Sunday is fun day for Haida Gwaii runners this fall.
Starting with the Terry Fox Run in Masset this weekend, runners of all ages can join a race every Sunday for the next five weeks.
Every run will be held in a different village, and all are between 4 and 6 km long.
“People seem excited about the idea,” said Christine Cunningham, a cross-country running coach at Gudangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay and an organizer of the new Haida Gwaii Run Series.
The idea was sparked by the high school’s cross-country running team — they competed at the Smithers zones championship last year (in the snow) with just one timed race under their belts.
Besides giving the team more competition, the Haida Gwaii Run Series should be a good driver for the many other islands athletes who could use a boost between the summer Totem to Totem Marathon, Canada Day run in Port Clements, and Agate Man Triathlon in Masset.
“What I like about the distance is that half of our runners are kids, and this opens it up to all levels,” said Cunningham, noting that there are GidGalang Kuuyas Naay students keen to try cross-country running, too.
The series starts this Sunday, Sept. 16, with the Masset Terry Fox Run. Kicking off from the fire hall on Main Street, this year’s Terry Fox will loop 6.2 km around the Delkatla Wildlife Sanctuary.
Registration is at 10 a.m., the race starts at 10:30 a.m., and everyone is asked to collect and bring in donations to the Terry Fox Foundation.
Next up is a 6 km run along Port Clements’ Sunset Park Trail on Sept. 23, the 5 km Howlers Boobs & Buns Run in Queen Charlotte on Sept. 30, a 4 km loop up on the Spirit Lake Trail in Skidegate on Oct. 7, and then a 4.5 km run around the Willows Golf Course in Sandspit on Oct. 14. Except for the Sandspit run, which starts at 11 a.m., each of those races will start at 10:30 a.m. with registration a half-hour before.
And except for the Terry Fox and Boobs & Buns Run, where runners are asked to bring donations for cancer research (and wear pink for Boobs & Buns), there is small $5 fee to help with transportation.
If the running series takes off, Haida Gwaii Rec has offered to help with registration next year, and there is even talk of awarding a series champion.
But right now, Cunningham said it’s all about casual, community races that help keep the track team in shape and give runners a way to link up islands-wide.