Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
You can’t beat running on white sand beaches and soft paths snaking through old-growth rainforest. The Pacific Rim is on the far side of Vancouver Island and represents a landscape that, to most Canadians, is totally imaginary. Trees that are older than Confederation? Idyllic oceanic views? And the chance to learn about the Nuu-chah-nulth culture, the original people of the region? Check, check, check. The Pacific Rim is great for running. The national park has a “Long Beach Challenge,” which is a 9.5-kilometre route and the park even sells timing chips. Pick up a chip, run the route and then check online to see how your time measures up. Most years, the Edge to Edge Marathon also starts in Pacific Rim National Park. (It’s detoured this year due to construction within the park, but it’s running through similar terrain in June.) And if you’re truly crazy, register in advance (as a hiker) to run the 95-kilometre West Coast Trail as a self-supported ultra.
Ideal destination if:
You’re looking to jump into the deep end of another culture and landscape.