The Sunshine Coast Trail

The Sunshine Coast Trail is a 180 kilometer (118 mile) hiking trail. Located approximately 100 kilometers up the coast from Vancouver near Powell River, British Columbia, Canada, the Sunshine Coast Trail offers some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet. Runners can expect to enjoy rocky coastline, flat and fast trails through old growth forests of Douglas fir and red cedar, nasty, rooty climbs up steep mountains and equally challenging descents. The trail passes through several communities including Powell River. Total vertical gain and loss over the course of the trail is approximately 8,300 meters. In perspective, that is like climbing to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro and back twice from sea level.

The Challenge

No one has ever run the entire length of the Sunshine Coast Trail in one go. The objective of the Sunshine Coast Trail 180 is to complete the entire length of the trail from Sarah Point in the north to Saltery Bay in the south within 48 hours. As an additional element of challenge, the aim will be to complete as a team.

The Team

Given the extreme nature of the challenge and the number of unknown risks associated with running the trail, it was decided that the event would be attempted as a team. The team was comprised of four of Canada's top ultramarathon runners, triathletes and adventure racers.

Dave Cressman

Cressman has been running for most of his life. Although he is drawn to many sports, running is the one he returns to time and time again. An elite level ultrarunner, cyclist, inline skater and snowshoer, he has competed in the Marathon des Sables, the World Duathlon Championships, North American Snowshoe Championships and several other major events all in a quest for adventure.

His racing history includes 2 victories at the Vancouver Fat Ass 50k, top Canadian at Marathon des Sables in Morocco, numerous snowshoe wins, top Canadian at World Duathlon Championships, OCAA Cross Country Championship, and many others.

Married with one child and living in Vancouver, BC, Cressman is a Sales Representative in the sporting goods industry. He first thought of running the Sunshine Coast Trail in 1998 and only needed to find the right mix of athletes to pull it off.

Ean Jackson

"Action" Jackson (also called "Rain, No Train" Jackson and other names) is an entrepreneur in the high technology field, a university professor, father of 2 and a self-proclaimed endurance sport junkie. A fat kid, he got into running in university on a beer bet.

The only team member who has not competed in the Marathon des Sables, Jackson has completed 82 ultramarathon runs, 3 ultra distance triathlons, 27 marathons and 6 Ironman triathlons. He has been on Canadian national Duathlon and 100K run teams, has participated in 2 Ironman Hawaii world triathlon championships and was a top finisher at the Western States 100-mile endurance Run in California.

Jackson, who lives in North Vancouver, worked with Pacifica Papers in Powell River as BC Territory Manager for Oracle, a big software company. He has been vacationing with his family on the Sunshine Coast for almost 10 years and has dreamt of running the Sunshine Coast Trail since learning of it's existence.

Dom Repta

A recent graduate of the Masters in Environmental Studies at York University, Dom works for Friends of Clayoquot Sound as an Aquaculture Campaigner. His claim to fame is that he is Wade's brother. He says he is ridiculously good looking, but the consensus of the team is that this observation is in the eyes of the beholder. He is a vegan, which means that he is a pain to cook for.

Dom completed the Marathon des Sables in the spring of 2003, a 7-day run across the Sahara desert that is billed as the "hardest footrace on earth." His other accomplishments include top finishes at the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run, the Mohican 100 Miler, the Haliburton 50 Miler and Ironman Florida.

Having grown up in Ontario, he didn't know where the Sunshine Coast was until moving to British Columbia in 2002.

Wade Repta

Wade is a sandbagger. In technical terms, this means he's a bit less outwardly confident about his running ability. He is looking forward to "the chance to be lost and malnourished on the Sunshine Coast Trail for a second year in a row" and is not quite sure what to do with his puppy, Kaioma, while he's on the trail.

An ultramarathon runner since 1999, he has sought out some of the toughest athletic challenges in the world to test himself. Athletic highlights include a top 20 finish in his first 50 mile race, the Bull Run Run. He has since earned four top 10 finishes at the 50 km run distance and has completed two Ironman triathlons (Canada in 2001 and Utah 2002.) To date, his greatest athletic accomplishment has been to complete the Marathon Des Sables in Morocco.

Professionally, Wade is a Rehabilitation Consultant and Occupational Therapist, single, who lives in Vancouver. Like Dom, he grew up in Hamilton, Ontario, is a vegan and couldn't find Powell River on a map until learning about the Sunshine Coast Trail.

The Crew

It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to attempt this challenge without help. Support crew tasks include everything from help with maps and logistics to providing food and water during the run to shuttling people and supplies around the back roads that intersect the Sunshine Coast Trail.

Crew Captain Cheryl Picot
Powell River Crew Eagle Walz, Len & Gail Swanson
Imported Crew Paul & Lora Repta (Burlington, ON, Steve & Jany Mitges (Burlington, ON), Jesse Richardson (Vancouver, BC), Mark Fearman & Gary Robbins (Whistler, BC), Tom Mills (Richmond, BC)
Film Crew Angus McLellan, Shay Wilson, Paul Kennedy

Please refer to the Thanks! page for more information about our crew in 2003 and 2004.

Media Coverage

Trailer from the film "Running Wild" www.highroadfilms.com/films.html

Powell River Peak - 7 July 04
Vancouver Province - 1 July 04
Powell River Peak - 19 August 03
Ultramarathon World - 31 August 03 (Website at www.ultramarathonworld.com currently down)

Payback Time

The team of four runners who first "bagged" the trail by running it non-stop in 43:50 all strongly believe that they owe a debt of gratitude to the Sunshine Coast Trail and the people of Powell River, BC who maintain it.

To that end, we committed to raising $5000 to help maintain the Sunshine Coast Trail. We have also committed to help raise the profile of the trail. There are 2 reasons why we feel this is important:

  • we had a blast running the trail and we hope you will too
  • the trail is in danger of being logged. If you use it and tell your friends, it might be possible to save some of the few remaining groves of old growth

In the fall of 2004, we hosted a series of fundraising slide shows on the trail and their adventures. Proceeds from a June 2005 article in "Trail Runner" magazine were also donated to the trail.

Happy trails!

Dave Cressman, Dom and Wade Repta and Ean Jackson