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Coaster sets fastest female time for Ferry-to-Ferry trail

Katherine Short completed the course from Langdale to Earls Cove on March 16

There’s a new record to beat for the Ferry-to-Ferry trail on the Sunshine Coast.

On March 16, Katherine Short set the fastest known time (FKT) for women taking on the roughly 96-kilometre run at 09:52:00. Her time also tops the route’s first known run in 2019 when Luke Till and Jeff Ritchie ended their lap with a time of 14:19:20. The fastest known time of anyone known to run the Ferry-to-Ferry was set in January by Nick Duff at 09:29:00.

Now a North Vancouver resident, 30-year-old Short grew up in Halfmoon Bay, spending time on the local trail system in her childhood.

For Short, completing the long-distance run was also a personal best. She’s a registered massage therapist by trade, and trains for ultra-length races for fun. For the last year and a half, her weeks normally include 120 kilometres of running to prepare for marathons, and until March 16, her longest distance in one go was 60 kilometres. Her ultimate goal is to run 100-kilometre and 100-mile races. But with the cancellation of races during the pandemic, Short was looking to take on a challenge, with or without other competitors.

“With COVID being the way it is right now, we have to be super creative as athletes to figure out how to structure training,” Short said. “Fastest known time or FKT, challenging or racing is a really fun way to do that.”

She chose the Ferry-to-Ferry since it can be crossed at any time of the year and, unlike some other B.C. trails, it’s not weather dependent.

Short was also inspired by Duff, who is a friend and helped her prepare for tackling the challenge. When Duff set the record for the Sunshine Coast Trail last year, Short ran a portion alongside him, staying up with him through the night as part of his support crew. The experience gave her insight to what it takes to go the distance – from equipment to fuel to hallucinations. For her Ferry-to-Ferry attempt, Duff shared his route-planning, which helped Short map out her course.

Short set out at 7:45 a.m. from the Langdale ferry. By 5:45 p.m., she had transported herself by foot to Earls Cove, making 10 stops along the way.

“It was painful at the time, but it went as smoothly as a 90k run can go,” Short told Coast Reporter. “It did kind of make me feel like the Sunshine Coast was not as long as I had originally imagined.”

With her longest distance so far behind her, Short said the experience helped her visualize what longer events will take to accomplish.

“What I’m taking away from it is just the confidence that it’s possible.”

As for setting the time to beat for other female runners, Short said she hopes other girls and women will challenge it.

“That’s the fun of these events is to have other people be motivated to go and do it themselves,” she said, adding that she’s always available to share advice for the trail.

Short’s eyes are now set on an even longer course: the Cove-to-Cove run from Porteau Cove to Deep Cove. She hopes to set foot on the trail this summer.