This year’s Totem to Totem Marathon set a record before the first runner took off from the Ḵay.
Nearly 200 people signed up for the marathon, half-marathon, 10K run and fun walk — more than ever before.
Most ran the popular 10K, with about 125 actually lacing up to race along the water (and by Skidegate Days food booths) to Balance Rock and back.
A big haawa for that record-setting turnout goes to the Kitkatla RIOT, who sent 22 runners to Skidegate last Saturday.
“We’re going to keep running, even after this,” said 23-year-old Dominick John, speaking with plenty of breath left after he and teammate Jamie Angus both set personal bests on the 10K.
“When we run in the village, we run the hills,” said Angus, smiling. “This was more flat.”
Joining the Totem to Totem was the first time that the RIOT — Running Is Our Therapy — has competed at a race outside Kitkatla. In a village of about 400 people, the club has about 40 regulars, and they’ve been doing steady 5K runs three times a week since April.
Next they’ve got their sights set on the Cannery 10K in Port Edward, and a future Sun Run in Vancouver.
“We’ve got a few elders in there running too,” said John, who joined mainly to get fit and to train for other sports. The youngest runner to finish the 10K was just six years old.
John said the whole thing started when one woman, Jocelyn Lewis, bet a friend she would start running so she could get in shape and make a comeback at Kitkatla’s Easter basketball tournament.
“She asked our youth co-ordinator to run with her, and then they called a lot of us,” said John.
“Off one bet between two basketball players to make a comeback, we got a big group out of it.”
Totem to Totem and Skidegate Days photos by Andrew Hudson/Haida Gwaii Observer