Weekend Warrior: Russell Kling runs all over the place

Hotelier and marathon runner Russell Kling meets his match in his new home of Whistler


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.


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.