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See what I did there? Revel. In a new race.

Yes, I just learned a day or so ago that Revel Race Series has announced a new race in Chilliwack, BC. I have far from run all their events, but I’ve done one, twice and another one once – Big Cottonwood and Mt. Charleston. Check this out for a course profile!


The main characteristic of a Revel race is that it starts up, way up, and then runs down – generally fast. The new event (August 17, 2019) follows the pattern. If anything, the elevation drop is less than most other Revel races, but it still pretty much meets the standard. For those who really want the details, you can go to the Revel Chilliwack web page and dig around all you want. However, the basics are that the Marathon drops 2,100 feet and the half marathon drops about 615 feet. Both are more or less constantly downhill and of a similar slope except that it seems the marathon has one much steeper downhill section that makes it look like the course is a steeper profile than the half marathon. As normal, the half is just the bottom of the marathon, therefore an integral part of the marathon course profile. The profile is not nearly as extreme as some Revel courses, and that may be a good thing. Running a steep downhill is not as easy as it might first sound. What seems to be on offer in Chilliwack (I think there is going to be a little drive in my immediate future) is a gentle steady downhill for both the marathon and half marathon. Such courses are far easier on the legs but give a wonderful boost to the time at the finish.

Nicely started! Mount Charleston Half
(Photo: Courtesy of Revel)

There already seems to be quite a bit of enthusiasm on-line and I am part of that. I would love to run another inaugural Revel race. I did Mt. Charleston in its first year (2016). One of my big running thrills (well, fun really, since I didn’t kid myself about what really happened), was winning my age group in the half marathon and therefore taking the age group record! I’ve never held the record for ANYTHING where it comes to running.

Revel Mt. Charleston Half Marathon (May 2016) – I do love me a podium finish -1st M70-74. Photo by Revel

I didn’t have any idea that I had even won my age group until I went to get my official finish stats and was pointed over to the WINNER table to claim my gold medal! I did have a pretty decent time, and was happy about that, but talk about a bonus. It caused me to think about running first time events and was surprised when I went back over the years, just how many I have actually done. Needless to say, when a few others found out about this great race just outside Las Vegas, my record lasted just 365 days, whereupon it was smashed – smashed, I tell you! Well, that’s OK. I wuz a contenda that first year.

I have a few personal REVELations from the Big Cottonwood Marathon too. First time was 2014 and then I did it again in 2015 (when my wife walked the half).

Judi and me at Big Cottonwood Package Pickup.

Big Cottonwood happens just outside (and well above) Salt Lake City, Utah. First time the start was at about 8,000 feet. They adjusted the course (snarky out and back at the lower part of the course was shortened) by moving some of the lower part UP the mountain a bit more so the start was at 10,000 feet. If anyone tries to tell you Revel races are easy because they are seriously downhill, do ask if they have ever run a race that starts at 10,000 feet or if they have run one that drops 5,000 feet or so. Starting at 10,000 feet will immediately challenge your oxygen gathering and transferring capacity. Even though I knew, and stayed most of a week at Park City (near 8,000 feet) to acclimatize, I was seriously taken aback as I went through the first few miles. How could I be that tired when we had just started. OK, not really tired. I guess it was more how could it be that hard. Suddenly, it dawned on me just how high we were. I slowed down. It got better and as we continued down, breathing sufficient oxygen became less of an issue. It is a gorgeous route and both times I did it the weather was amazing.

Looking better than I was feeling on ‘net zero’ out and back.

The first time I ran Big Cottonwood we started lower and it was, I think, the last time I had a marathon time that started with ‘4’. Boy was that a big mess though. I do a bit of acting and had been cast in a commercial. Yay me! I was clear that I was supposed to be in Utah, but could/would rearrange my plans, do the filming and still get myself to Salt Lake City. Then, I found they changed the filming schedule and I was between a rock and a hard place. Long story short, I flew on Friday, arriving around 4pm, just in time to pick up my race kit, go to a Marathon Maniac pre-race gathering, grab a couple of hours sleep, drive down from Park City (to bus transport) only to drive back up to the race start and then RUN. Interestingly, we still started pretty high, around 8,000 feet, but I didn’t feel an issue with the altitude. I am told that you either have to give  yourself time to acclimatize, OR, run in and race before your body knows what you did. I guess that I unwittingly did the latter. From the time I landed in Salt Lake City until we started the marathon, was about 15 hours, maybe less.

Running Down Big Cottonwood Canyon – Racing CAN be fun!

I will always love that first Big Cottonwood. One of the photos included in the entry shows me getting big air! I am getting pretty old and slow and have never been a high knee lifter anyway, but that is a photo of which I am very proud.

Between marathons and half marathons, I have run a lot of races with various bling and features. Revel Big Cottonwood was the first where the photos (including a personalized video) was part of the entry. More are doing it now, but it was a first for me back then and appreciated.

I really don’t know what to do about Chilliwack. I would so very much like to do it. The problem is that after three years of trying (unsuccessfully) I got a team registered for the Hood to Coast Relay.

Bob’s Border Busters – Hood to Coast 1987. My first Hood to Coast

It is a week later. Well, to be precise, six days later. This is my 10th Hood to Coast and with the combination of my age and the difficulty of getting a team into the relay, it may well be my last. Hood to Coast is amazing, but it is no joke to run plus or minus three 10Ks in about 18-20 hours with little or no sleep. For sure, unless something goes sideways, there is no choice. Hood to Coast it is for 2019.

All that said, I am seriously mulling the idea of running the half marathon at Revel Chilliwack, not for time, just for the experience. The race is so close to where I live that I would drive to the start mustering area on race morning. The only expense I would have is the entry and a bit of gasoline. I mean, I WILL need some extra distance training in support of Hood to Coast. The individual legs are short enough, but even if I take the shortest combo, that is more or less the distance of a half marathon. I am certain that 2019 HAS to be a better year of running than 2018, so done strategically Chilliwack could work out OK. Guess I will watch for a bit and see how registration is going, not to mention my own training and running.

I mean, I just signed up for the ‘new and improved’ Fir2018.M.Logo.Event.FirstHalf.VancouverMarathonst Half in February. That will take some training and if it goes well, I think my year will be set up nicely. At my age and stage, I am doing a lot more experiential races than any in which I am trying to podium or even nail a ‘good’ time (a relative term, to be sure). Sometimes it happens anyway. Doing the first Revel Chilliwack Half Marathon would fit the pattern quite nicely!

That said, regardless of my own decision, based on my appreciation of Revel races, this is the chance for local (Vancouver/Fraser Valley) runners to give one a try. I don’t think you will be sorry. So, off to the Revel Chilliwack web page with you for a look about. At time of writing and although I could not see how long it lasted, they seem to be offering an early registration discount (Code: EARLY), so there is that to consider as well. See you at the races!


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