Volunteer and hiker Bob McAree and co-founder Lisa Odgaard are preparing for the second annual Mt. Finlayson Madness charity hiking event on Saturday

Mt. Finlayson Madness seeks its own king of the hill

The challenge is on to see who can hike up and down Mt. Finlayson the most times in 12 hours this weekend

The challenge is on to see who can hike up and down Mt. Finlayson the most times in 12 hours this weekend, while raising money for a good cause.

Last year’s record was 14, set by a man who for the most part ran, in pouring rain, up and down the 419 metre mountain – the second highest peak in Victoria.

The event, known as Mt. Finlayson Madness, isn’t only for diehards though. In fact, only about four of last year’s 40 participants attacked the trail to tally up trips. Other participants did the trail once or twice. Some even do just a half trip if they want to avoid the more difficult rocky portions at the top of the trail. It’s all for fun and a good cause.

“It’s such a team. It feels like everybody’s encouraging each other,” Odgaard said. “You get to know everybody over the course of the day and everyone’s cheering each other on. It’s wonderful.”

Odgaard and Andy Hughes started the event last year after Hughes, while hiking, got to wondering how many times he could hike up and down Finlayson in a day. He talked to his friend Odgaard about the idea and the two came up with the idea of turning it into a fundraising event for local charities.

Of the money raised at the event this year, 50 per cent will go to the Mustard Seed, 35 per cent to Queen Alexandra Foundation for Children’s Jeneece Place and the remainder is to be split between the Goldstream Parks Enhancement Fund and St. John’s Ambulance, which will be on hand during the event in case of injury. Last year, participants raised $5,000.

Hikers can collect pledges either as a lump sum for taking part in the event or by getting people to pledge a certain amount of money for every round trip the participant makes. Odgaard has been getting mostly lump sum pledges, with her friends telling her they’re concerned over how many round trips she can do.

“I don’t think they know my fitness level,” Odgaard laughed.

The plan is to keep the madness as an annual event. Organizers have the permit for the event in place for the next five years.

Mt. Finlayson Madness starts Saturday at 8 a.m., and runs until 8 p.m. Participants can sign up online at Finhike.org.

Participants meet at the entrance to Goldstream Park off the Trans-Canada Highway at Finlayson Arm Road. Parking is limited.

Some volunteers are still needed to help run the event this Saturday. Check the website for details.

kwells@goldstreamgazette.com