Runners from around the world have packed up their sneakers and headed to the Coast to participate in the 17th annual Edge-to-Edge Marathon.
The 42-kilometre race will kick off at 8:30 a.m. on June 12 with runners starting off in the picturesque Pacific Rim National Park and making their way to the finish line in Ucluelet.
The Park has not been included in the race’s route since 2013 and visitor experience and product development officer Barb Brittain told the Westerly News the Park jumped at the opportunity to reunite with the event this year.
“Parks Canada was thrilled to be asked by race organisers to be part of the Edge-to-Edge Marathon this year. With a section of the race travelling through Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, runners, and the people there to watch the race, can experience nature at its very best,” she said.
“Parks Canada is continually looking for fun, innovative ways to engage Canadians in their natural and cultural heritage. Partnering on unique and innovative events like this allows more Canadians to experience the outdoors and learn about our history in interesting ways.”
Brittain is confident runners will enjoy racing through the Park’s dynamic landscape.
“Starting at Incinerator Rock on Long Beach, runners will travel long stretches of sand with towering trees on one side, the roaring waves of the Pacific Ocean on their other side, and eagles and seagulls circling in the ocean breeze overhead,” she said.
“This outstanding running experience continues as runners head inland along Combers Trail, and through dense rainforest dripping with lichen and moss that is home and habitat to many unique species of animals and plants. Once on the highway, runners will continue running through rainforest along the highway before leaving the park for the cycle path.”
She said the event fits in well with the Park’s promotion of active lifestyles.
“Running a marathon is both physically and mentally challenging, and Parks Canada is excited to help support athletes in meeting their personal targets in an inspiring setting,” she said.
“As one of Canada’s most precious natural places, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve provides runners, their supporters, and everyone else interested in an active lifestyle, with the opportunity to enjoy the inspiring surroundings, and learn about the natural and cultural heritage, and amazing ecosystems and wildlife, while they’re in the park reserve.”
She added Park staff worked hard to ensure the setting is set.
“Parks Canada is making sure that all the facilities and services along the route are in place to support the runners and their supporters. We are ensuring that construction materials are consolidated at Combers parking lot, washrooms are well stocked, and the boardwalk at Combers is gritted,” she said.
“Parks Canada staff will be sweeping the route for wildlife prior to and during the event, and will be hosting one of the water stations. In support of smooth parking and reducing congestion, racers and their supporters will be encouraged to use Long Beach Parking Lot for parking between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.”
Along with the 42-kilometre marathon, the event will include a half-marathon, 10-kilometre run and relay race.