Trail Running Tips

STARR is excited to be hosting an evening with well-known coach and trail enthusiast Mike Suminski on Thursday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. in the lower commons area at the Edward Milne Community School.

“The Trail Guy” will be talking about some his favourite running trails on southern Vancouver Island. As well, he will invite questions from the audience and be open to talking about all facets of trail running. This is a great opportunity to learn more about trail running and opportunities in our area.

For more on Mike, check out Or watch him interview STARR’s very own Vince about the Kusam Klimb:

February STARR Events

Saturday, Feb. 2: Hike to Mt. Empress. ***Update*** Hikers meet at 8:30 a.m. at Harbourview***. Route is from Brown’s Old Poleyard (parking lot where Galloping Goose Trail crosses Sooke River Road) to the Harbourview parking lot. This is another great Kusam Klimb training route.

PLAN FOR ALL DAY, 6 hours.  We will need vehicles at the parking lot on Harbourview unless you are so energetic you want to hike back to your car at the Poleyard!! Contact Jackie or Andrea to confirm if you are coming and we will coordinate who will leave their car where.  

Note: Those not taking part in this fun hike can gather at 9 a.m. at Sooke Health and Fitness as usual for a run.

POSTPONED***: ***New date to be announced.*** A run at 9 a.m. from the Whiffin Spit parking lot, which will be followed by a dip, and a social gathering at Jackie and Danny’s afterwards. Spouses and offspring are welcome!

Jackie says:

“In case anyone is wondering why, remember we only turn 67 once!!!  And depending on the weather and tide, maybe the inside for a change unless there are too many ducks and logs!! Following that my house — coffee, tea, chili or something I am still dreaming up, and bread and butter, cheese. Blackberry apple crisp for a dessert.  If anyone wants to bring something they can, or if they have a dietary need … but I think there will be enough.”

Big Sunday Hike


By Jackie Eddy

The day started ominously after a night of steady rain.  I figured maybe 6 would show for what looked like a possible very wet day and was astounded to end up with 50 legs!! 17 humans and 4 dogs!!  

And after a group picture we set off up the Charters Trail.  As there were several who had never been up this way before, we had a quick look at the Charters reservoir and the newish gate…then continued onward and upward.  One of the reasons for this particular route was to start the endurance training for those who are signed up for the famous Kusam Klimb in June.  Looking for as much steep uphill as possible for a taste, the route I selected turned out to be a little too ambitious on this day. Nonetheless we plodded our way up to the turn to Long Mt. called this by Danny and other old guys but I think on a map it says Monument.  Long is a good description though.  Several grand look out spots and finally at the top is a memorial plaque to a young guy who loved hiking this area during his short life.  

Elevation gain was apparent as it started snowing, hailing and sleeting!! The ground had white stuff!! After a bit of making sure we were on the right trail (you do this by going one way, reversing, then go a different way, decide the other way was correct, reverse again, discuss east/west/north/south without the benefit a bright sun…but get it right in the end!)  Left that trail and onto the Grasse Lake trail as planned.  Side trip to the lake, so glad we did - sun shine sun shine, almost felt like going for a swim!  

Back on the trail now heading towards the ‘connector’ to Highways Trail and the plan to view the sights from the top of Empress.  This connector trail is always fun--a couple of small lakes to navigate and finally give up trying to keep dry feet heading along a trail that doubles as a creek. The downed log pile doubles as a bridge across a creek once again.  Each winter the storms add logs and take logs away but pretty easy crossing as it turned out.  No one fell in or got stuck on a log!! By the time we got to Highways Trail decided to cancel Empress for this day and just carry on to Peden Lake and have our lunch there. It was about 12:30 by this time and one does not want to be caught in the woods in the dark and it was getting very dark.  The heavens opened up and gave the liquid blessing. Peden Lake was alive with rain dancing on the surface.  The two women hikers at the cabin when we arrived must have been pretty surprised to see our group slosh in!!

Lunch done and head homeward.  Another side trip to waterfalls  (not the lower Mary Vine falls, the upper!) More picture taking.  This was one of 2 surprises I had in store.  The other one was the ‘pipe’.  I love walking or running the pipe and the challenge of going across the trestles!  Not everyone shares this view…so we broke into 2 groups. Six went on the pipe and the rest plus the pooches continued on the trail to the Goose.  From there back to Charters about 2 k and a bit.  Via the pipe, about 4k so group 1 arrived back to the cars a tad sooner than group 2!!  

No one got lost or left behind and no one reported hypothermia that I heard about so I think considering the size of the group we did very well.  Saving Empress and a different route for another day.  The Klimbers will be ready for their big day in June, if not by physical conditioning, the mental pictures painted by the 2 KK vets should have every nuance covered!  

Photos courtesy of Jackie, Megen. and Andrea

34th Annual Gunnar Shaw X-Country Classic

The 3rd race of the Thetis Lake Fall Series, the 34th Annual Gunnar Shaw X-Country Classic, was held at Thetis Lake 24 Nov. The weather was favourable…cool and cloudy conditions. The runners would face 6 significant hills and 3 major puddles. Covering approx. 10k, 177 runners would hit the cold puddle #3 (the shoe wash) to cross the line.

The Overall Winner (OA) was PIH’s Andre Russell (30-39) in a time of 34:59. The OA Female was Melissa Ross (30-39) with a 40:12 and 12 OA. The top Male Master was former Olympian Jon Brown (40-49) with a 36:06 and 5th OA. The top Female Master was Elizabeth Swiggum (40-49) with a 45:13 and 31st OA.

STARR had 2 runners on the course. In his 1st Gunnar, David White (40-49) hit the beach at 53:09 and 62nd OA. Congratulations…good Kusam training. Acting as the customary course sweeper, our ironman Bruce Hawkes (60 till death), was the last one in with a 1:30:10 and 18th OA. Well done to all. You all deserve a pat on the back. Till next year…HAPPY TRAILS.

STARR 2018 Holiday Events

1. Please remember to sign up for a Fill A Fire Truck food donation collecting shift if you would like to support STARR’s efforts to help the Sooke Food Bank & Christmas Bureau.

2. STARR Holiday Event: We will be holding a run and lunch on Dec. 1. Please meet at the Stickleback West Coast Eatery at 10:30 a.m. for a run followed by lunch at the restaurant. Please note updated time. This is a family event so please feel free to bring spouses and children for the run/walk and lunch.

3. Jan. 1 Festivities: Ring in the new year with a run, swim and social. Please meet at the Whiffin Spit parking lot at 10:30 a.m. for a run. We go in the water for the Polar Bear Swim at noon. Steve and Diane have graciously invited us for a social at their place in the afternoon.

2018 Thetis Lake Relay


The Sooke Trail and Road Runners had a fun and successful day at the 2018 Thetis Lake Relay. The club had four teams in this year's event with 16 runners making the 5K loop around Thetis Lake. 

The STARR super veterans men's squad, The Running Dead, finished third. The senior mixed team got a dishonorable mention  for worst name for its placeholder “We need a team name.”

Leslie Ann’s Diabetes Update

Although things didn’t materialize as planned due to my arm injury and half marathon nixed by my orthopedic surgeon, I managed to complete the 8km event in Victoria for Diabetes Canada earlier today. I am equally pleased that I was able to raise $725 for research and programs for the Diabetes Canada. I was diagnosed nearly 43 years ago and am living proof that the research dollars invested over the past 40 years have made a huge difference to those living with diabetes. So, I thank you for all of your generous support this past year. I thought that you might also enjoy a recap of the experience.

I started raising funds about a year ago, with a goal of running the Victoria half marathon today.  But in May, a significant fall causing a serious humerus bone break (arm), followed by surgery, a plate and 10 pins, side-lined my ability to run and train for the race.  One of the first questions I asked my surgeon post-surgery was whether or not I’d be able to run a half marathon in October, as running and cycling were off the table for “a while.”  His response was a direct and clear “no’” followed by a comment, “I hope you can get your money back.” He did say I could walk with no issues so I started building a backup plan which turned out to be the 8k event today during the Victoria Marathon weekend of events. My goal was to walk 75% and run 25%.

The day started out quite drizzly and as I lined up with the other runners at the start line in front of the famous Empress Hotel, I felt very lucky to be able to run. I checked my blood sugar and scaled back my insulin for the duration of the run. I was ready.  The course is a bit more hilly than I expected but it is a lovely course starting on Victoria’s Harbour front and winding through the downtown core of the city. It then climbs away from the inner harbor through residential neighbourhoods.  While I hustled along the course, I was able to take in the sites and the runners of all ages and abilities in all sorts of clothing from singlets to a winter coat.  I saw some inspiring participants with clear physical disabilities each one out there focused on a personal goal, I am sure. By the time I hit the half way mark, the full marathon, half marathon and 8km course converge at Beacon Hill Park and a scenic view of Victoria’s larger harbour.  The word “hill” was not lost on me, that’s for sure.  My slowest km of the course was from 4-5km which proves the need for more uphill training.  The fog and rain distracted from the view that could have been, but boats and the shoreline were still quite visible and was a lovely part of the course. By km 6 was arm was protesting  but my blood sugar level was staying quite normal so continued with my walk-run schedule.  By the time I could see the finish line the rain was coming down harder but I was happy.  It can be emotional to finish a race but doing it for such a worthy cause in a year of challenges made that finish line all of the more rewarding this time. It was my longest run since May and that too felt equally rewarding to hit another milestone.

Thanks for all of your support be it through my various book sales, encouragement and general donations. 


Thanks, Leslie Ann

Post race, wet but smiling after the finish line, wearing her medal

Post race, wet but smiling after the finish line, wearing her medal