In August, Hassan Lotfi-pour, an Information Technology Professional from North Vancouver, sets out to beat his own winning time of 28 hours in the Fat Dog 100 ultra-run, which takes place on the weekend of August 18 and 19. This gruelling race spans three parks and a recreation area between Keremeos at Cathedral Provincial Park and Manning Park, and will include seven gruelling mountainous climbs, and a waist-deep river crossing at Pasayten River. Lotfi-Pour will be running the 120 mile route – the longest of five distances – through hot and challenging terrain.
Lotfi-Pour got into ultra-running after completing five marathons. His first ‘Ultra’ was the Squamish Stormy 50 mile race, and from there he graduated onto the 100 km distance and then, in 2010, signed up for his first ‘100 miler’ – the Fat Dog 100 – which turned out to be 124 miles! “I raced a few times previously in Manning Park, and fell in love with the terrain. When I found out that the Fat Dog finishes at Manning Park, I told myself ‘I have to do this race!”.
Ultra-running refers to races which are longer than the 26.2-mile marathon and generally distances start at 50 kms. Interest in ultra-running is on an upward swing around the globe and is fast gaining recognition at international sporting events. Europe has always been the hub of the sport, as long distance athletes in landlocked countries traverse national borders to complete 100km and 100 mile races (the 170kms Tour de Mont Blanc crosses Switzerland, Italy and France). However, North America is catching up fast and embracing the long distances. “In Canada, there are few 100 mile races – and the opportunity to do one close to home was a bonus”, adds Lotfi-Pour, referring to the Fat Dog 100.
Lotfi-Pour runs around 50 to 80 miles a week, and takes part in a couple of half marathons and around four ‘ultras’ a year. “The training is important, but the secret is to completing a race of this distance is to know what to expect, know your own body and what you need to keep going, and to love what you do, and love the terrain”, adds Lotfi-Pour. “Trail running is very different from road running. The trails are very varied; there’s always something new. You also run more conservatively and nutrition and hydration become extremely important. I keep my mind on the finish line the whole time, and I tell myself to keep going and keep moving; not to stop. Also, having my family support me and meet me along the course made a big difference. My wife, my 11-year-old daughter and my niece were my crew for the last Fat Dog race.”
The maximum time allowed for the Fat Dog 100 is 42 hours, but in 2010, Lotfi-Pour arrived in first place in just under 28 hours. “Finishing was such a great feeling. My body ached, but I was so hyped up that I couldn’t sleep. I waited at the finish line and watched other runners come in”, says Lotfi-Pour. “I loved the race – the scenery was unreal; the views over the Cascades and wild flowers were amazing and you can’t beat the Mountain Madness after race food. My goal for this year? To beat my time, of course!”
The Fat Dog 100 can be done as a relay time, or solo. Distances vary from 120, 70, 50, 30 and 18 miles. The course is challenging, but rewarding – and the views are stunning, which has contributed to its reputation as the most beautiful ‘ultra’ in Canada.
For more information on the Fat Dog 100 visit www.mountainmadness.ca/fatdog.php