Running enthusiasts from around the world are packing their gear and making their way to Ucluelet to tackle the West Coastâ€™s premier running event.
About 400 runners are expected to take on this yearâ€™s Edge-to-Edge Marathon on June 14 and first-year race coordinator Sally Mole is getting set to welcome them.
â€œIt is an exciting event. It brings a lot of people to town and thereâ€™s just a certain energy about it,â€ Mole said.
â€œItâ€™s a nice healthy activity and people seem to really like it. The runners really like it and they appreciate the volunteers. They really feel like itâ€™s a community event that theyâ€™re coming to and I think thereâ€™s a lot of value in that.â€
Mole, who is also a municipal councillor and the executive director of the Ucluelet chamber of commerce, said taking the eventâ€™s helm has been daunting.
â€œIt has been a huge learning curve,â€ she said. â€œIâ€™m hanging in there…Itâ€™s quite stressful because I really donâ€™t know what to expect.â€
She expressed confidence in the team she has behind her and said many key volunteers from past Edge-to-Edge events have returned.
â€œIâ€™ve got good people on the (race) committee who are an amazing help but ultimately the responsibility falls on my shoulders so Iâ€™m trying to pull off the best race I can,â€ she said.
Mole is hoping to see a solid crew of volunteers show up to make the event a success and anyone interested in hopping on the volunteer crew is encouraged to contact the marathonâ€™s volunteer coordinator Sandy Rantz at email@example.com.
â€œItâ€™s a good way to give back to your community,â€ Mole said of volunteering.
â€œThe marathon definitely has some economic benefits to the community and I think itâ€™s just a good way to show your appreciation for those businesses that support so many things in our area.â€
The 42-kilometre course will again be run entirely in Ucluelet this year but Mole said the door has not been closed on bringing Tofino back into the fold.
She said talks of reuniting Tofino with the marathon would kick up after this yearâ€™s event.
â€œI think a lot of people miss the Tofino to Ucluelet course so after this event weâ€™ll have a breakdown of what went right and what went wrong and maybe open up that conversation again,â€ Mole said.
Nixing Tofino from the course last year cost the event its status as a qualifier for the Boston Marathon and, though there was some talk of having the Ucluelet-only course measured for qualifier status, Mole said the measurement wonâ€™t take place this year.
â€œThis will be the second year that we run it and I still think that thereâ€™s tweaks to be made to the course. That being said, Iâ€™m not a runner so Iâ€™ll be looking to runners for feedback,â€ she said.
The Tofino to Ucluelet race became a qualifier for the Boston Marathon in 2006 after having been run for five years prior.
Many of the roughly 400 runners on their way to the West Coast will be bringing their families, friends and supporters along with them and Mole hopes Ucluetians are ready to put their best foot forward.
â€œPut on your shiny face as I always say and make sure that the runners experience friendly-Ucluelet and have a great stay,â€ she said.