Endurance Athlete Sets Speed Records on Canada’s East and West Coast Trails

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When it comes to hiking and backpacking in Canada, two of the more popular, and scenic, routes are along the East and West Coast Trails. The East Coast Trail stretches for 340 miles along the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland, while the West Coast Trail runs for 47 miles along Vancouver’s southwestern shoreline. While the trails are separated by thousands of miles, they do both offer unique challenges to anyone who takes them on from end to end.

Recently, endurance athlete Gary Robbins set the daunting goal for himself to attain speed records on both of these trails, starting in Vancouver and the WCT on August 4th. Running North to South, Gary completed the entire 47 miles in just 10 hours and 8 minutes, which does indeed establish a new record for that route. Of course, that was just a warm-up for the much longer, and more challenging ECT, which he began on August 20th and completed on the 22nd, finishing the entire route in a blistering 35 hours and 17 minutes. Pretty impressive runs on both accounts considering the distance involved and terrain crossed. Even more so when you consider that a large portion of the East Coast Trail remains mostly unmarked and hasn’t been fully developed yet.

Check out the video below of Gary arriving at the finish line on the ECT. I don’t know about you but just thinking about these runs makes my legs hurt! I guess this is the summer for adventure racers and endurance athletes to challenge some of these spectacular trails in North America. Congrats to Gary on a job well done!

Kraig Becker

8 thoughts on “Endurance Athlete Sets Speed Records on Canada’s East and West Coast Trails”

  1. Wow! Reading stories like this motivates me immensely to undertake my similar adventure. Unfortunately here the very long trails are all under conservation, so to be able to run it takes a huge amount of bureaucratic paperwork. But I will still get to them and set records hopefully.

  2. Fact check please. This guy ran the WCT at a 12min/mi pace and then runs the ECT which is 7 times longer at a 6:13 min/mi pace? That is amazing if true!

  3. His run reports for both of the trails aren't posted yet, but if you look on Gary's website, those are the times that he has posted.

  4. Wow Cool! I thought that comment would live in internet limbo forever and it was answered by the Adventure Junkie himself. I've been scouring Google to find a faster pace posted for ultras (road or trail) anywhere near that distance and have found nothing yet. Either that is a typo or he just set some kind of superhuman record. I'll have to keep an eye out for his reports.

  5. I was considering the pace myself when I wrote the story, but went with what was known at the time. Perhaps the race reports will clarify things for us.

    The recent summit of K2 by Christian Stangl is also receiving similar scrutiny at the moment thanks to the single summit photo that has been released thus far. It's good to report on these adventures, but it's also good to ask for the full story too. 🙂

    I try to answer as many of the posts as I can on this blog. Glad you stop by and read! 🙂

  6. Ok – found the problem. The ECT is 137 miles (220km) not 340 miles as stated in the blog. This equates to a more reasonable 15:30 min/mi. Over and out.

  7. Hmm… WikiPedia has it at 340, but only 140 miles of that is mapped and marked. Perhaps he only ran that segment?

    That's where the run report will come in handy.

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