KAWARTHA LAKES – As the sun rose this morning, Sam Dickie, of Fenelon Falls made his way to the Great Divide Trail, one of the world’s most difficult paths to follow, stretching the length of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, to break the record and run for 1,130 Kilometres over a two-week span.
The Great Divide Trail crisscrosses the continental divide between Alberta and British Columbia, travelling through the vast wilderness of the Canadian Rocky Mountains for more than 1100 kilometres. It is known to be one of the most spectacular and challenging long‐distance trails on earth.
“I first moved away at the age of 17, I always had a calling for the mountains, so the day after I graduated from FFSS, I drove out to Banff and worked as a dishwasher to fund my adventures,” recalls Dickie. “My first big adventure was kayaking Johnston Canyon, a fun river filled with 10-to-20-foot waterfalls in Banff National Park.”
Since leaving his hometown, Dickie is now known as a master of adventure within the Canadian Rockies and for kayaking the first descents of class V waterfalls while holding course records on 120-kilometre running races.
“Growing up in Fenelon was different for me, I honestly never felt like I fit in, surrounded by my hunter, farmers and rugby player friends. So, I had a hard time finding who I was with no culture around mountain sports,” said Dickie. “When I was 16 I bought a white water kayak and paddled the Fenelon falls.”
Dickie has encountered countless adventures, terrain and challenges but as he heads to the Great Divide Trail today, he won’t be alone. Dickie’s dad will be doing the first half of the trail with his son and friends will also be joining for night shifts. Media crew, Pat Hoffman, Phil Phorsy and Nic Groulx will also be with Dickie for 80 per cent of the excursion.
“But the last 300 kilometres is one of the most remote sections of the Canadian Rockies, so I’ll be doing the last 300 in three days, fully self-supported,” said Dickie. “I couldn’t be more stoked to be given the opportunity to do what I love every day all day for two weeks straight. Seems like a dream come true for this to come together and have incredible friends to make it happen.”
And for Dickie, taking on a challenging adventure of this magnitude always comes with extensive training. On average, Dickie completes approximately 120 kilometres a week on trails with nearly 3000 meters in elevation.
“The key is to be consistent and not run too hard that you need to take multiple days off after for recovery, but not too little that you aren’t boosting endurance,” he said.
And to keep this well-oiled machine moving, Dickie relies on carbs, donuts, Subway, pizza, beer and occasionally some fruit.
“So obviously nothing strict but they all have carbs in common to keep me fuelled for long days in the mountains,” said Dickie.
In five years, Dickie expects to be lost on a trail, location unknown, but the possibility of moving back to his hometown is always in the back of his mind.
“My favourite part about growing up in Fenelon was the freedom we had as kids to longboard, buy ice cream and swim freely with my cousin in the safe environment our cool little town created,” he said. “I find myself always checking the real estate in the area when I visit home. The trail system in Haliburton is very overlooked and a perfect place to train for ultra-running. I’m also very close with my family in Fenelon. I grew up just down the road from my cousins and I’ve always thought it would be cool to live a life close to my sister and them once again. Maybe when I feel like my time has come to an end in the Rockies, I will eventually end up settling back in the Kawarthas.”
For more information on Dickie and to follow his adventures, visit samueldickie.com.