Latest Series News
Bremner's Vancouver VK Series - Back for 2022 and Open for RegistrationJan 24 2021 - 9:30pm
We have great news to report, the Bremner's Vancouver Vertical KM series is back for 2022 with a new and improved format. If you plan to return in 2022 - thank you for your fantastic support!
One of the shortfalls for last season was getting the word out, so even if you don't plan on returning for 2022 - if you enjoyed the series, please recommend the race series within your friends circle and social media. We'd really appreciate it!! Hashtag is #vancouvervk
The series begins on Saturday June 4th and runs to the end of the day on Sunday October 2nd 2022.
We have slightly reduced our prices for 2022. The cost is $34 if you register by Feb 28th, $44 if you register by March 31st, and $49 until August 1st.
Registrations are now open through http://www.verticalkm.ca
We haven't made radical changes for 2022 relating to aspects like the courses (there is one course change in 2022), but we have made improvements to the way we format your attempts and rankings, aimed at creating more participation across the entire four months of the series. We have some exciting new races inside the series for you to target including six new regional group races, two "Everest" VK marathons and the "Climb to The Stratosphere" VK Ultra!
Here are a list of our changes:
1. The Power Ranking format remains as per 2021 but some points calculations have been changed.
2. Our original 20 courses remain; however, VK9 Backtrack is replaced due to the washout on the bottom of the BCMC with a new replacement course "VK9 Black Eagle" which starts at the beginning of the Baden Powell Trail on Horseshoe Bay Drive in West Vancouver and finishes on top of Eagle Bluffs. Some of our courses are slightly longer than 5km, so now the series is billed as 20 courses under 6km or less.
3. Navigating the courses is a valid concern for some of our participants. Improvements for 2022 include in-person guided course orientation social hikes led by experienced Team Bremner members each weekend. The tenative schedule for our guided hikes is https://verticalkm.ca/guided-hikes.php and we have tried to avoid conflicts with popular race dates. Please use these group outings to complete a course that you are unsure about and to confidently learn the route for future efforts.
4. Through my Couch->Summit Performance Coaching service, I am offering 3, 4, 5 or 6-month customised VK oriented training plans for purchase to help you prepare for the series. These are very affordable with the cost beginning at $160, and I tailor the plan specifically for your level of fitness, the number of hours you have available to train each week, and to fit in preparation around any other races you may have on the horizon etc... Along with the training plan you receive a detailed training manual that assists you in understanding the training process. You may also wanted to consider more hands on coaching (priced at $130/mth), and you will receive free entry into the series if you sign up. More information on the training plans and coaching (plus training tips) are found here: https://verticalkm.ca/training.php
5. 2021 Course Records remain in play, but there will also be 2022 season records. Now you have two times to try and conquer.
6. Some people found finishing all 20 courses too big a task, and also most people aren't in the running for winning the series overall. Instead, we have come up with a better approach that allows people to target specific outcomes based on their level of fitness and time commitment to the series.
Firstly, we are unlikely to include a single Male and Female series champion as per 2021 format due to lack of engagement regarding the original format we used. Some people didn't understand how the rankings worked and we are removing the complication of it. Instead:-
In 2022, we have categorised the 20 courses into six groups based on regional location - and each regional location stands as its own race series. Instead of a single VK series champion, we will now have winners for each of the VK Series Group Races. The Male and Female winners will be calculated from total aggregate time of every course in the group. 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.
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/Moderate
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
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.
You can compete in a single regional group or across multiple groups during the series - the choice is entirely yours to make. If you only have time to target a handful of courses, you can simply try to win one of these six group races!
7. For those seeking an expanded challenge, new in 2022 we have two "VK Marathon" races that combine our 10 easiest courses and our 10 hardest courses into a single race ranking; along with the new "VK Ultra" that combines all 20 courses. Your goal will be to climb all the VK's listed for the race to determine your overall time. If you complete all courses for the race, you are listed as a finisher, and you win the race if your combined time for all courses is the fastest!
The three new races are outlined below:
* 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. You can see how last year's results look on the leaderboard here: https://verticalkm.ca/vk-ultra.php
* Everest Adventure VK Marathon (10 easiest courses - 44.01km and 10000m ascent - Easy/Moderate)
Climb more than the height of Everest (8849m) by completing our 10 easiest courses from the Grouse, Skyline and Cypress VK Regional Groups. You can see how last year's results look on the leaderboard here: https://verticalkm.ca/marathon-adventure.php
* 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. You can see how last year's results look on the leaderboard here: https://verticalkm.ca/marathon-summits.php
For full information on how the series works click here: https://verticalkm.ca/how-series-works.php
8. Prizes for the new race formats will be determined based on registration numbers and announced once the series commences.
9. The Standings for 2021 remain as per the original format, but we have retrospectively re-calculated the results to determine historical winners for these new race formats. Our retrospective results can be seen here: https://verticalkm.ca/results-summary.php
In Summary the 2021 VK Series Retrospective Race Series Results:
2021 Climb to the Stratosphere VK Ultramarathon Winners and Finishers (Finishers: 4)
The four finishers are now listed in our Hall of Fame. Can you join them in 2022??
20:29:01 M1 Peter BREMNER
20:47:45 F1 Keri MCKENZIE
20:49:06 M2 Patrick HAUNSCHMIDT
22:37:31 M3 Brian CLEMENTS
2021 Everest Summits VK Marathon Winners (Finishers: 4)
10:49:41 M1 Peter BREMNER
10:50:47 F1 Keri MCKENZIE
2021 Everest Adventure VK Marathon Winners (Finishers: 8)
09:39:20 M1 Peter BREMNER
09:56:58 F1 Keri MCKENZIE
2021 Grouse Group Winners (Finishers: 10)
04:35:14 M1 Peter BREMNER
04:41:53 F1 Julia HLYNSKY
2021 Skyline Group Winners (Finishers: 12)
02:49:30 F1 Keri MCKENZIE
03:02:24 M1 Patrick HAUNSCHMIDT
2021 Fromme Group Winners (Finishers: 7)
03:04:56 M1 Patrick HAUNSCHMIDT
03:28:40 F1 Sue IRONSIDE
2021 Headwaters Group Winners (Finishers: 6)
03:14:46 M1 Peter BREMNER
03:16:28 F1 Keri MCKENZIE
2021 Cypress Group Winners (Finishers: 8) (Note: VK9 Backtrack used in this calculation)
01:57:18 M1 Peter BREMNER
01:59:16 F1 Keri MCKENZIE
2021 Sea to Sky Group Winners (Finishers: 5)
03:42:33 M1 Peter BREMNER
03:56:50 F1 Keri MCKENZIE
Finally, if you're interested in purchasing one of our race shirts, preorder by May 1st for early June delivery. https://verticalkm.ca/race-shirts.php
Thank you for your participation in 2021 and we hope to see you again in 2022.
Final ResultsOct 5 2021 - 6:30pm
LUCKY DRAW PRIZE - Minimum 5 VK attempts (29 competitors qualified): Bob FRAZER
Congratulations Bob, you were pulled out of the hat for the lucky draw prize.
POWER RANKING CHAMPION - Brian CLEMENTS with 38575 points and 55 VK's in total. 1st 38575 Brian CLEMENTS 2nd 19425 Keri MCKENZIE 3rd 15791 Peter BREMNER
WOMENS OVERALL CHAMPION - Keri MCKENZIE 1000 points. 1st 1000 Keri MCKENZIE (*15 course records) 2nd 999 Julia Hlynsky (*4 course records) 3rd 972 Sue Ironside (*1 course record)
MENS OVERALL CHAMPION - Mike MCMILLAN 1000 points. 1st 1000 Mike MCMILLAN (*5 course records) 2nd 976 Jordan GUENETTE (*4 course records) 3rd 974 Nigel HOLE (*3 course records)
Congratulations to our four winners who will receive $200 cash prize each: Brian CLEMENTS, Keri MCKENZIE, Mike MCMILLAN and BOB FRAZER.
Brian Clements dominated the series with a fantastic commitment to rolling off the VK's through June and July to take a early commanding lead that was never threatened heading into September. Brian not only climbed the most VK's in the series, he played the series strategically and committed to chasing bonus points for weekly, monthly and series options, and with little competiton swept to an easy victory in the end. With 55 VK's in the end, Brian is certainly the VK king for the summer! Great efforts also by Keri McKenzie and Peter Bremner to land podium spots with their significant commitment to the series.
In the Women's Overall competition Keri McKenzie dominated the women's field with a commanding display of 15 course records. Julia Hlynsky provided stiff competition only 1pt behind in the series ranking, Keri also swept to 2nd place in the power rankings assuring herself victory even if Julia had attained 5 or more course records. Sue Ironside also provided good competiton for Julia and Keri and landed herself 3rd place with 972pts.
The Men's Overall competition wasn't fiercely contested with Jordan Guenette and Mike McMillan going back and forth with their infrequent VK efforts. While Jordan had the fastest times in the series, he didn't achieve 5 course records to match Mike on 1000pts who just did enough to win. It would have been nice to see them challenge each other more, but both of them had other commitments over the summer limiting their involvement in the series. Congrats also to Nigel Hole, Peter Nowicki, Seamus Boyd-Porter and Peter Bremner for posting strong times throughout the series all achieving over 940 pts.Congratulations also to our four competitors who completed all 20 courses: Peter BREMNER, Brian CLEMENTS, Patrick HAUNSCHMIDT, Keri MCKENZIE. TOP 10 MOST ATTEMPTS 1 55 Brian CLEMENTS 2 40 Keri MCKENZIE 3 30 Peter BREMNER 4 30 Matt EHRENREICH 5 26 Sue IRONSIDE 6 21 Patrick HAUNSCHMIDT 7 20 Meghan MACLEOD 8 18 Andy VERVERGAERT 9 17 Herman ALAGAO 10 16 Bob FRAZER
We aim to bring the VK series back in 2022, but the format is open to change. Please let us know if you have any feedback, ideas or suggestions for the series in the future. Thank you to all who participated and made the series successful.
From all of us at Bremner Foods and Couch to the Summit, we look forward to seeing you again in 2022, have a great Xmas and New Year. For those who are interested, Couch to the Summit will be running a winter vertical series with a format yet to be finalized, and entry will be free. The goal of the series will be to help build fitness over winter to prepare you for next spring and summer. You will receive a final email on that in the coming weeks.
James Stewart Race Director - Bremner's Vancouver Vertical KM Series
July 15 Course UpdateJuly 15 2021 - 11:30pm
VK7 Uncaged Lions is now open as of July 15th. Please note there is a little bit of snow still at the top part of the boulder field area of the Lions Binkert trail. This is easily crossable without crampions or ice axe, but please beware of post-holing hazards as it continues to melt. It is possible to skirt the edges of the snow without touching it. However, if you are uncertain please wait 1-2 more weeks for all the snow to melt.
VK9 Backtrack and VK13 Screaming Eagle are now open for attempts at anytime of the week not just weekends. Trail work is still ongoing on the BCMC, so please respect closure signs during week days daytime periods. Attempts before and after working hours are now accepted.
Only two courses remain left to open, the two out near Coliseum Mountain. I am just waiting for the snowmelt to proceed a little bit more before opening them up. Thanks for your patience.
Most courses open nowJuly 5 2021 - 4:30pm
Today I have opened up all but three of the 20 courses. All the Mt Fromme courses are open along with most of the Sea to Sky courses. VK4 Lost Limb, VK5 The Glorious, VK17 Slipstream, VK19 Speedweaver and VK20 Mosquito Bite have opened today. However, I have yet to film and complete the photos and detailed instructions for these courses. If you are confident of navigating off the GPX file and course map then please get out there and tackle the courses! If you are unsure of the routes, please be patient while I get out there and hike all the courses to complete the navigation instructions for you. Thanks for your patience!
VK3 - The General, VK7 Uncaged Lions and VK14 Gladiator remain closed awaiting the final snowmelt to complete. We hope to open these final courses in the coming fortnight
Course instructions and videos updatedJune 28 2021 - 11:00pm
Apologies - due to illness, I've been unable to finish the course instructions for a number of currently open courses until tonight. Thank you for your patience
Course instructions, strava segment links, video walkthroughs and GPX download links have been updated for VK9 - Backtrack, VK10 - Extra Credit, VK12 - Grousewoods Grind, VK13 - Screaming Eagle, and VK16 - Bleeding Cut.
Please note that no videos will be produced in the series for: VK9 Backtrack, VK11 Van Damme, VK13 Screaming Eagle, due to the courses being easy to navigate from instructions and maps alone.
New VK Course "Afterglow" replacing VK2 Black SwanJune 25 2021 - 12:00pm
Change of Course
Afterglow replaces the originally intended VK2 course called "Black Swan". Due to risk of landslide, the access to the swan falls trail is closed and is unlikely to open this summer according to the Buntzen Lake warden (as of June 24th). We have decided to replace this course with Afterglow for 2021. While it is not as steep and longer in distance at 4.5km, Afterglow is a great addition to the series and we are sure competitors with enjoy this route!
Afterglow is a VK course that starts up the Sunset Trail which is a well-marked and technically easy-moderate trail that heads up to Yew Lake at Cypress and connects onto the Howe Sound Crest West access Trail. The course finishes where this trail connects to the Howe Sound Crest trail East (the noticeboard) before you continue on to St Marks summit.
The other change is that the "Lions" group has now been renamed "Sea to Sky" and now encompasses 5 courses instead of the originally planned 4. The Afterglow course is included as part of the Sea to Sky group. Originally, the Black Swan course was one of the backcountry courses, but now this group has been reduced from 4 courses to only 3.
You can now Change Your PasswordJune 22 2021 - 1:00pm
I have released new functionality that now allows you to change the default password to your account to any of your choosing. You can change your password here
Timing Your EffortMay 31 2021 - 4:00pm
Three-Day Submission Window
In fairness to other competitors, you must upload your VK attempt within three days of completing your run, otherwise your time won’t be accepted.
We won’t be accepting your word on completing the courses.
You must GPS record your activity in some way to provide evidence of your attempt in the same way you would for any type of FKT (Fastest Known Time) attempt.
Make sure when starting your watch or Strava phone app, you do so in the open air and let the satellites connect up for a solid 5-minutes before heading under the forest canopy. This will give you the best chance for the most reliable GPS track.
I also highly recommend you sync your watch with your watch service before each attempt to get the latest satellite information on your device. This also gives you the best chance of accurate GPS tracking.
Our recommended option for timing your attempt is to upload your activity to Strava. If your GPS track is good, your attempt will link up with the Strava segment for the VK course, where you can then easily determine your time. I will be setting up Strava segments for all the courses.
To submit your attempt, from the series dashboard, you will click the “Submit Your Attempt” link and on this page you can copy and paste the Strava activity link into the submission form and input your time. With this method, your attempt will go live on the website immediately and appear on the leaderboards; however, your time will be marked as unverified initially – and within 24-72 hours it will be reviewed and verified. If for some reason your attempt is deemed ineligible, the leaderboards will be subsequently recalculated to exclude your attempt.
To get the Strava link, copy the activity URL from your web browser. Or from within the Strava mobile app, click on “Share Activity” then under “Share Using” select “More” and choose “Copy to clipboard.” You can then paste the link into submission form.
The accepted formats are either:
https://www.strava.com/activities/XXXXXXXXXX or https://strava.app.link/XXXXXXXXXX
If for some reason you can’t determine your time, the Strava segment didn’t link up, or you had major GPS issues, you have the backup option to submit your Strava link and let me figure it out for you (I make no promises though). With this option, your attempt will not go live on the website immediately, as it may take up to 24-72 hours to be reviewed.
I highly recommend you use the Lap Timer on your watch as secondary back-up method to timing your effort in case the above scenario occurs. Your timed laps will appear in the GPS file/strava activity and aid in evidence for your time. You can also use RunGo app to time your run – and it has its own leaderboard for the VK segment. Just remember to start and stop the timer on the app yourself (it doesn’t automatically detect your time when you cross the course start and end points like Strava does). When using RunGo search for the name of the course by typing “VK” then the name of the course: i.e. “VK Completely Necessary” or “VK Van Damme” to find the route and then begin your attempt. Please contact RunGo support if you need help using their app for navigation. Noah Bloom is aware of our series and will be able to help you out.
If you don’t want to use Strava for privacy or other reasons, we also allow you to directly upload your GPS file (I accept TCX, GPX or FIT format). With this method, your attempt will not go live on the website immediately and take up to 24-72 hours to be reviewed, time determined and approved for display.
If you are having trouble copying the link from Strava or submitting your attempt, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for further assistance.
Safety First and Going Off RouteMay 31 2021 - 4:00pm
There are two rankings in the series: for fast times and power rankings for attempts.
To set a fast time you need to complete the entire course from start to finish. If you go off-route, your time will still be accepted as long as you didn’t gain an obvious advantage by doing so. If you don’t make it to the top, or if you short cut the route (more relevant in courses with downhills), your time will be ineligible for obvious reasons.
However, for the power ranking points you don’t necessarily have to complete the full course. For any of your attempts (failed or successful) please upload them all to the series, because you may still get power ranking points even if you fail to finish the attempt as long as there was a reasonable circumstance that prevented you from finishing. Some of these accepted circumstances are:
- The weather changed and you took a safety-first option to turn back.
- There was some hazard or closure on a course that prevented you from going further (in this case please let us know so we can warn other participants).
- You took a wrong turn and didn’t make it to the finish point.
- You took a wrong turn and did eventually make it to the finish point but not entirely via the official route.
- You reached a part of a course where you were feeling uncomfortable with proceeding due to it being outside your level of comfort or ability and you turned back.
The last thing we want is someone having an accident because you tried to push through a part of the course beyond your level of ability in the attempt of securing a badge and some power rank points. Be safe, turn back, and you will still get marked as a VK attempt and get the attempt badge for the VK route. Remember, its often harder to come down a steep course than it is to go up, so bear that in mind when making a decision on whether to proceed.
For example, our steepest course VK1 Completely Necessary, has a few brief sections of scrambling up some quite steep terrain or rocks that some people might find confronting – one in particular about 800m ascent up the course when you will be tired. As an example, if you are aiming to complete all 20 courses in the series, we will accept your attempt on VK1 even if you turned back because you weren’t feeling comfortable in proceeding. Just let me know the reason for not completing the course when you submit your attempt and you will still get the power ranking points and course badge awarded. What matters most is you got out there and had a go, but also kept yourself safe, and that warrants reward.
Ultimately, when submitting a failed attempt, please let us know the reason for not completing the course. To get the power ranking points you must have made a reasonable effort to start and complete the route. Whether the attempt qualifies will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Website Course Distance Might Not Match Your Phone/WatchMay 31 2021 - 4:00pm
Our courses have specific distances listed but these are simply the distances estimated by the route builders. In reality, these predicated distances can often run a bit on the short side. Typically, your on foot distance will increase above the predicted distance as you traverse over obstacles on the actual trail, and also GPS drift can contribute to inaccuracy of distance upward or downward as well. Don’t navigate your effort on the expectation that the distance (or elevation) you see on the watch will be the end point of your attempt.
The worst thing you can do is stop your attempt early since your time won’t then qualify. For the best outcome, plan to overshoot the finish spot just to be on the safe side. While our Grouse/Fromme courses have understandable finish locations, our Lions Bay and Backcountry courses will sometimes finish before you reach the top of the actual climb you’re on.
If you have a barometer on your watch, set the elevation of your watch to a known elevation point before starting your run and determine the elevation of the course finish prior to your attempt. Then you will know precisely where it ends.
Ultimately, make sure you study the course instructions closely and view the start and finish line photos/video so you have a visual sense of what you should be seeing when you finish the course route.
Navigating the CoursesMay 31 2021 - 4:00pm
I will be doing everything I can to provide clear photo and video demonstrations of the courses, as well as providing downloadable GPS route tracks.
Part of the challenge of this series is learning to navigate a course route without markings you will find in regular races. In races, everything is taken care for you when it comes to course markings, but unfortunately, we are unable to mark the routes for you (despite our best attempts).
I urge you to consider this series as more of a form of orienteering. While I provide you with a course to follow, you might end up off course at some point. In regular races, this will typically result in a disqualification. However, in this series, I may still accept times where there is a slight variation on the route. Begin at the start point and finish at the end point and how you got there doesn’t matter so much. Our courses are designed to take the fastest route from A to B. However, on our courses featuring downhill, please don’t cut the elevation or your time will be ineligible!
One of the biggest challenges in this series will be the turnaround points on some of our courses containing downhill sections. I will accept your time if you overshoot the downhill, but if you cut out some of the ascent, I will have to rule your time ineligible for obvious reasons. So if you mess up the navigating, you can still upload your attempt to get the power ranking points and badge for the course attempt.
When you are going for a fast time, you don’t want to have to stop and think about which way to go. If you are unfamiliar with a course, I recommend you do a scouting mission first and potentially navigate a course several times … comparing your GPS track to the official course route before you make a fast push.
For each course you are unsure about, I advise that you download the course route GPX file to your device (watch or phone) to aid in navigating and please watch the video demonstrations of the course before heading out for your attempt so you are completely familiar with what you will visually see on the trail. You will find the GPX files on the website course pages once the series commences.
You may also like to try using the RunGo app (https://www.rungoapp.com/) built by North Vancouver based trail runner Noah Bloom. All the VK routes will be available on the RunGo app. The app features guided audio turn by turn navigating so you can run the course without having to look at your phone, and the phone will tell you which way to go at intersections. It also helps you time your attempt. I’ve tried it a few times, but it can be hit and miss since it relies on the GPS signal in your phone which is not always accurate in the forests and gullies of the North Shore mountains. Sometimes the app can confuse you by asking you to turn where there is no turn, but I will be working with Noah to resolve some of these issues and make it as useful as possible.
You may not be able to solely rely on RunGo but it can be a useful aid in combination with other methods. Watching the course demonstration video and studying the instructions will still be your best bet.
Please Support our Sponsor Bremner Foods!May 31 2021 - 4:00pm
We are delighted to have Bremner Foods as our major title sponsor. Terry Bremner, the owner of Bremner Foods, has been a highly valued and very generous sponsor of Trail Running in Vancouver dating back many years. Check out all the races across the region, whether it is Knee Knacker, or CMTR series, Fat Dog etc… and you will see Bremner’s listed as a sponsor.
Bremner's offers both Organic and Natural pure juices and uses a juicing process that does not compromise on taste. First, they use only fresh grade quality berries, the same as the ones you would eat. Most juice producers use “juice grade”. Second, they don’t add anything artificial. No additives, sugar, water, preservatives, or juice from concentrate.
Each 946 ml bottle of Bremner’s juice is made from 2 1/2 lbs of premium quality fruit picked at the peak of perfection. Bremner's Organic juices are Certified Organic, and all others are naturally grown using organic practices. Taste the difference true quality makes!
You can find Bremner’s juices at Whole Foods, Urban Fare, Save-on-Foods, London Drugs, Choices Markets and many other local retailers.
Stay-tuned as Bremner’s will soon be launching new Juice Pouches you can take on your trail runs!
Terry (below) checking out the downhill on VK15 Jet Fight
Terry leads the Bremner's Racing Team, which participates in many racing events throughout the year. Team Bremner members will be rocking the new black VK Series singlets on the trails this summer, so if you see them out on the trails please be sure to say hello!
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