How the Vancouver VK Series Works
- Learn about VK's (Vertical Kilometer races) on our informative information page
- European Vertical KM races typically operate via a “Time-Trial” or (one at a time starting) format without aid stations, following a direct single route up a mountain face, making their cross-over into an online series relatively easy and seamless due to the short distance (<5-6km).
- The Bremner's Vancouver Vertical KM Series is an four-month online race format series, with no organised in-person race dates. Permitting and logistical issues would preclude us from hosting this many courses across the region with a typical in-person race format. As a participant, you will simply run the courses on your own (or with friends), whenever is convenient to you. The series begins on Saturday June 3rd and runs to the end of the day on Sunday October 8th 2023.
- The cost is $45 to Enter. Click here to register. The series commences in early June, but you can still register anytime during the series once its underway. Starting late still gives you plenty of time to catch up.
- Navigating the courses is a valid concern for some of our participants. We have done our best to provide as much navigation support including strava segments, maps, video walk throughs for all the VK courses. It is recommended that participants do a recon run on the course prior to attempting a faster effort if you are unsure of the route to avoid disappointment. We do offer in-person guided course orientation social hikes for those who are uncertain of navigating on their own. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we organise someone to go out with you.
- You will receive login details for the Series Dashboard in the week prior to the series commencement. When the series commences, you simply log in to the dashboard to see what courses are currently open. Upon running any of the open VK courses, you will then submit your efforts (via GPS file or Strava Activity Link) on a web page submission form. Detailed instructions are provided on this page to help you understand the uploading process. If you are technology unsavvy - don't stress, we helped several people through this process successfully in 2021 and 2022 over email email@example.com.
- Submitted attempts will go live immediately on the Series Dashboard, but are flagged as unverified initially and will be subsequently verified by the race organiser (within 48-72 hours). In most cases, your time is verified by the Strava segment. If you don't use strava, upload your GPS file and we'll get the strava segment time for you (but we prefer you sign up to Strava to save us the time). We manage GPS issues and off-course turns on a case by case basis - they are expected in the North Shore mountains - we'll do our best to make everyone happy.
- The Series Dashboard lists all recent VK attempts and achievements by competitors in the series. If you would like to get an idea of how this works, check out our archive of the previous VK series from 2021-2022
- Some courses will open immediately when the series begins in June (primarily the Grouse Mountain/Skyline courses), and others will only open when they are snow free, which is usually July. A few of the courses may not open until August. Courses may temporarily close due to unsafe conditions during the series (such as snow, substantial rain events, landslides, forest fires, trail maintainence/closures) or if restrictions are placed on public access outside of our control. We will not accept attempts for the series leaderboards when a course is closed, but your time may be accepted if the course closed before you were able to be notified (a 24-hour leeway may apply).
- Even if we say a course is "open", you are entirely responsible for yourself and you must sign a release waiver when registering for this series accepting all risk. Read the waiver here. You must undertake your own safety and risk assessments. You must do suitable research on the courses, be appropriately trained for the intensity of this race format, check whether the weather and mountain conditions are safe, carry appropriate supplies (essentials, food, and water) and accept all the risk yourself in getting yourself up and down the courses safely. If you are unsure of your skill or navigation ability sign up to one of our guided course social runs, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for help on arranging a guided escort for your attempt.
- All competitors are highly encouraged to follow BC's AdventureSmart guidelines, especially leaving a trip plan with a loved one. If the weather or conditions are unsafe, you must turn back like you would on any other outing. There are four months for you to complete courses in this series ... just come back another day.
- While we have done our best to choose courses that give a good trail running experience, please realise the North Vancouver and backcountry mountains are technical, challenging, and potentially a dangerous place for the underprepared. Please contact the race organiser James at email@example.com if you require advice or assistance in making a determination about your ability to complete any of our courses, or if you need more information about a course.
- James provides performance coaching services (Couch->Summit Performance Coaching) and has vast experience in VK and vertical-orientated trail races; he can help train you as a runner to develop your ability to run these types of races. If you sign up to coaching you will receive free entry to the series (or refund if you've already paid). Learn more here.
- We also offer Customised 6-12 month Training plans for the series More information here..
- We also offer some free training advice for the series here.
How to Compete in the SeriesThere are many ways you can participate in the series. There are 20 different courses across 6 regional locations in the Greater Vancouver region.
- 1. Achieve Time Benchmarks For each VK course, you can set your best time and benchmark your performance against multiple categories:
- Against the Course Record time for Male and Female categories (including times from 2021 and 2022)
- Against the 2023 fastest times of other competitors in your age and gender categories Current records listed here
- 2. Six regional VK Series Group Races! In 2023, we have categorised the 20 courses into six groups based on regional location.
Each group will have both a Male and Female Group Champion winner which is calculated from total aggregate time of every course in the group (only your fastest time on each course is used). You are free to run the same course many times in search of your best performance; only your fastest time will count in the calculation.
You can compete in a single regional group or across multiple groups during the series - the choice is entirely yours! Each group has a difficulty rating relating to the terrain you will encounter and effort involved. If you are a beginner start with our easiest groups and progress toward the harder ones as you develop your abilities and fitness. Simply target the groups that appeal to you most and have fun!
The six course groups race series are:
- Grouse VK Series Group Race (5 courses - 19.87km 5000m ascent) - Easy
- Skyline VK Series Group Race (3 courses - 14.37km 3000m ascent) - Easy/Mod.
- Cypress VK Series Group Race (2 courses - 9.77km 2000m ascent) - Moderate
- Mt Fromme VK Series Group Race (3 courses - 16.84km 3000m ascent) - Moderate
- Headwaters VK Series Group Race (3 courses - 12.21km 3000m ascent) - Difficult
- Sea to Sky VK Series Group Race (4 courses - 12.89km 4000m ascent) - Difficult Explore our VK Courses
- 3. In 2023 we have specific races that combine either our 10 easier courses, our 10 hardest courses, or all 20 courses. Your goal is to climb all the VK's listed for the race and your combined time will go on the leaderboard for that race. If you complete all courses in the race, you are listed as a finisher, and you win the race if your combined time for all courses is the fastest!
See our retrospective results with these races for 2021 and 2022 here
- Climb to the Stratosphere VK Ultramarathon (20 courses - 85.95km and 20000m ascent - Difficult)
Climb to the height of the stratosphere by completing all 20 courses in the series across the four months to enter our VK Ultra Hall of Fame! In 2021, only four competitors managed to complete the full ultra and seven people finished in 2022.
The total combined time of your fastest VK attempt on each course will be combined to give you your Climb to the Stratosphere VK Ultramarathon final finishing time. The Male and Female with the fastest accumulated time will be crowned the VK Ultra Grand Champion for the series.
- Everest Adventure VK Marathon (10 easiest courses - 44.01km and 10000m ascent - Easy/Mod.)
Climb more than the height of Everest (8849m) by completing our 10 easiest courses from the Grouse, Skyline and Cypress VK Regional Groups.
The total combined time of your fastest VK attempt on each course will be combined to give you your Everest Adventure VK Marathon final finishing time.
- Everest Summits VK Marathon (10 hardest courses - 41.94km* and 10000m ascent - Difficult)
Climb more than the height of Everest (8849m) by completing our 10 hardest courses from the Mt Fromme, Sea to Sky and Headwaters VK Regional Groups.
The total combined time of your fastest VK attempt on each course will be combined to give you your Everest Summits VK Marathon final finishing time.
- Climb to the Stratosphere VK Ultramarathon (20 courses - 85.95km and 20000m ascent - Difficult)
- 4. Power Ranking Competition If running fast isn't your thing, but volume and time on your feet is, then you can still enjoy the series by engaging in the strategy of our power ranking competition. Some of our competitors in 2021 and 2022 found the journey of increasing their power ranking score highly addictive!
The power ranking is a rating based on your commitment to the series and rewards those who put the most effort into the series. Ranking points are attained through your VK attempts, achieving badges (and their associated bonus points) from achieving certain benchmarks and winning competitions within the series (such as most climbs during the week or month).
The Complete Explanation of the Power Rankings is outlined by clicking here
The Vancouver VK Series is Proudly Sponsored by Bremner's Foods a local Vancouver based company.
Check out their premium products on Bremners Online at:www.bremnerfoods.com