Get Inspired by the Knee Knackering North Shore Trail Run

Get inspired locally by watching ordinary people doing an extraordinary feat

The Knee Knacker race takes the scenic route across the North Shore mountains

This weekend I’m running in the 23rd edition of the Knee Knacker 30-mile trail run

I love this race because it’s a friendly atmosphere in which all the runners are united in trying to survive the tough course. This will be my sixth time toeing the start line.

Finishing the race is an accomplishment as the route follows the Baden Powell trail beginning just above Horseshoe Bay and ending in Deep Cove. During the race, runners will climb about 8,000 feet and descend 8,300 feet over varied terrain including a boulder field, roots, mud, streams and even snow at the higher elevations. 

A lot of non-runners think the participants are crazy to even think of running a race in which the average finishing time is seven hours and 30 minutes. I know I did when I first heard of it in 1996, but three years later I completed my first Knee Knacker and have been a fan ever since.

Get Inspired by the Knee Knackers

Even if you’re not a trail runner and have no ambitions to become one, the race is a great one to watch and get inspired to achieve your own fitness goals. 

While the event does attract some elite runners, a vast majority of the 200 participants are not elite competitors. And this is what makes watching the race so inspiring. You’ll see ordinary people who trained hard for months to accomplish a pretty big feat. The race is such a huge physical challenge that simply finishing it rewards you with an immense sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

As a spectator it’s hard not to be drawn into the energy of the racers, volunteers and small crowds of fans along the course.

Where to Watch the Race

The race begins at 6 a.m., so unless you’re a really, really avid fan or know someone who’s running, you probably won’t be showing up to watch the start. However, there are some other places along the course where you can watch the runners go by. Here’s a list of good viewing spots and approximate times of differently paced runners.

Location First Runner 5:45 Runner 7:30 Runner 10:00 Runner
Cypress Bowl Ski area 7:15 a.m. 7:35 a.m. 8:05 a.m. 8:50 a.m.
Cleveland Dam (halfway) 8:15 a.m. 8:45 a.m. 9:40 a.m. 10:55 a.m.
Seymour Demonstration Forest 9:20 a.m. 10:10 a.m. 11:25 a.m. 1:20 p.m.
Panorama Park, Deep Cove (finish) 10:40 a.m. 11:40 a.m. 1:30 p.m. 4:00 p.m.

Cleveland Dam and Panorama Park are probably the best spots from which to watch. The finish area has an electric atmosphere with each finisher being greeted with loud cheers and applause from the spectators.

If you don’t have plans this Saturday, come out and watch some amazing personal achievements take place right in our own backyard. Who knows, you might get so inspired maybe next year it’ll be you running past the finish line in Deep Cove.