More than two months from race day the inaugural North Face Whistler Half Marathon has sold out, with a flurry of registrations pouring in the final day before the early bird pricing deadline expired.
The final spot was sold at 11:55 p.m. on Mar. 31, just five minutes before the price of registration increased by $10.
Some 750 spots were sold to the public. With elite categories and sponsors there will be a total of 800 runners at the start line on Saturday, June 4.
"We were hopeful but never really expected to do that well, especially in year one," said race director Dave Clark.
"There's some pent-up demand obviously, which is fantastic, and we're obviously pretty happy."
The 21.1 km Whistler Half Marathon starts and finishes at the Whistler Olympic Plaza, following a mix of roads and valley trail in a looping route around the village. The course only crosses the highway once at the start and doesn't cross any train tracks, ensuring that the event can't be interrupted. The course map is posted online.
Now that the athletes are confirmed, Clark's next priority is to find volunteers. He estimates that it will take around 100 volunteers to host the event, ranging from course marshalls to the food and water stations. You can sign up online at www.whistlerhalfmarathon.com.
The race itself is a registered non-profit that raises funds for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada. Clark estimates that he has already volunteered between 1,200 to 1,500 hours planning the event.
So far, with $5 from every entry and a plea for donations, Clark said they've already raised $5,000 for the foundation. He won't know until after the event when all costs are settled if there will be any additional donations.
"It's all for a great cause," he said. "It's great for the community, and running is something that's been close to my heart for a lot of years. I've been a runner since I was a kid. And Crohn's and Colitis is important to us, as my wife has Crohn's. We're doing our part to pay back."
Clark said the early sell-out suggests that the race could get bigger in the future, but he'll consult with runners after the event to see if there's any room for growth.
"One factor was looking at the capacity of the course," he said. "We felt we could put 800 people on it without jeopardizing the runner experience, but we'll get through year one and then reassess with post-race feedback from the athletes.
"Our number one mission is to put on an event that is a first-class running experience, similar to the greatest runs in New York, L.A., London, Boston... to take that experience and deliver it on a smaller scale. That means Grade A aid stations, on-course port-a-potties, live entertainment, a good spectator experience and community engagement - all things that add to the experience."
If you missed the deadline, Clark said there's a chance they may be offering another opportunity in the future if runners drop out of the event. There is no waitlist at this time.
Said Clark: "Some no-shows and injuries are inevitable, and if we get to the point where we think we can add some extra spots we'll be announcing it through email or Facebook or Twitter."