Athlete of the week: Kip Arlidge

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Kip Arlidge has been running seriously for just over a decade, but it was only more recently that he discovered a love for ultra-distance races. His passion is evident in his results.

Arlidge began his running journey at Huntsville High School under the guidance of local coach, Dr. Pierre Mikhail, followed by five years of track and cross-country running while at Queen’s University where he was the 2015 track and field team captain.

He’s now a member of the Muskoka Algonquin Runners (MARS) and has shifted his efforts to ultra-marathon races.

“Trail running has recently become my focus,” said Arlidge. “I love trail running because I get to spend time training in the wilderness in locations that I wouldn’t take the time to explore otherwise.”

Arlidge has spent many weekends training on the trails in Algonquin Park or at the Limberlost Forest Wildlife Reserve. “I can’t say enough positive things about these expansive trail networks that are right in our backyard,” he said.

His hard work has paid off.

For the second year in a row, he was the first-place finisher in the 56km distance at the Limberlost Challenge in July, a race he set a record at in 2018.

And more recently, on Saturday, September 7, Arlidge participated in his first 100-mile (160 km), the Haliburton Forest Trail Race, where he took first place and set a new course record with a time of 15 hours and 36 minutes.

He was surprised at how smoothly the long race went after experiencing some equipment issues the night before and getting caught in a thunder storm with hail creating very wet and cold conditions.

“I received a lot of support from the awesome race volunteers and my pacer, Dr. Lowell Grieb of The Sport Lab, who was able to help manage my in-race nutrition,” said Arlidge.

He’s an exceptional athlete, said Grieb. “The 100 mile Haliburton Forest Trail Race is a highly regarded ultra race in Ontario which Kip took to new levels. If running the equivalent of four marathons, on trail, back to back to back to back isn’t extraordinary enough, winning his first 100-mile race by 3.5 hours is something that should be regarded as truly remarkable. Having trained on numerous occasions with Kip has provided me the time to understand his ability but also be cognizant of his humility. He is a driven and motivated athlete who strives to improve himself and enjoys trying to extend what his physical and mental limits may be. It has been a pleasure to offer any insights to Kip on ways of improving his performance and recovery in these long, arduous efforts. It was an honour to be asked by Kip to help pace him through the end stages of his phenomenal performance.”

Kip Arlidge re-fueling at an aid station with Dr. Lowell Grieb during the 2019 Haliburton Forest Trail Race (Photo: David Sweeney)

Kip Arlidge re-fueling at an aid station with Dr. Lowell Grieb during the 2019 Haliburton Forest Trail Race (Photo: David Sweeney)

To prepare for next season, Arlidge plans to do some unsupported ultra-distance snowshoeing in Algonquin Park this winter. He hopes to compete in the Canadian Long Distance Mountain Running Championships in the spring to then qualify for the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships next fall.

When he’s not running, Arlidge works at a cancer research lab at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre—he earned a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from Queen’s University. He will be moving back north with his family, likely to Sudbury, to continue his research. “I also plan to give back to the running community as a volunteer track and field coach once my family and I find a place to settle down in Morthern Ontario,” he said.

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