Running through waist-deep puddles is standard fare for Saturday’s Harriers Stewart Mountain Cross Country Challenge.
The 10th annual run is the third installment of the Harriers Thetis Lake Triple Series and the only race measured in miles.
“They used to measure all the runs in miles,” said race director Bob Reid, who’s been running for 40-plus years.
The shorter course stops at the bottom of Stewart Mountain and the longer version has runners pacing to the summit.
“You’ll be absolutely soaked and freezing when you are done,” said the 66-year-old View Royal resident. “You have to run cautiously. Smart and quickly when you can and not foolishly when you can’t.”
At this time of year runners should be prepared for mud and slippery trails, said Reid, adding they should also bring a dry change of clothes, socks and shoes to warm up after the run.
“This is more of a character run than a race,” he said. “There are two puddles that are over your shorts and 100 metres long. It takes a while for your feet to warm up after that.”
The first race in the series was founded in 1985. The Harriers Gunner Shaw Cross Country Classic was founded by Reid one year after his friend and founder of the Harriers, Gunner Shaw, died in a car accident.
“Gunner and I became friends on the playground and Lampson Street school. We were on the same bowling team and basketball team,” Reid said. “Gunner took me out and I trained with him on the Thetis Lake trails.”
In 1997 the club added the Harriers Thetis Lake 20-kilometre relay held annually on Remembrance Day.
Distances get longer and longer with each race in the series, explained Reid. The relay race is run with a team of four runners each tackling five kilometres. The Gunner Shaw race is 10 kilometres and the Stewart Mountain run is measured in miles and runners can choose between 10 miles or five miles.
The Harriers Running Club hosts weekly meetings using the Thetis Lake trails every Saturday morning. Even though the club has a membership of 800 self-propelled people, only about 20 to 40 attend the weekly runs.
In nearly 30 years the club has generated nearly $270,000 in the Thetis Lake series to dish out through scholarships, bursaries, community projects and athletic assistance.
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