2014 Summer PIH Athlete Report - Jason Loutitt
My journey with PIH started in 2004 by coming to Victoria to race the Harriers Mount Douglas Gutbuster where I met Race Director, Bob Reid. It was a qualifying race and I was attempting to make it onto the Canadian Mountain Running Team. Bob invited me to join the Harriers and I have been a member for 10 years now. In 2005, Kelvin Broad convinced me to race the then RVM Victoria Marathon. In 2008, I relocated to Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island and was able to run a few of the local races. I often carried my then new born son around while his mother, Taeko, experienced some local races as well. The PIH team of athletes was great all around. I miss being on the Island and being around all you great Harriers. Coming back to race the 2011 Elk/Beaver Ultra was two months prior to my silver medal performance at the World Mountain Racing Championships in Ireland. It is PIH that has been a great supporter for me as a runner and I sincerely send many thanks to Bob and the Harriers team for believing in me, trusting in me, supporting me and encouraging me all along the way. I would like to share with you my current jaunt to France for the summer of 2014.
The day before the June 12th event in Normandie, I ran down to one of the landing beaches where 70 years ago the D Day landings occurred. With each step on the sand I could feel something that was more than me with knowing so many lives were lost under these steps. I thought if they perhaps had a moment left they would have wanted to do anything else other than fight on these beaches. Perhaps share time with a loved one or play music. I also felt that some of them would smile at the thought of someone like me running each step towards a better day or a better way of being. That some would be inspired to be able again to run like me as I was, of their sacrifice. Maybe to feel again to be in an air of aspiration to achieve through athletic pursuit instead of feeling what it was like to run into a fog of conflict to battle and sacrifice their life. That a peace resonating loud enough from within still existed somewhere to wake up others tuned out of caring or perhaps inside those of us still living in our parts that we need help connecting.
As the Ultra D Day Run started with our team of 14 International runners, I carried these feelings with me and still do to this day. It was an honour to represent Canada, but more so, those aiming to be more than what they think they can. The run finished with running alongside 3,000 school children in Caen. Words can’t express what running through all the memorial sites, on all the beaches and then with the children meant to me. I then stayed in France to race the 2014 World Skyrunning Championships in Chamonix but my marathon distance race turned into an easy training run for me due to a twisted ankle one third of the way in. In retrospect, racing La Barjo 24K Trail Race 2 days after the 100 Mile Run did tap the resources but, as you will read, this has resulted in a much better summer. The La Barjo Trail Race was an incredible journey around the tip of Normandie up and down cliff side trails. If it wasn't for the very, very late night before celebrating the completion of the 100 Mile Run, I would of enjoyed it so much more! We managed to pull up to the start line just as everyone was lined up and looking our way but I still had to go to the toilet. A jump into the bushes 100 metres down the hill from the start had the most hilarious look on the policeman’s face, never mind the 200+ runners at the start line.
Fast forward to the days after World Skyrunning and a last minute flight change. By volunteering as a Pilates Instructor in France I managed to secure accommodations and support to stay and race all summer. Next up was the 32K Trail Du Mascaret on a very rainy day. The Mascaret is the tidal flow that often overwhelmed the inland river areas. The race felt the same by running alongside a 29-minute 10K runner named Mohammed and then managing to pull away at the end for a one second victory. This was a start to a great summer so far and recent France racing successes this July and August. Now with 3+ newspaper articles, 3 wins and a third place finish so far (The La Translutine 10K Race on August 2nd the evening before winning the Defers Sentiers Oceans 6-hour Race outright over the top relay team with about 90K done on August 3rd), I am pushing forward to keep racing well here in France.
I was hit by a truck while mountain biking the weekend prior to this past double race weekend success. Nothing a few stitches wouldn’t fix (only 5 in total...lol) and you all know it will take more than that to stop me from trying my best at the upcoming UT4M 100 Mile Race here in France on August 22nd. Word on the street is that the local police had a driver come in saying he thought he had perhaps killed someone cycling on the road and it is now great that the very same road (within a week) has huge boulders on it turning it into a bike road only.
Run well my PIH friends and on a run touch a tree for me back in Canada if you can. Watch out for those non-human powered vehicles, be the human powered vehicle you know you are and bonne chance! - Jason Loutitt
Bob's Additional Note: Jason is a tremendous runner, at all distances on any surface. He has recorded overall victories at the Harriers Mount Douglas Gutbuster, the Gunner Shaw Cross Country Classic, the Stewart Mountain 10 Mile Challenge, the Bear Mountain 10K, the Mount Washington Gutbuster, the Harriers Elk/Beaver 50 Miler, the Vancouver Marathon and the Calgary Marathon just to name a few of his successful performances. In 2008, he placed third in 2:31 at the Royal Victoria Marathon behind winner Steve Osaduik, 2:25, and runner-up Todd Howard, 2:28. His current races in France are doing Canada proud and doing the club proud at the highest level on the world ultrarunning stage. If you have the time please watch Jason's attached videos, pictures and newspaper articles below, they are very entertaining.
June 12/13 - Ultra D Day Trail Run
16min Video shown on French TV
June 15 - La Barjo 24K Trail Race
June 31 - World Skyrunning Championships
Think I was 114th so no link here. You will have to find it yourself...lol
July 6 - Trail Du Mascaret
July 14 - De La Mere Denis
August 2 - La Translutine 10K
OK - I just passed a guy to get third and I did have to go to the toilet again starting on lap two of the three lap race! That's my excuse for the ‘oh my god’ look on my face
August 3 - Defers Sentiers Oceans 6-Hour Race