Hail. Rain. Snow. Sleet. Cold. That’s what you risk when you sign up for a mid-November trail race on Vancouver’s North Shore.
Throw in some hills, rocks, roots, stairs and longer distances and, voila, you have obstacles galore for adventure runners who like their nature wild, scenic and challenging as possible.
Doug Decloux can’t wait to tackle The Phantom Run on Saturday, Nov. 17 — the fourth and final leg of the successful 2018 Foretrails Race Series — and to soak up whatever Mother Nature throws his way on the undulating trails near the Seymour River.
Compared to everything the Vancouver man has endured, the 12-kilometre race he’s entered in should be a cakewalk. (There are also 19.5K and 25K races, with entry still open for all three distances.)
Celebrating five-plus years of being cancer free, Decloux is in a much better place physically — and for sure mentally — these days. But what a horrific journey getting there.
“To be perfectly honest, I became suicidal over it (prostate cancer surgery), and if it wasn’t for my wife likely would have killed myself,” a candid Decloux admitted this week.
“I cannot ever imagine living on my own having to go through all that by myself over and over again.”
He took part in the 10K Hallow’s Eve race on Oct. 27 — “those stairs were outrageous” — and in September’s Under Armour Eastside 10K. He will lace up for The Moustache Miler 5K on Saturday, Nov. 24, a Movember-inspired event that put this blogger and that inspirational battler in touch.
“The Moustache Miler charity is near and dear to me as a cancer survivor. Anything that helps men avoid or deal with health problems is a good thing.”
As for The Phantom Run, an event with ghosts on its promotional materials, Decloux joked: “Going uphill is hard enough for me, and I struggle lots with downhill, too! Always paranoid I’m going to fall and land on my face.”
He laughed hearing how I became Bengay’s newest bulk-buy customer after tackling the never-ending stairway to heaven in the Hallow’s Eve race. As Ellen DeGeneres once said when talking about a step-up exercise class: “I’d be much happier with buns of cinnamon than buns of steel.”
On a more serious note, it’s difficult to imagine an active athlete like Decloux, who crushed the super difficult Red Bull 400 race, completed numerous bike and running races, to be brought to tears on a daily basis. But fighting an aggressive cancer will do that to the best of them. Thankfully his wonderful wife was there to walk him off the proverbial ledge in his scariest, darkest moments.
“… I had surgery at Vancouver General Hospital in October of 2013. I had surgery as opposed to radiation because I felt this was my best course of action. I was on a six-month drug trial called ‘androgen deprivation therapy.’
“I had a catheter put in during surgery, and wore a diaper for some time after that and pads for some time after that,” said Decloux. “Extremely difficult thing for me, and the surgeon told me more than once he had never experienced or even heard of a man who had six … yes, that’s six … catheters in him after surgery. I can remember crying on the way to the hospital again at No. 5.
“… But I’m cancer free now, I run four times a week and, weather permitting, cycle as often as I can.”
I’ll be joining this brave weekend warrior in the 12K trail event, along with a few other running “pals” (hello Jonathan Peacock, Jeannine Avelino and Eva Ojea) who are eager to prove that whipping me isn’t exclusive to just road races!
A curious Decloux finished our conversation asking why yours truly signed up for The Phantom Run if trail racing wasn’t my forte. Fair question, of course.
I pointed to the fine print on the entry form, next to the important Harvest Project fundraising part, that said: “Chews, cookies and other treats for all racers.” That part is definitely my forte!
The Moustache Miler
Saturday, Movember 24
5K, 1 Mile race, Vancouver
Event director Shannon Banal, who ran the Moustache Miler in 2016 and fell in love with the event that raises funds and awareness for men’s mental and physical health, was quick to point out earlier this week that women are fully onside with this resurrected event, too.
“In a lot of families the man is the bread winner, the provider, the person who looks after the family’s or children’s economic welfare. If you take him out of the equation because of health problems, or suicide, it can take down the whole family. So, it’s not just a men’s issue,” said Banal, who has worked on the Mo Miler comeback since January with her relentless volunteer committee.
One of the cool things this year will be the involvement of mental health advocate Ashley Wiles‘ Sole Girls and Sole Boys, who are using the Movember event as a fun training run for their busy season ahead.
Wiles, who started running at five, now competes in marathons and triathlons around the world. She was named top 10 young entrepreneurs to watch in Vancouver by the Globe and Mail and top 5 Motivators in Canada by Impact magazine.
You can still sign up for the race-day fun, which features costume and moustache contests, race prizes, post-run parties, kids’ dancing, medals, music and other cool surprises. The event even has its own beer — The Moustache Miler Marzen, an Austrian pale ale.
For more info, or to sign up, click HERE.
First Half Half Marathon
Sunday, Feb 10, 2019
The Vancouver International Marathon Society, which just wrapped up its successful Fall Classic at UBC, will take over the running of the 30th annual event from the Pacific Road Runners.
The non-profit RUNVAN approached the PRR in 1988 to run a half marathon to serve as a training event for May’s annual BMO Vancouver Marathon. So you could say the First Half has come full circle with the passing of the torch.
One of the benefits of taking part in the 2018 RUNVAN race series — BMO Vancouver Marathon, Granville Island Turkey Trot and Fall Classic — was special priority entry to the 30th annual First Half Half. And yesterday yours truly joined the three decade party, signing up for my first half in 25 years! Can’t wait to start training (wink, wink) with 2,000 others for the fun February challenge that offers a new tech shirt, finisher’s medal, snacks and treats — and (for me) more Bengay!
FINISH LINES: I’ll have a special preview next week with the ever-cool Baxter Bayer about his award-winning Big Elf Run, along with a look at upcoming December races and the revamped Steveston Icebreaker 8K and 1K KidsRun, plus more heartwarming stuff about The Moustache Miler, Movember health issues and Try Events’ new app. Stay happy!
Gotta run …
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