Russell Kling
Credit: COURTESY OF RUSSELL KLING

Kling says one of the toughest races he’s ever endured was a steep climb in Whistler

Russell Kling, co-founder of the new Pangea Pod Hotel in Whistler, did his first 5K fun run at the age of five

I grew up in Cape Town. My late dad was an early riser, so around 5:00, 5:30 in the morning he would go down to what you would call the seawall, what we call the promenade, and he would run and swim year-round. Because I got up early too, he’d throw me in the car with my bike and I would bike while he ran, and then I’d sit on the beach and watch him while he swam. That was some of the best time I spent with him when I was a kid. Whatever he did, I wanted to do. I ran my first 5K fun run when I was maybe five years old.

[When] I started working in New York, my release valve was running. In B.C. it’s become quite social for me. I joined a running group based out of the Running Room on Denman Street. In Vancouver I road run; in Whistler I trail run.

Running and marathoning is unique because, unless you’re going off to the Olympics to try and win a medal, you are racing to improve your own time. I don’t care where I come. I care about getting a personal best. A marathon’s 42.2 Ks, and somehow I think the vibe of running with other people spurs you on. [It’s] a long distance and puts a fair amount of abuse on your body, and so does the training for it.

For a weekend warrior, sub–three hours is a huge deal for a marathoner. I had sufficient time to prepare in 2016 for the Victoria marathon, and I did end up running sub–three hours. The race I ran in Whistler, my time was actually longer. It’s only 20-something Ks. Here’s the issue: you start in Whistler Valley, and you finish the race at the peak. It’s over rocky terrain; you’re as much climbing as you are running. As you go higher, the sun just beats down on you. It’s pretty rugged. I think there’s three water stations along the way. That was a really special race, physically equivalent [to] if not maybe a touch harder than a marathon.

WARRIOR SPOTLIGHT

This spring, South Africa native Russell Kling and his wife, Jelena, are launching Canada’s first pod-style hotel in Whistler—they have homes there and in Vancouver. Pangea Pod Hotel will offer 88 private approximately 50-square-foot pods at prices at least 50 percent lower than a comparably located three-star hotel.