Under muddy and rainy conditions the Fast Trax Trail Ultra took place on June 18th, 2011 in Goldbar Park just outside of Edmonton, Alberta. Runners encountered rain, mud and then just when the rain subsided – hordes of mosquitoes. Despite all the obstacles of a difficult spring day there were 25 – 30k finishers, 18 – 50k finishers, 6 – 50 mile finishers and 4 – 100k finishers. Detailed results can be found on the race website.
For one Edmonton runner the Fast Trax Trail 100k Ultra marked a significant running milestone. Hiroshige Watanabe (aka ‘Hiro’) completed his 35th ultramarathon on Saturday. Originally from Japan, Hiro has been running ultras since 1999 and he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. He has completed no less than five – 100 mile races, Sinister 7 – 146km race, the North Face Canadian Death Race 125km race 5 times and eleven – 100k races.
Despite his numerous running achievements, Hiro maintains a sense of humour throughout the trials of running long distances. After the completion of his latest success at Fast Trax, Hiro posted a story on his facebook page about the race. He said at the 93km point he was climbing a hill when a local woman asked him if there was a walking competition going on. Hiro replied “…kind of. It’s 100k running and walking and I’ve done 93kso far and have 7k to go.” He said at the top of the hill he started running and the woman said “Oh, you are slow. I can run with you.” Hiro joking on his facebook page figured the woman didn’t quite fully understand what he had said.
No doubt it must be hard for a bystander to comprehend someone running 100k on a wet and rainy spring day in Alberta. What would she have thought if Hiro had told her it was his 35th ultramarathon? For many of us it’s difficult to understand what it takes both physically and mentally to complete these long feats of running endurance. And especially the difficulty of finishing multiple ultramarathons each year. Yet for Hiro it’s just part of living life to the fullest.
Hiro’s upcoming plans are to travel to Japan and Europe to compete in more ultramarathons. If the past is any indication of the future, Hiro will be crossing the finish line in those races with more humourous stories and his trademark big smile.