For many, summer is a time to rest and relax, take in some beach time and enjoy the sun. For others, it’s the perfect time to take to the trails which tend to be in perfect condition because of the warm weather. When the 17th annual Loop the Lake returns on Saturday (August 11), it’s for this latter reason that hundreds of runners will be spotted on the trails in Windermere taking in the spectacular setting of the Columbia Valley in the early morning hours.
“It’s our major fundraiser of the year,” said Rotary Club of Invermere treasurer and Loop the Lake organizer Yvonne Redeker. “It’s the one we count on for the bulk of the things that we do throughout the year.”
Last year the popular running event raised over $25,000 between entrance fees and the generosity of great local sponsors, and monies raised this year will contribute to the Rotary Club’s current project, a waterpark.
Loop the Lake is comprised of three different courses, which encourages people of all ages and fitness levels to take part. A 10-kilometre event starts near the community hall in Windermere and winds its way through residential neighbourhoods, trails and beach line before crossing over the Athalmer Bridge and finishing eventually at the Pynelogs Cultural Centre near Kinsmen Beach. A 21.1-km half-marathon course starts on the east side of the lake at the turnoff to the Windermere Golf Course, where it does an up-and-back to the golf course, across the highway, down through Windermere to the Windermere Community Hall where it joins up with the 10-km route. For those over 80 years old, a five-kilometre Octogenarian Relay starts in Windermere, but participants can choose any starting point along the final leg that suits their abilities.
“One of the things that make this event unique is the fact that there are many families that register,” said Redeker. To encourage this trend, a special award is handed out each year to the family with the most members registered and last year, it went to an extended family of 17.
“We broke our record last year, we had 650 entrants, and we’re ahead of the game right at this point in time so we’re going to aim for 700,” said Redeker.
Returning runners can expect the same course as the last three years, and can also rest assured their physical needs will be well met as plenty of water stations and toilet stops will be set up along the roads and trails with 40 to 50 volunteers on hand to help and offer any assistance. For safety reasons, no dogs, strollers or ear phones will be permitted on the course.
Up until 6 p.m. on Thursday (August 9), registration forms can be dropped off at Crazy Soles or Summit Footwear & Apparel in Invermere, or register online with a credit card. In-person registration will take place all day Friday (August 10) from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the community hall in downtown Invermere, where participants can pay and pick up their event t-shirts and course maps.
Alternatively, last minute registrations will be accepted on event day beginning at 6:15 a.m. at check-in for the half marathon or at 6:30 a.m. at the Windermere Community Hall for the 10-km run. Start times for the half marathon and 10-km events are 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. respectively.
Upon finishing, runners will be able to indulge in a hearty breakfast of hot pancakes that non-participants are also welcome to for $5 per person.
For more information and to register, visit the website at www.loopthelake.bc.ca.