Q:  I've never done a trail run before. Is this a good place to start?
A:  It depends. Are you realistic about the distance you are thinking about running, well-prepared to run it and totally self-sufficient? If so, go for it! If in doubt, pick a shorter distance this time so you don't kill yourself, and come back to set the course record next year.

Q:  Can I run less than 25K or more than 50K?
A:  Absolutely! Some thoughts:

  • ~5K - Brockton track to the rock at the top of North Creek Trail and back
  • ~10K - Brockton track to Third Beach concession and back
  • ~20K - Brockton track to the end of Burrard Bridge and back
  • ~25K - Brockton track to the big log just past Kits Yacht Club and back or to the turn-around
  • ~30K - Brockton track to Jericho Beach Yacht Club and back
  • ~42K - Brockton track to University Boulevard and back

If you want to run more than 50K, you will get special recognition as a certified glutton for punishment and I'll make sure I get you some sort of a prize. I strongly recommend you have a pacer for any distance over 50K and that you carry a cell phone so you can call someone to pick you up when you expire.

Q:  How tough is the course?
A:  Tough question to answer! How far are you running? How fast? How well are you trained? While there are some hills in the Pacific Spirit Park, it's definitely not a scramble in the mountains. Feedback from those who have run the New Years Day Fat Ass include: "Harsh." "Fun!" "I thought you said I wouldn't get lost!"

Q:  Do I really need to print off the course instructions and bring them with me
A:  Yes. Without the detailed instructions or an intimate familiarity with the New Years Day Fat Ass run route, you will get lost. (See comment above. The person didn't refer to the written directions!)

Q:  Can I wait until the last minute and join at the start?
A:  Unlikely.  I want to keep the field to under 100 participants so I can run, too.  For the last few years, I've had to take down registration in mid-December.  Many procrastinators, including some good friends, were left out.  Sorry, but snooze, ya loose.  Online registration  for this event is a snap and at only $25, it's the best deal going, so just sign up now!

Q:  It's a free world. What's to stop me from just running the course.
A:  Nothing... in fact, I strongly encourage you to run the course often in training so you don't get lost on January 1st! I prefer that you do not 'bandit' the course on event day, however. If you are hard-up for cash, let me know and I will pay the race fee for you.  If you insist on not registering, please don't take any of the aid intended for registered participants. You will not get recognition in the results or be eligible for any draw prizes, your status will be noted in the results and you'll have to wear a black patch over one eye at the post run party. Furthermore, you won't be allowed into future events until you come clean with what you owe.  

Q:  What if I get lost?
A:  You shouldn't get lost if you refer to the course instructions where you are faced with a choice of direction. If you do feel you are lost, ask someone... you're in the middle of a city of 2 million inhabitants. If you always get lost, bring a cell phone or a quarter for the pay phone, and make sure you have alerted someone that you might call for help or directions!

Q:  Do I get credit for any time I spend off-course?
A:  Are you kidding? Getting lost is a rite of passage in the Vancouver New Years Day Fat Ass run. Most of the time, you can blame yourself for not paying attention. If you do find an obvious mistake in the course directions, point it out to the Event Host at the finisher banquet for a free beer!

Q:  It's a pain in my you-know-what to pause and read instructions. Couldn't you mark the course like just about every other running race I've ever been in?
A:  Club Fat Ass events are supposed to be different than every other running race you've ever been in. As a Club Fat Ass Event Host, I have to commit to not putting chalk/flour on the ground, hanging surveyor tape in the trees, painting rocks with arrows, putting up signs or doing anything that might leave a trace of the event on the environment, as this is the way Mother Nature prefers. Besides, having to read written course directions tends to slow down the faster runners.

Q: What is the 'Rule of the Trail'?
A: If you pack it in, you can pack it out. (That means don't you dare litter!) Leave nothing but your footprints on the course. CFA strongly encourages you to pick up any trash you find along the trail and to present it to the Event Host at the finisher banquet. There may be a recognition award for the person who packs out more than they packed in.

Q: What if I have to heed the call of nature.
A: There are washrooms at Brockton Oval, First Beach, Kits Beach and Spanish Banks. If you have a small bladder or plan to eat Thai food on New Years eve, best to check with Vancouver Parks and the GVRD to make sure the washrooms will be open when you plan on needing them.

Q:  What should I bring on race day?
A:  Whatever you figure you will need given the weather, the distance you propose to run, your physical fitness on the day and your plans for after the run. Some thoughts are on the event agenda

Weather. Click here for a local forecast

Distance. Since you are an experienced trail runner, you should know what you need. Water and food is an issue, so we recommend you carry at least 2 large bottles of fluid and plenty of trail chow.

Fitness. Since you are an experienced trail runner, you should know what you are capable of. If in doubt, take it easy and run a shorter distance.

Time. It is dark by the time seven (7) hour finishers arrive at the finish. If you think you might be on the course for 7 hours or more, we encourage you to start an hour early, carry a headlamp and have a pacer for the last 10K or so.  

Après run. Bring soap, a towel and a change of clothes if you plan to use the showers at Brockton track.

Q:  I am supposed to be self-sufficient because there is no aid provided. Can I get a friend to come out and give me food and drink along the route?
A:  Absolutely! In fact, it would be nice if your friend were to help everyone. Click on crew tasks and aid station ideas for some thoughts on what some of the options are. Please have your friends and family members contact me and I will do all I can to insure that they have fun, as well.

Q:  Can I bring my friends and family to the finisher party even if they didn't run or volunteer?
A:  Absolutely! Please be sure to include them on your registration form so there will be room for them. 

Q: If I choose to run 25K out to Marine Drive, how do I get back to my starting point?
A:  If you plan on finishing somewhere other than where you start, best to plan to get a friend to meet you, you take the bus or you try and hook up with someone going the opposite way on the Club Fat Ass website.  I recommend you do an out and back so you finish at the same place you start.

Q:  Are there any trophies, prizes or other hardware or freebies?
A:  If you assume there's no aid, no course marking, no t-shirt, no enthusiastic spectators and no prizes or freebies of any sort, you might be pleasantly surprised. Best you plan to show up at the finisher banquet!

Q:  Is there anywhere at the start/finish where I might stash some dry gear, my wallet, etc?
A:  The best place to stash your towel and post run gear is in someone's car at the start.  Of course, you will want to make sure you are either running with that person or will finish at roughly the same time.  Alternatively, you might want to get a friend to meet you at the finish.

Q:  The showers at Brockton Oval are locked with an electronic key.  How do I get in?
A:   I have paid for annual access to the change facilities at Brockton Oval so I have one (1) electronic key.  I will announce at the start where I will hide the key.  It is the responsibility of the first person to use the key to get it to the next person and so on down the line.  It is the responsibility of the last person to use the key to get it back to me.

Q:  How accurate is the course marking?
A:  The course was measured on a bike years ago and re-measured with a Nike Triax pedometer (me) and a Timex GPS (Jim) and a several Garmin GPSs (Tim, Rick). If it's not exact, it's very, very close.

Q:  When will the 'official' results be available?
A:  I hope to have the results up on the New Years Day Fat Ass run website within 24 hours of the finisher banquet. I will also distribute the results to major local and national ultrarunning communities.

Q:  Where's the finisher party?
A:  Two Lions Public House (formerly Mosquito Creek Grill.)  It's conveniently located just over teh Lions Gate Bridge about 10-15 minutes away in Westview Mall in North Vancouver.  (Highway #1 at Westview exit.)  There are prizes and lots of good times so I hope you will join us before you doze off to sleep.

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