Stephen Wheeler, a 34-year-old Stephenville native who now lives in Port au Port East, poses for a photo in Iceland in 2016 during a sightseeing trip he took after competing in a 55-km trail run in that country.
Stephen Wheeler is in his happy place when he hits the trail for a run, so he was eager to rolling up his sleeves when fellow runners from the east coast asked him about staging a trial run somewhere on the west coast.
Wheeler didn’t have to do a lot of thinking to come up with a venue as he figured there was no better trail system for a venue than in Gros Morne National Park.
Wheeler will be among the 19 runners registered for the inaugural Gros Morne Trail Run this weekend as runners will be charged with the task of travelling across some rocky terrain over three trails in two days.
The run begins Saturday 7 a.m. with Gros Morne Mountain, Stuckless Pond and Tablelands trail systems waiting to expose some of the majestic scenes this province has to offer to those up to the challenge of seeing the world from a different vantage point with 8,000 metres of elevation change awaiting them when they tackle the first leg of the journey atop Gros Morne Mountain.
Wheeler was among a group of 10 avid runners who actually ran the same trail system last year in the national park so he knows it will be a great event for those who want to push themselves.
Wheeler has participated in a 50-km ultra trail run on the east coast of the province for a number of years and he liked the group of runners who were behind the organization of the event.
Many of the east coast runners approached Wheeler about staging a trail run race somewhere on the west coast on several occasions so he gave it some thought and realized Gros Morne National Park would be a great place to hold one so he forged ahead with the idea.
Wheeler said a fun time, a great workout and meeting some fellow runners is all part of the event, but he also knows some of the scenery will be worth the jaunt in his opinion.
“They’re just beautiful, aesthetically, in terms of the views you get. It will be very rewarding I think,” Wheeler said of the trail system that awaits runners.
While the runners will be in the spotlight in Gros Morne this weekend, park visitors are reminded that the trails will still be open to the public to enjoy while the race is in progress.