Pretty Pace on the Klondike 100

Pretty Pace on the Klondike 100

 

 

Introduction

Hey there! I’m Kaylyn Nelson, and I’m thrilled to share my unforgettable experience at the Klondike Ultra. The Ultra is organised by Wildland Sports Picture this: ancient sand dunes, moss-covered trails, and the rhythmic flow of the mighty Athabasca River. Let’s lace up those shoes and explore this unique race together.

The Setting

Fort Assiniboine Sandhills Wildland Provincial Park

  • Location: Woodlands County, Alberta, Canada
  • Size: 7,903 hectares
  • Established: 1997
  • Terrain: Sandy, with sections that challenge even the most seasoned runners
  • Forest Floor: A soft carpet of moss—truly unique
  • Camping: Right by the Start/Finish line
  • Courses: All winding clockwise through the park, alongside Clearwater Creek and the majestic Athabasca River

The Trail

From Valley Floors to Sand Dunes

  • The starting line buzzed with anticipation. The Athabasca River hummed nearby, setting the tone.
  • We kicked off across an open field, then hit an old wagon trail. Tall cottonwoods and birch trees flanked our ascent.
  • The climb onto the ancient sand dunes was leg-burning. Each steep section of single track is pure sand. Traction? A luxury. But guess what? The descents are wild. Sand becomes our ally, propelling us downward.
  • Above the river valley, the moss-draped dunes revealed a boreal forest. Smooth single track, rolling hills, and the occasional tree root.
  • Rocks? Almost non-existent. 
  • Leaving Klondike Staging, we stepped onto the original Klondike trail—a path steeped in history, where pioneers faced hardships and lives were lost.
  • As we descended back into the valley, Clearwater Creek joined our run. Didn't have time to beaver spot.
  • Finally, the trail met the Athabasca again. Massive cottonwoods and thick undergrowth guided us toward the finish line.

Distances and Diversity

  • The 50-kilometer and 100-kilometer courses weave this rich tapestry of sand, forest, and history.
  • Other distances—27 km 10 km, and a kids’ 6 km—each offer their own adventure.

My Race

Third Place and Zero Blisters

  • On June 8th, 2024, I left my mark on the Klondike Ultra.
  • Distance: 100 kilometers
  • Result: 3rd Female (9th overall)
  • Finish Time: 12 hours, 24 minutes, and 56 seconds
  • Elevation gain? A whopping 2,880 meters.

Review of ArmaSkin toe socks

I wore the toe socks for the first time in an ultramarathon, I’ve used the regular socks (both lengths) in the past.  I came out with ZERO blisters. The course was sandy, old trails and a bit of wet swamp area (it rained on and off on me throughout the run so I got wet). So you would think this is the perfect cocktail for blisters and I tell ya, I didn’t have to change my anti blister socks, regular socks, or my shoes once the whole run because my feet felt great! Even with all my training runs (a lot of hills) I wear my antiblister socks and I am amazed that I still have toe nails, for the first time in all my running history!
They are truly amazing and if you wear them consistently your feet will be the last thing you have to worry about on a 100 km run. So thankful I’m an ambassador for such a great product!
My footwear stack was Nike Pegasus 4 GORE-TEX trail shoes from Nike (custom designed by my kids with their names on each heel), Azarxis low trail gaiters from Amazon.ca, running outer ankle socks from Under Armour (Yes, ankle socks, I'm a millennial) & ArmaSkin toe sock liners from ArmaSkin.

Conclusion

The Klondike Ultra isn’t just a race; it’s a connection—to history, nature, and the indomitable spirit of exploration. So if you are looking for a Canadian Ultra, remember the ancient dunes, the moss, and the river’s song. Let the Klondike call you.  

Editor: If you'd like to follow more of Kaylyn's Ultra experiences please follow her on Instragram  @pretty_pace

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