Plans are starting to firm up for an attempt at a thru-run of the Mantario trail in Whiteshell Provincial Park up in Manitoba, Canada. I've got a partner (Mario Czarnomski) and a date (November 7th) and now just have to sort out the details. Mario is without a doubt the fittest guy I actually consider a friend (which considering my friends, says a great deal!), but has little experience doing this sort of crazy 'stunt'. Nonetheless, he's willing (most important), capable (2nd most important) and smart, which means he'll be a fast learner. He's also incredibly determined and a fiercely stubborn competitor, so i'm confident that if we don't succeed, it won't be in any part due to my choice of him as a partner. The mantario trail is a 60-67 km long (depending on who you ask) trail through a roadless section of wilderness a few hours east of Winnipeg. The 'trail' is normally done in the late summer/early fall and takes (again, depends on who you ask) normal parties between 3 and 6 days. Of course normal parties are walking it and have packs full of overnight gear, which we won't have to carry. As the date approaches i'll try to post some details about what we'll be carrying, as well as the anticipated conditions.
It will undoubtedly be cold, and ideally we would have gone sooner, but family birthdays, a local climbing competition that my wife is looking forward too, and halloween push it back. so be it. i figure freezing temperatures and a bit of snow on the trail will just make it more challenging. The biggest issue will be staying on the trail and staying dry, both of which are unlikely to happen for it's entire length, as there are notoriously confusing and notoriously wet sections. again, so be it.
two sundays ago i went for my first long run - 90 minutes - in preparation for the attempt. Yesterday (saturday), i went for my second - doing just over 16 miles in about 2 hours - despite a 30 degree temperature and 25 mph winds. mario tagged along for 90 minutes of it - it was his first long run for a while and he didn't want to push it. I found it to be physically harder than normal, probably due to the combination of a mild cold my body is fighting off, the frigid temps, and the fact that mario and I talked for most of the time. All in all it was a good run that has left me with the perfect level of soreness today - enough to make me feel like i've done something but not so much as to be uncomfortable or limiting in any way.