Two Squamish runners are currently training for a couple of races in Thailand that will happen in early November.
Alexandre Ricard and Shaun Stephens-Whale are training to compete in the 2022 World Mountain & Trail Running Championships, held in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Both represent Canada and are competing in the Men's Classic Uphill and the Classic Up and Down races.
"The first one will be on the Friday," said Ricard of the Men's Classic Uphill. "We'll be on the vertical, only a climb, like 1,000-metre elevation gain in 8.5 kilometres."
The second race, the Classic Up and Down, will be a loop that includes a 600-metre rise and fall over 12 kilometres, said Ricard.
Stephens-Whale said he and Ricard have been running for a long time, but lots of training is still going into their preparation.
"I try and run every day or twice a day and then you have got to put in your auxiliary work. So strength training, making sure that you're not getting injured, and eating well, sleeping well," he said.
"There's a lot of different factors that go into making sure that you're healthy and fit going into race."
One of those factors for this race is Thailand's humid climate.
Ricard said he expects the temperature to reach close to 37 or 38 C. As such, he has been using the steam room at Brennan Park to prepare himself.
"This morning, I did a half-hour jog, and then I went into the steam room for 30 minutes," he said. "We have to do that kind of stuff to be prepared for the heat there."
Another aspect is, of course, the time change and jet lag that comes with travelling to Thailand.
Stephens-Whale noted there is about a 10-hour time difference, and his travel will take nearly 24 hours from airport to airport.
"I would like to arrive ... two weeks before, but I'm arriving a week before," he said. "I think the key is just to sleep as much as you can and just be in total full recovery mode."
Ricard said he's only arriving a couple of days before the race because he doesn't want to risk getting sick before the race. His strategy, he said, is to sleep a lot the days before and try and be relaxed on the flight.
Fortunately, both said because of the 10-hour time difference, the race will feel like an evening race to them despite it occurring in the morning.
"It will be equivalent to an evening race here," said Stephens-Whale. "I actually perform pretty well for evening races."
As for their goals, Stephens-Whale said he'd like to get in the Top 50.
"That's a reasonable expectation for me, so that's the goal and we'll see how it goes," he said.
Ricard, on the other hand, is gunning for the top.
"It's my first world championship, so I don't know who's going to be there, how strong the field will be, but I definitely want to be in the mix," he said. "I really want to battle with the front guy."
The pair will compete on Nov. 4 and 6. For more information about the race and the Canadian representatives, please visit Athletics.ca.