Phil and Grace Hiom started Dirty Feet to get people in the local areas into trail running and racing. “When we moved to Kamloops the shortest trail running race that was around was 18km so we started with a 5km and 10km race and grew from there,” says Phil. “Both Grace and I love to race on dirt. So we build races that we would love to run in. We use as much single track as possible and run our courses to ensure they are fun but challenging. I don’t know if we are different than other race directors, we just do what we love.”
“It is great to see people enjoying the trails,” explains Phil. “It is also great to know that you are doing something to help people live a healthier lifestyle and also getting people off the roads and connecting them back with nature.”
Dirty Feet works closely with the local food banks as well as the local bike clubs who maintain the trails. They also contribute to the local university running team.
“The friendships that we have made with our racers is the most rewarding part of directing,” states Phil. “We have built such a great community of supportive people. Watching people grow to enjoy trail running races and trying our best to be inclusive for all levels and abilities.”
Dirty Feet started a Tuesday night group run because they saw a need for a trail running club in town. “We had started one in Calgary Alberta when we were there, and it was a huge success,” describes Phil. “So, once we were established in Kamloops it was the next logical step for us. We had a good knowledge of the trails and the areas.”
Anyone is welcome to come out and run with the group. “The best thing we find is for people to come out and give it a try. Not every group is right for every person, so we feel the best option is to try it out. If you like it awesome you have yourself a new running group if you don’t find it is right for you no worries at least you know what is available if your needs ever change.”
The Tuesday group runs for about one hour. The distance really depends on the trails and the elevation. It also relies on the group that is out. Dirty Feet always make sure that nobody is left behind. The group uses hills to keep together and new for 2019 they started splitting into 2 groups to allow two different paced runs. The two groups offer different paces and also allow Dirty Feet to not be such a huge group on the trails when we run into other park users. It also permits people to be able to choose how they are feeling that day and determine which running group, they wish to go with.
The Tuesday group will run in the local parks in Kamloops, mainly the three main park areas: Kenna Cartwright Park, Pineview, and the Batchelor Trails. Information is posted about the weekly runs on the Dirty Feet Run Series Facebook Page and also on the Dirty Feet Run Crew Facebook page; as well as on the Dirty Feet website. The local shops in town and other run clubs also have information regarding Dirty Feet group runs so that people can be informed on all the running options in Kamloops.
“We are always having new people join us,” describes Phil. “Many become regulars and fit right in. Others come out for the odd run with us when it fits into their schedule. Everyone seems to have fun even though it is hard. It’s not all hard work, however. We sometimes have a social after the run. It can be is as simple as a tailgate drink or BBQ in the parking lot and other times it is off to a local coffee shop or brewery.”
Besides racing, the group has done some fun weekend activities like Beer Miles, Tequila 10km runs and many scavenger hunt runs in the park.
Visitors to Kamloops that want to get out for a trail run are always welcome to message Dirty Feet Trail Series and they can get you hooked up with a run in the local trails.
(First cover photo from Dirty Feet Run Crew Facebook page)