In less than five months Whistler Olympic Park will be hosting the top Nordic athletes in the world for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, but this weekend the park belongs to the runners.
Back for a second year, the Whistler Spirit Run was originally conceived as a tribute to running coach Frank Reynolds, as well as a way to celebrate a legacy of the 2010 Games that is being used by cross-country ski and biathlon clubs from across the Lower Mainland and throughout Sea to Sky. It's a non-profit event with proceeds going towards KidSport B.C.
This Saturday is a conventional cross-country race that focuses on school-age runners (elementary, secondary and university) but the race is open to everyone. Distances are short, ranging from one kilometre for kids in Grades 2 and 3, to eight km for the University and Open Men's categories. The races are run in heats from 11:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
The Sunday event is a 10 km relay and 10 km open race. The relay is for teams of four making a lap of a 2.5 km course at 11 a.m., while the open 10 km race takes place at 12:15 p.m.
The courses follow a mix of terrain, from gravel and bark mulch trails to sections of the paved loop around the race stadiums. Some new singletrack was also added to the park for a B.C. Cup mountain bike race.
Online registration for the Whistler Spirit Run Cross Country Festival, the Whistler Spirit Run 10 km Trail Run and Whistler Spirit Run Relay Challenge is available until end of day today, Thursday, Sept. 24. The price ranges from $10 to $20 per person for the cross-country festival, with discounts available for schools. The Spirit run is $25, or $45 for a relay team.
There will also be day-of-race registration for all three events, one hour before the official start time. There is no extra charge for race-day registration.
For more information and a detailed schedule visit www.whistlerspiritrun.com.
Last week race organizers announced that all the power for the event is going to be provided by Bullfrog Power, which licences power from wind and low impact hydro facilities certified by Environment Canada.