With 5K and 10K options the Whistler stop of the Mountain Equipment Co-Op 5 Peaks Trail Running Series isnt the longest course on the circuit, but with a start and finish elevation of over 6,000 feet and 1,600 feet of climbing on the 10K course, Saturdays race is one of the most challenging.
Still, more than 300 people have already signed up to race this year, and organizers are expecting 100 more in the last week and on race day.
"Theres just a huge amount of interest in this race," said organizer Mark Warsaba. "Weve got people signed up from all over the U.S., from Germany, one from France a lot of the runners from Five Peaks races in Alberta and Ontario are coming to B.C. just to do this course."
The course starts outside of the Roundhouse Lodge and heads down to Harmony Lake before climbing up and around the Burnt Stew Trail all the way to Little Whistler Peak. From there it descends across the top of the Saddle, and around to Harmony Hut before going down headwall and the final climb back to the Roundhouse.
Warsaba, an accomplished marathon runner, says the course would probably take him about an hour and 15 minutes at a good speed.
"Add in the altitude, the descents, the climbs, and the heat if its a sunny day, and there are a lot of good twists and turns, and you can call it one of the most technical courses weve got," Warsaba said.
"Its got all the elements to be a really great race, its challenging, the setting is really spectacular, and the route is really interesting. Even the five kilometre route should give people a good run.
"At the same time were encouraging everyone to come out, and run at their own speed. It really is going to be an incredible experience. For that we really have to thank Whistler-Blackcomb for making the alpine available, and for being such strong supporters of the event."
Registration is available online until Friday at www.5peaks.com , or on Saturday, Aug. 20 between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. at the Whistler Village Gondola. Uploading will take place until around 9:45 a.m. for an 11 a.m. start.
The cost is $35 in advance and $40 on race day, which includes a pair of trail running socks valued at approximately $20.
Before the race the organizers are hosting The Scotia Bank Childrens Challenge, with free entry for all children under the age of 10. The Childrens Challenge will take place on a short course in the village at 9:30 a.m., and all participants will receive a special event T-shirt and race number.
Sign-up is also at the Whistler Village Gondola.