it this time.

What exposure did you have to ENDURrun 2018? following my husband’s results

What advice have you been collecting? What are your sources? Most of my advice comes from Chris Belair’s experiences at this race. Eat well, rest a lot in between and get ready to run on sore legs. Oh, and don’t go out too hard on the first day!

What are you still hoping to learn by August? I need to get my head in check with what my body can do. I’m trying to stick to a smart training plan and need to keep incorporating some stretching and flexibility work.

What are your ENDURrun 2019 stories? My goal is to finish with a smile. I was registered for the 2015 event but surgery for a ruputured disc in my neck prevented me from being able to run. I knew then that ONE day, I would be back. 2019 is that day!

What are you most looking forward to about ENDURrun 2019? Meeting other crazy, ummm like minded people 😉 who share the same passion for running as I do!

What are you nervous about, if anything? What to pack and the dreaded “horror hill” I’ve heard so much about.

Can you share any details of your training? I ran my first 52km ultra in June (Quebec Mega Trail). I figure that would help prepare me for EndurRun, especially when I ran on very tired and sore legs during the following few days. Currently training for 70.3 Ironman in September as well.

What is your runner profile? I’ve been running for over 20 years. My mileage varies quite a bit, depending on what I’m training for. I typically run aprox. 50+ km per week, but that can fluctuate depending on what life throws at me. I’ve discovered a love of trail running in the past few years. Whole new kind of running out in the trails!

Posted by & filed under 2019, Contender.

Endurun community is a source of inspiration, motivation and personal growth and we are blessed to be part of this crazy adventure!

One smiley twin is not enough. Thanks Savvas Farassoglou for returning for #5, and dragging your brother with you!

How is your training going? In the past two years, I have started doing ultra-marathons and as I get into longer trail races (>50km), my speed has slowed but endurance has gone up 🙂

How will your ENDURrun 2019 compare to previous years? It will be slower than other years, but hopefully faster than 2015 as it was very hot humid summer! Hoping to bring between 14 and 15 hours!

What are the key pieces of advice to Rookies that you’ve learned over the years? Enjoy the experience of challenging yourself, but also get the change to forge long lasting friendships that will follow up everywhere!

For someone who has never been to ENDURrun week, what should they expect? A community of dedicated, supportive and amazing runners that are supported by amazing group of volunteers and the amazing work and passion shown by Lloyd Schmidt, Julie Schmidt, and their Family.

What about ENDURrun keeps you coming back?
The amazing atmosphere and reconnect with my running friends once a year and celebrate other’s personal goals and achievements!

What are your ENDURrun 2019 stories? Endurrun 2019 will be special as my twin brother (Costas) finally decided to compete after his older brother (me) was nagging him for years. The last Endurrun we competed together was 2009, so its a 10 year reunion.

What can we follow-up with you about for a profile part 2? My state of health and madness after completing my 5th Endurrun 🙂

What are you most looking forward to about ENDURrun 2019? To reunite with friends and volunteers that i have come to known for the past 10 years.

What are you nervous about, if anything? I am nervous about Stage 6 on track as i haven’t run on a track surface in over 20 years!

Can you share any details of your training? My 2019 training has been based on ultra-marathons, especially trail running, so i am often doing long trail runs without any pacing in mind.

What is your runner profile? I started running in 2004 and did mostly half and full marathons. I have completed 31 full marathons. The last two years, i am challenging myself with longer distances, and have completed four 50km trail races. In September 2019, i am going for my first 50 miles (80km) and eventually do 100km race next year.

Posted by & filed under 2019, Contender.

I’m looking forward to seeing you all tomorrow!

Vicki Zandbergen has it all: eight consecutive Ultimates, Gold Club and 2017 champion, and she even drives Jordan to some of the stages. (thanks in advance)

How is your training going? It’s starting to go OK, but I’ve been injured, so there was a big setback.

How will your ENDURrun 2019 compare to previous years? Unsure, but I’ll need to take it day by day.

What are the key pieces of advice to Rookies that you’ve learned over the years? Get to the start line healthy.

For someone who has never been to ENDURrun week, what should they expect? The week will go by much faster than you anticipate!

What about ENDURrun keeps you coming back? The people: runners and volunteers alike.

What are your ENDURrun 2019 stories? I injured myself pretty badly at Boston this year, so I’m just trying to get back at it. I had a 3 month gap in my run training this spring/early summer and had a 5 week plan to get ready for ENDURrun. Eek.

What are you most looking forward to about ENDURrun 2019? The body cooperating and finally running higher mileage again.

Can you share any details of your training? It’s minimal this year. I’m just trying to get to the start line healthy and reasonably strong.

What is your runner profile? Started running casually in 2005, ran my first race in October 2006. First Ultimate in 2011. I race distances up to and including 50 miles, trail and road.

Posted by & filed under 2019, Contender.

Welcome rookies, welcome back seasoned veterans! I can’t wait to spend my runcation with all of you, the entire running community, the spectacular volunteers and Schmidt family!

Valery Hobson is back to defend her 2018 title, a time which ranks 7th in ENDURrun history.

How is your training going? I just try to run lots on tired legs. Back to back long runs, or long runs then something like Bechtel or Chicopee.

How will your ENDURrun 2019 compare to previous years? Well… will be just as fun and exciting….I am excited to see what I can do….and what others will accomplish.

What are the key pieces of advice to Rookies that you’ve learned over the years? Run lots. Train on tired legs. And come and enjoy the experience.

For someone who has never been to ENDURrun week, what should they expect? Ridiculous amounts of support, smiles, hugs, great food…..and you will see what awesome things you are capable of.

What about ENDURrun keeps you coming back? The people. The highs. The feeling of accomplishment. The challenge.

What are your ENDURrun 2019 stories? Just keep on keeping on. When you feel like you can’t go any further, take another step.

What are you most looking forward to about ENDURrun 2019? Spending a week with my running friends and family and seeing what all I can accomplish…..

What are you nervous about, if anything? Blowing up. Lol

Can you share any details of your training? Lots of miles. Training at Chicopee (a must). Run when you’re tired. Even if it’s slow.

What is your runner profile? I’ve been running for about 9 years….mileage has increased substantially over the years as have my efforts and goals. I love trails…..they are my special place. They force me to go slower and focus on time spent running rather than pace or distance. In addition, they strengthen your ankles, knees , hips….etc and make you happy 🙂

General mileage ranges between 70 and 130km/week. I love big miles. But need to be careful not to get carried away with them and set myself up for injury. I do try to incorporate a bit of speed work in…at least once a week ideally 2x.

What else would you like to share? Enjoy the journey and try to remember how many gifts running offers you. It makes life better in so many ways.

Posted by & filed under Results.

The Ultimate has always had sub-contests – and now we’re bringing them to life!

The Ultimate competition is a well-rounded competition with a well-known formula: 8 days, 7 stages, 160 KM. Less well-known are the sub-contests that are designed to reward runners who specialize in certain disciplines of running.

This week we have launched a results tool to make results for any year, and historical records, easy and interactive!

Our hope is that through the growth of this event, the continuing progress in our results capabilities, and new prizing (cash prizes for these titles is new for 2019) will help these contests as they continue to gain interest and prominence over time.

This is what it looks like:

It’s worth noting that since this data wasn’t easily accessible in years past, it’s unlikely that Jackie Jackman knew in the moment that her record Trail in 2010 (which still stands) beat April Boultbee’s 2007 time by a mere 15 seconds! But we’re happy now to give participants and spectators alike the ability to see and use this information.

Besides choosing between years or all-time, you can also drill down into the demographics, and that highlights the great masters performances over the years. Both of the women’s records belong to Joanne Bink from 2008, while the men’s records were set in 2012 (Mark Meyers – Sprint) and 2014 (Patrick Kelly – Trail).

The contests in 2019

This year, we are awarding two contests with prize money ($100) for the first time:

  • Sprint – combined time at Stages 2 and 6
  • Trail – combined time at Stages 3 and 5
  • In Trail, the courses at Bechtel and Chicopee offer a range of trail challenges and are essentially unchanged for 6+ years. For Sprint, lots has changed. The 25k of total distance is constant, and the Stage 2 time trial start remains, however Stage 2 is now on a linear trail and Stage 6 is now a track event with heat starts. These two flattest Stages still offer the best opportunities for hammering during the week.

    Historical winners

    Five times, the Sprint and Trail King were different people, but only once for Sprint and Trail Queen. In total, eight “crowns” have been awarded to people who ultimately didn’t win the title.


  • “Trail” wasn’t officially contested or awarded until 2015. From 2003-2014, it was the Mountain contest (combined time in Stages 4 and 5) that was recognized. But we are including historical results for comparison purposes, and feel that these two contests in 2019 are the best representations of specialized runner discipline.
  • An Ultimate must finish the week to count in Sprint and Trail. This first version includes those times, but they will be removed soon.
  • Posted by & filed under 2019, Contender.

    Thank you EndurRun family and friends for giving me a fabulous experience. I look forward to seeing all of you there again!

    We’re honoured to have Mark Ishikawa back this year, especially for Stage 7!

    You’ve trained for Ultimate before. What did you learn that you will build from (or avoid) this time around? Keeping myself in a good condition is the most important thing to enjoy everything I will experience.

    Besides training, what will be the same and/or different about this Ultimate compared to your first completion? I feel I know better than before how to manage the body condition after each stage.

    What is the one piece of advice that you’re glad you knew/you wish you knew before your first completion? I’ve heard everybody in this community is nice and friendly. I found it was true.

    How were you feeling in the days and weeks following your first Ultimate completion? For the first few weeks after my first completion, I felt I would be able to run better “Yes, I can do this better next year!”. I now feel I am still worried “Can I really complete the Ultimate this year?”

    What are your ENDURrun 2019 stories? Day 7 Marathon will be my 100th Anniversary Marathon. It took 35 years since my first marathon. To celebrate the anniversary with this great community, I need to complete all stages.

    What are you nervous about, if anything? I don’t want to miss any stages this year. Unexpected injury is the worst thing I am nervous about.

    Can you share any details of your training? I’m doing less mileage than I did last year, but doing the same thing such as all types of surfaces with various speeds. I’ve learned from my chiropractor that taking care of the muscles after training is as important as the training itself, so I’ve focused more on recovery than training itself this year. I hope I can start Day 7 in a good condition.

    What is your runner profile? 1st marathon 35 years ago. I’ve completed 1-5 marathons per year since then. And countless ultramarathons as well.

    Posted by & filed under 2019, Contender.

    Hi old & new friends: looking forward to sharing a very special week with you all.

    Pour one out for the banjo – we have Andrew Moizer on the start line this year!

    How did you find out about ENDURrun? Through my wife (who got a brochure in her race kit from the ScotiaBank Toronto Half Marathon in 2011)

    What convinced you to take the plunge? Tricky Question: I’ve run stages (1,4,6) as a guest, partially as a spectator (2, 5) and provided banjo entertainment (2,3,4,5,6,7). Have also volunteered, and served as a support crew to Susan for her 3 Ultimate finishes. The ENDURrun is a very special event for us, one slow run/walk lap of Bechtel with Susan in 2012 planted a seed that led to me having ‘one last try’ to be a running a year later. I never figured it could lead to this. Have been running more with Susan this year during her training and after finishing a 32k long run in July (my longest ever) decided to listen to the nagging voice wandering if I could finish.

    What exposure did you have to ENDURrun 2018? 2018 was on-line only until the final weekend. Spectating/banjo playing/volunteering for stages 6&7.

    What advice have you been collecting? What are your sources? I’ve talked to lots of ENDURrunners over the years, read all the facebook advice, and have of course shared Susan’s experiences. And many extended conversations with Joanne, Mark & Lloyd over the years.

    What are you still hoping to learn? Whether I can finish all the laps of Bechtel and Chicopee, and my first Marathon.

    What are your ENDURrun 2019 stories? My motivation is to experience the ENDURrun as an Ultimate competitor. My goal is to finish (my longest race so far is a 1/2M). Susan ran her first Ultimate the year she turned 50, I turned 60 last December, so it seemed appropriate.

    What are you most looking forward to about ENDURrun 2019? Experiencing the whole event as a competitor. Finding out what I’m capable of doing (or not doing!).

    What are you nervous about, if anything? I am nervous about lots of things. I appreciate the challenges of the ENDURrun and hope that I am fit enough to respect it. I have no idea how I will react during the three long stages, or the back-to-back racing days.

    Can you share any details of your training? My training is not what it could/should have been (didn’t decide to register until 4 weeks before). The main thing was long runs, which I’ve done more of with Susan.

    What is your runner profile? Started running in October 2013 with a goal to be able to make it to 5km and that my ‘fast’ could overlap with Susan’s ‘slow’. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d get to where I did. Haven’t ran as much in the past year or two for various reasons. Most miles are on country roads, but I look for trails wherever possible. I’ve run between 1200 and 2400 km/year since 2014.

    What else would you like to share? The ENDURrun is a very special running event, that attracts an amazing community of people who it’s just plain fun, inspiring, and motivating to hang out with. We have made so many close friends from our involvement, and it’s fair to say that it has inspired life changing habits for which I will be forever grateful.

    We’ve been at every ENDURrun since 2012 (except 2016 when our son got married Marathon weekend).

    Posted by & filed under 2019.

    As is typical this time of year, Robert Brouillette is dark on social media. We made the effort to catch up with him and challenger Josh Bolton for a quick update.

    Each year since 2015, top finishers in the women’s race have been considerably closer than for the men. Robert Brouillette has excelled as he as chased times from 2003 and 2004, and has always won the week-long Ultimate race by over 30 minutes.

    Having Josh Bolton in the field this year presents the possibility of one of the most exciting men’s races of all time. With both guys chasing historical times, we could see Stage records fall this year, or even sub-10 hour times – none of which has happened since 2004.

    Since there is no apparent rivalry – these Grand River Endurance teammates say they’re just excited to compete with and against each other – we’ll take a look at some key factors:

    Experience – Rob

    Rob has raced and recovered at ENDURrun for four years and has a wealth of data and feel. Not to discount Josh, who has coached Rob during this time and has extensive recovery plans of his own. Rob defied some expectations in his debut in 2015, but even still, he had run Stage 7 the previous year as a Relay runner.

    Speed – Josh

    Josh has the edge here, with faster PBs in the 10k and half marathon. Rob isn’t far behind, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Josh snag a Gold Jersey in the first few days of the competition.

    Health – Wildcard

    Rob is healthy but not in his own top form, and Josh is on a strong comeback from achilles surgery in the fall. Until we see it, it’s hard to know how much separation there is.

    Course experience – Rob

    We put experience in twice because of the advantage that Rob has earned by leaving sweat and footprints on every turn of every course over a long period of time. Even the Stage 2 course move is directly into Rob’s stomping grounds of Cambridge, Ontario. Josh has strong reconnaissance on every Stage … except Chicopee.

    Motivation – Toss Up

    Both guys express sincere motivation to achieve historic wins. We don’t think it’s wise to doubt either of them.


    If you like the top-end speed, or if you value the experience even higher, then you have your obvious answer. But until he is unseated, Rob is the four-time defending champion.

    Pictured: Rob and Josh at Stage 4 in 2016.

    Posted by & filed under 2019, Contender.

    Hi I’m Chris! I love running. Especially trails. This will be my second Endurrun Ultimate. Before that I did Endurrun Sport once, and have participated in several stages as a guest over the years. It is my favourite week of the year! I am looking forward to running and eating great food with everyone!

    We were super happy to see Chris Ladubec squeak into the Ultimate less than a week before it starts!

    What are your ENDURrun 2019 stories? I didn’t think I was going to be able to sign up for Endurrun Ultimate this year, but thanks to the support of my wonderful wife Robi, I was able to sign up. It would be nice to beat my time from last year, but realistically I will be happy with a finish.

    What are you most looking forward to about ENDURrun 2019? The entire 8 days!!

    What are you nervous about, if anything? I rolled my ankle at the end of July, I hope it holds up.

    Can you share any details of your training? Like last year I didn’t specifically train for this event, but will again attempt to rely on whatever fitness is left from my last race. I attempted the Sulphur Springs 100 miler this year at the end of May. I ran 140 km, but was too slow for the final 20 km. I wasn’t fast enough for all the mud and the 30 hour cutoff. Since then I have been mostly trying to recover, while working a bit on getting faster. I have mostly been recovering with short runs and maybe 20-50 km a week. I have also been lifting weights about once a week. I only found out that running Endurrun this year was possible for me at the beginning of August.

    What is your runner profile? I have been running for about 10 years now. I started to help me quit smoking cigarettes. My weeks are inconsistent, some I don’t run at all, and my peak weeks in training are about 80-100 km. I run about 1400 km a year. Over the last few years I have run many marathons and ultras (slowly). I prefer trails, but run on all surfaces.