The Robson Valley’s only marathon continues to grow, as the sixth annual race expects to see the biggest crowd in its history.
When Patricia Thoni last looked at her list, there were 421 people registered for all four events scheduled for Sept. 10.
170 people have registered for the Ultra (race), she says, while 153 have registered for the half. There are currently 66 participants in the 12 KM, and 32 in the 5 KM.
Thoni is president of the Yellowhead Outdoor Recreation Association, which will also hold its annual Terry Fox Hike the week prior to the marathon.
The marathon used to be 42 KM, while the Ultra is 50 KM, she says.
“People asked we turn (the race) into an Ultra, so we did,” says Thoni. “It’s sort of a neat thing to say you’ve run right to the Alberta and B.C. border.”
The marathon features four different distances: The 50 KM Ultra, the 21.1 KM half-marathon, the 12 KM Kinney Lake and the 5 KM Flatlander.
“There is hardly any elevation gain on any of these,” says Thoni, adding there is only 400 feet in elevation gain between the start of the trail and Kinney Lake.
YORA holds the marathon at Mount Robson every year, according to Thoni, because of the Provincial Park’s pre-existing infrastructure, things like B.C. Parks’ radio access, washrooms, information centre, and it’s the perfect distance, she says.
While people come from all over the U.S. and Europe to run the race, Thoni says the vast majority of participants come from Alberta and B.C.
While work remains, Thoni says YORA has more than enough volunteers, as the organization is seeing many return-volunteers.
“It’s so great to have people return who know their job, and who have done it year after year,” she says. “There is quite a bit left to do.”