Photos: Knee Knacker Volunteering

Photos: Knee Knacker Volunteering

When I heard that the Knee Knackering North Shore Trail Run was looking for volunteer photographers, I immediately put my name in. I asked to be sent to Grouse Mountain where my friend Anita and I waited for runners to pass by. While Anita made runners smile with her orange smiley face, I was busy capturing every moment I could. There’s a lot to take away from this experience… let me share them with you.

To view the full gallery, visit the Knee Knacker website here. Check out the rest of the galleries as well. Each photo is available for purchase for $1 CAD and all proceeds are donated to North Shore Search and Rescue. If you would like to make a donation, you may do so here.

The Knee Knacker is not a walk in the park.

If you don’t know, the Knee Knacker course runs along the entire Baden-Powell trail from West Vancouver to Deep Cove. This tallies just under 48 km. They essentially have to go through a lot of climbing and technical trails. The Grouse area is particularly known for that. A week before the race, I along with Cuski and some friends (Jelger + Tanja) scoped out a small section of BP at Grouse. I had to know where to position myself on race day, after all.

I thought it was challenging as a hike, I couldn’t imagine running it. There were a few spots where I’d be ok running it but there were also narrow areas that kind of freaked me out. We hiked from the Grouse Grind trailhead to Skyline Drive which was about 3 km. Needless to say, even before the race started, I was already in awe of all the entrants. They would’ve been going through this gnarly section on already tired legs… and still have to make it to Deep Cove.

It’s all about the smile.

I know how tough it is to be deep into a race and potentially falling apart. I rely on volunteers and spectators to cheer me up with their signs, high fives, and words of encouragement. Despite running for over 2 and a half hours already, runners who passed by us managed to forget about their pain just for a little bit and hopefully propelled them to the next chunk of their race. Seeing those smiles made this whole experience worthwhile.

Races cannot survive without volunteers.

It takes an army to put together a successful race. There were 14 photographers alone, working to ensure every runner had a photo at various points of the race. I can only imagine how many course marshals, sweeps, aid station attendants, first aid, search and rescue and administrative volunteers there were. I love that a lot of the volunteers are Knee Knacker hopefuls who didn’t get in the lottery. It really shows the dedication people have to this event and sport. Being a part of it in a supportive way was just as rewarding as running. Our reward: the great feeling of giving back, a nifty t-shirt, and lunch at the park. Want to volunteer next year? Check out their website here.

Special congratulations to the winners!

213 runners started the day and 193 finished, 102 of those for the first time. There can only be 1 overall male and female winner though so congratulations to Nick Elson (4:32:03) and Katie Mills (6:06:15). Nick passed my spot at around 8:29 AM with a pretty solid gap between himself and 2nd place Cody Callon, who also ran a fantastic race. Nick ran at a blistering pace, setting a new course record.

When Katie arrived at Grouse, she was the second woman and somehow she managed to catch up, pass the leader and win it all. Katie, you’re my idol. What an awesome way to win.

Would I volunteer again?

I would say yes, as long as I’m in town. The volunteer coordinators are very organized, great communicators and very clear on exactly what they require us to do. A lot of work was put in this race and to add to that, their fundraising efforts benefited the North Shore Search and Rescue in a big way. They even reward the individual who raises the most money a guaranteed spot in a race. Lots of incentive there!

I had a great time volunteering and I’m super inspired by all of you. I hope to see you all again next year.

To view the full gallery, visit the Knee Knacker website here. Check out the rest of the galleries as well. Each photo is available for purchase for $1 CAD and all proceeds are donated to North Shore Search and Rescue. If you would like to make a donation, you may do so here.