Return to Yellowknife

Last March, Derrick took part in the BHP Billiton Rock and Ice Ultra in Yellowknife, Canada. He had an amazing time doing the three-day K-Rock race, and came home inspired to return in 2009 and take on the six-day Diamond Ultra. The Diamond race involves running with a pulk (sled) full of all your food and gear.

He will be bringing along one additional thing this year that he had to leave home last time: Me. I’m going to be taking part in the K-Rock to experience it myself. I’m really looking forward to visiting Yellowknife, as northern culture has always intrigued me.

Training has already started, with Derrick having worked up to very high mileage again after recovering from his first 100 miler in September. Before we had snow, he was doing runs where he pulled a tire behind him, and now he is training with his pulk. I’ve been increasing my mileage and will start adding runs with a weighted backpack next week.

A unique thing about the race is that it can be done on either skis or on foot. We are both taking part in the foot division, where you can wear snowshoes or transport them in your pulk/pack, as dictated by the snow conditions.

By March we should be well acclimatized to the cold of our winter, which will help us deal with the northern latitude – Yellowknife is only 250 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Our chances of seeing the aurora borealis are excellent.

We’ll be reporting more details as the race gets near.


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About Sara Montgomery and Derrick Spafford

Derrick and Sara are trail runners from Eastern Ontario who discovered that running on snowshoes in the winter months is a great way to enjoy their favorite trails year-round. They competed in their first snowshoe series (The Mad Trapper Series in Low, Quebec) in 2005, each finishing 2nd in their respective divisions. Plans for 2006 are to return to the Mad Trapper, to take in some races in New York and Vermont, and hopefully cap their season with the U.S. Snowshoe Championships in March, as Canadian guests. Derrick runs a company, Spafford Health and Adventure (, which specializes in coaching and event promotion. He is currently planning an annual snowshoe race to be held in the Kingston area, starting this winter.