Interested in the Canadian Death Race? It’s tough, but with the right training you can complete it.

I’ve run the CDR full solo 5 times (including a second place overall finish) and I have a 100% completion rate for my coached athletes.  Although I love running ultra’s, wandering in the mountains and keeping fit, I especially enjoy helping others succeed in races, events or adeventures by helping them see how much stronger they are than they think they are.

The plans below are based on my personal experience and the athletes I have coached. If you run this plan, barring injury or unforeseen circumstances, you will finish. If you don’t, give me a call and we will make sure that you do.

Are you wondering if you can do it? What plan you will need to do? If it will be too hard to start? Let’s talk. I’d be happy to help you figure this out. Email me at and we can schedule some time.  I want to make sure that you succeed, so included in these plans are a couple of phone calls. One to help you get started on the training plan and one to give you some information on the race or your leg.

Canadian Death Race Full Solo (30 week plan)

Canadian Death Race Full Solo (25 week plan)

Canadian Death Race Leg 1 – The Downtown Jaunt  (12 week plan)

Canadian Death Race Leg 2 –  Flood & Grande Mountain Slugfest (16 week plan)

Canadian Death Race Leg 3 –  Old Mine Road (12 week plan)

Canadian Death Race Leg 4- Hamel Assault (16 week plan)

Canadian Death Race Leg 5- The River Crossing (12 week plan)

Need more than a training plan? Check out the coaching section (references included).

Some Canadian Death Race write-ups – 2013 2011 2010


The video link

A long time ago, I remember flying over the Coast Mountain Range. I stared out the window at the terrain below and the guy next to me said, “I’d sure hate to be lost down there!” I thought about how much fun that would be. I’ve been on the plane over those mountains many times since and I knew I’d have to spend some time there.

The trip I had planned required some capability so we assembled the right crew – Reid Roberts, Colin Miller, Aaron Bond, Scott Kestleloot  and Geoff Mulligan. I distinctly remember the call with the float plane company. He was a bit confused as to what I was asking.

“Six of you, going to Taseko? Oh, that’s too heavy for the Beaver. The max payload is 1200 pounds.”

“We’ll be under a 1000,” I said.

“Six guys with gear? You’ll have heavy packs. It’s a long way.”

“Our average weight is maybe 165 and our packs will be about 3 pounds each.”

“3 pounds?”

“Yeah, we’re going to run back after you drop us.”

“That’s like 90 kilometers through the mountains….”

He agreed after I paypalled the funds in advance. Not sure if that’s standard.

We all met up the morning of the flight at the Tyax Wilderness Resort. Aaron was sleeping in a kids play tent. Geoff was laughing at him with the heavy rainfall they had through the night.

We met the pilot at the float plane dock and we went over the plan. There were some tricky parts to the route and I was concerned about the snow level above 7,000′. We wanted to get as much ridge running as possible and stay to the line of mountains but some of our proposed route looked real sketchy so we convinced the pilot to fly us by those sections.

It was about a thirty minute flight to Taseko lake. We hit the beach, arranged our gear and headed for an old mining trail that would lead us into the alpine. It was about 25 km to Warner pass. We did some quick route finding and we  saw a lot of grizzly sign. This was great because instead of bear bangers and spray, we opted for gels, drink mix and food to keep our packs light. We took comfort in Geoff’s expert sounding statistic that a party of six or larger has never been attacked by a grizzly bear.

The west side of the route was dry and we steadily gained altitude, broke the treeline and hit the top of Warner Pass. It was spectacular. The large coastal mountains surrounded us. Instead of heading into the next valley, we headed up onto Warner Mountain. It was a little sketchy and then we looked over and saw Colin free climbing up a chute that scared us to just look at. He  nonchalantly met us on top, downplaying the epic feat.

Running east from Warner pass was tough. It’s a rocky, steep on both sides ridge. The group was strong, the scenery was beyond belief and we were all smiles. It took a long time with a lot of technical ridge running but we eventually hit the smoother topped Deer Pass and hooked up with some mountain bike trails. This was the Southern Chilcotin Mountains at it’s best. We dropped into the grassy alpine and made our way down into the trees and to Trigger Lake.

This was a very tough run and everyone’s strength showed. After seven or eight hours of hard running, we were still moving fast. We met up with a group of mountain bikers on a day trip and tried racing them. We leap frogged for  a while and they lost us on the flat.

We continued in the treeline, passing through beautiful meadows, crossing clean and swift creeks and ran through a landscape of indescribable beauty. As dark started to fall, we got that hit of dusk energy and made our way out to a logging road where Erin was waiting with the car to drive us to the lodge.  The six of us, caked in dirt and smelling like long dead yaks, piled in. I am not sure how Erin could stand it and I think she may have even more willpower than her husband Colin.

We ran 89 kilometers, climbed almost 3,000 vertical meters topping out above 9,000 feet. It took us about ten and half hours moving time running.

A hard run through some tough mountains with a great group of friends. Does it get any better?

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My fifth time running the CDR. Why? Like many things, I don’t know.  A big reason was I had three runners that I had coached in the race. I knew they were all well prepared and I wanted to be there on their day. With so much time invested personally in them and in training, I was focusing on the details.  Much of ultra running is minimizing the variables and there are so many fewer now.

For the Death Race, I break the golden rule – I fast pace the start. This is not a good idea but at the CDR, you are intermixed with relay runners and with only a few kilometers to hit the single track trail you want to be ahead of them so not to bottleneck. As always, my ridiculous head was thinking get ahead – beat the other guy. About 9 km into leg 1, I settled in. Calum Neff and I ran together in the lead.  About 15 km into Leg 1, Aaron Heidt caught us. Aaron is such a good guy – we chatted for a while about all things ultra. It was great to chat with a fellow who has so similar thoughts on the sport.

I basically skipped the 19 km leg 1 transition. Rhonda took my tossed bottles and handed my my pack. I didn’t break stride.  This put me in the lead by a few minutes. Aaron caught me again about 10 km into leg 2. We ran and chatted. I admired his easy uphill running style as I switched to a power hike. As we transitioned into the alpine, I wished him luck. I knew I wouldn’t likely see him again. I wanted him to win and break the course record.

Eventually, Calum caught me and we leapfrogged a bit on the downhill into the end of leg 2. I transitioned very fast again and encouraged him out of the aid station. I had made the switch. I wanted him to beat me. This is what I love about ultra running. The race was my race to run.To run the best that I could run. It didn’t matter if that meant 1st of 100th and I truly did not care about placement. Only effort. When I feel this way, I want the other runners to beat me. To run as best as they can. It’s easy to get caught up in how well you place but the great thing about the ultra is it always ends up being about how well you do. I willed Calum ahead. Soon enough he caught me anyway due to some severe cramping. This gave us the opportunity to chat  bit.

I moved ahead near the end of leg 3 only to here Joe Huising give me a ‘Hey Jeff’ from behind. We ran together for a while and chatted catching up on things since last year at Sinister 7. Joe pulled ahead. He’s fast on the flat that Joe. I made up some ground across the bridge and we were back together at the highway crossing and ran into the transition to Leg 4 together. I transitioned very fast and doubled poled up Hamel. I ran hard and near the summit there is an out and back. He was about 8 minutes behind me. I hoped he would catch me. Calum wasn’t far behind either.

I downhilled off Hamel pretty fast and finishing Ambler Loop, Calum was just starting – about 25 minutes back. Joe was about 5 minutes behind. Run faster Joe, I thought. You can catch me!

A fast transition through the fourth aid led me to winding single track. I cooled my hands on the wet brush and soon I exchanged my coin for a ride across the river. For the first time in five years at the Death Race, I entered the town of Grande Cache and crossed the finish line in the light of day.

I made 2nd place of 371 soloists in a time of 13:25:25. Out of the 242 relay teams, only six were ahead of me. Two of which were less than a minute. Aaron Heidt ran first for 12:31:44. An incredible time.

It worked out. It was a good day. Things came together.

The best part was yet to come. I waited for ‘my’ runners to cross the line. And I didn’t wait long. Reid Roberts crossed in 8th place with a 15:03:21. Reid ran an incredible pace, especially for a first time at the Death Race.

Aaron Bond followed in 17th place with a 16:18:36 Aaron had only been training with me since late January but he stuck to the plan and he beat his goals.

At 19:23:14, in 37th place Steve Staves crossed the finish line. Steve was relatively new to running and this is a tremendous time for this level of experience.

Like always., I had high expectations for these runners. All three of them exceeded them. I couldn’t be happier!

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Thank you Queensway Auto World for your generous support of this event.

This Sunday, May 26th. Information on the event is here

Signup here

Updates on the progress of the run will be available on facebook –, twitter #voneugen and below on this page.

Need a ride? Meet at Otway and Queensway Auto World will drive you to your start. Email me to reserve a spot

12:55 shuttle to Blue Spruce Campground behind Art Knapps for the 25 km start

1:30 shuttle to UNBC Greenway Trailhead for the 19 km start

2:30 shuttle to Takla Road for the 7.5 km start

Had some fun recently running a double crossing of the Grand Canyon with some great people – Colin Miller and Scott Kesteloot. We also had great support for our little run from Colin’s wife Erin. She took pictures, worried and waited for us.

Our total kilometers were about 75 km with about 11,000′ climbing. It was cool on the Rim’s and wicked hot in the bottom.

Perhaps I can make up for some bad writing with some bad video footage.

12 days before the Dirty Duo, I took a bad fall and smacked my right foreleg. I had a 10 km limp out in the dark. My leg went a deep purple. I held my decision to race until pretty much the day before but with Aaron Bond running his first 50 and Reid Roberts in shape after hard winter snow running I would have been there as support or a runner.

The day before the race, I asked my boys how they thought it would go. Emmet’s positive comment was ‘ Try your best dad’. Wyatt told me ‘if you are not first you are last’. Liam said ‘Don’t be second  because that’s just the first looser’. I heeded Emmet’s advice, at least!

It was great to see Matt Cecill at the start. Matt ran the Dirty Duo in 2012. He’s a great runner and I followed his tremendous progress throughout the year. I knew he’d be very tough to beat.

The start



The race was great with good weather, dry conditions and a lot of technical North Vancouver single track. Matt and I stayed together for a full first lap and not far into the second one, I led him astray on a five minute detour off course. I doubled back to Matt where we found the course and stayed together for a while, catching up on the last year and talking about all things ultra.

Climbing back up to Ned’s Atomic Dustbin

Matt pulled away at the end of the climb on the second loop, I barely caught sight of him coming down Ned’s. He pulled ahead by six minutes finishing in a 3:50:28. He probably would have been sub 3:45 without our detour! I came in second with a 3:56:36. About a minute faster than last year. Not too bad for running a bit injured.

Reid Roberts came in with a smoking 4:18:57. His very hard work through the winter really paid off. Aaron Bond pulled an excellent 5:01:19 for a first 50 km on seven weeks of training. Gord Cross ran a great 25km coming off an injury.

Special thanks to Dave Parker for crewing for us on the race. I think I spilled some Gu Bru on him and he didn’t even say anything.