Get to Know Your Running Clubs - Burly Trail Runners

Get to Know Your Running Clubs - Burly Trail Runners

In this edition of Get To Know Your Running Clubs we spoke with Jessica Petta, Burly Trial Runners co-founder, trail and road runner, swimmer, paddle boarder, occasional mountain biker, food eater, movie goer, and marketer. You'll most often find the Burly Trail Runners training in either Dundas Valley Conservation Area or in City View Park in Burlington, ON.

Want to learn more about them? Read on!

Hi, Jessica! What area(s) of the city does your group usually run in/around?

Dundas Valley Conservation Area is our go-to, probably not often that at least 1 Burly hasn't crossed through there in a day, with over 40km of trail and various starting locations there's so many route options to keep things interesting. It can be a bit cumbersome to travel to during the week with rush hour traffic so we also use City View Park in Burlington as our home base for evening runs. We're incredibly fortunate the Bruce runs through here and all across the city and it has tons of conservation areas connected to it with even more trails and side trails so no matter where we start from we're probably going to be on the bruce at some point.

Tell us a bit about your club history, how long has the club been around?

We've officially been around for a little over a year now, as in that's when we named ourselves. We were a bit of an informal group for about a year prior to that. It started as a Facebook group just connecting runners we knew in the area so we could find people to run with during the week. At the beginning we were all attendees of the MEC Burlington meet-up runs (and still are). When the evening trail run got switched to a MTB ride we all decided to keep meeting there (City View Park) at the same time anyways and we just kind of grew from there. Got the name, social media accounts, website, shirts, flag, banner, it's been quite the year!

Tell us a bit about your members! What level of runners do you cater to?

Everyone! We like to stay close to our roots of just a people looking for other people to run with. We have everyone from those just starting to get into trail running to those who've been doing ultras since before they were cool. We got speedsters who win their races and those that avoid races altogether. Basically we're just a random group of people who like being outside and running trails. And geography is no limitation as we have runners from all over Southern Ontario who will come to us our join us on one of our Burly Field Trips to other areas.

Where/when does your club usually meet/run?

We host 2 runs during the week in the Burlington/Dundas area. Tempo Tuesdays (tempo, fartlek, hills - the workout day) at 7pm and Social Thursdays (a more relaxed at your own pace easy run) at 6:45pm. Saturdays we join up with the MEC Burlington Run Crew which can be anywhere in the Hamilton or Burlington area. And we also host Burly Field Trips with other run clubs every so often to anywhere not in our area.

Are your group runs mostly casual or more structured workouts?

Mostly casual runs.

Any cost to join/be a member?

Nope, it's a free group!

Is your group affiliated with any events?

We're partnered with MEC Burlington so we support the MEC Burlington Race Series which is 6 races this year, 3 trail and 3 road at various locations in Hamilton, Burlington and Milton. We've done one event ourselves so far, the Burly Stair Challenge, which we'll be hosting again next spring. It's a 1km sprint, set of escarpment stairs (Dundurn, 326 stairs), sprint back, a different set of stairs (Chedoke, 289 stairs), and repeat for 2 hours. It's complete torture and so much fun.

Any cool routes/ favourite areas to run in your city that you would like to recommend to other runners? Why do you like those?

So many! We have a whole blog series about it. My personal favourites are any that go by waterfalls. Of course Hamilton has so many that's pretty much every run ;)

Do you have any favourite local races? Outside of anything that you're affiliated with of course :)

Sulphur Springs Trail Race was a huge one for us, its in our local trails (Dundas Valley) and we had so many runners there this year who were racing, volunteering, crewing and/or pacing it was an incredible weekend. Aside from that we kind of like them all, I think The Bad Thing was top on the list for anyone that was able to get in. We also really, really love Moraine Adventure Relay. It's such an long day but so much fun spending it with your crew. It's goes across the Oak Ridges Trail and combines canoeing, mountain biking and running. We had 3 teams participate this year. Teams can be anywhere from 2 - 15 people, we had 7 in each of ours this year so everyone did at least 2 legs which were 6-11km for the runs - 8k canoe leg and 10-19km for the bike legs.

Anything else that we should know?

Come join, we just like to have fun on our awesome scenic trails!

Want to learn more?

Want to connect with the Burly Trail Runners, or just learn a bit more about them? Check out their information below:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Looking for runs around Toronto?

You can find a full list of runs and races happening around Toronto at

Published on Jul 10, 2017