Marathon day on Haida Gwaii

Totem to Totem race looks to set another participation record

The annual Totem to Totem marathon takes place on Saturday as runners from home and away get set to take on the island course.

Participants will take their marks at the Kay Linagaay Haida Heritage Centre in Skidegate. The route, which serves as an official qualifier for the Boston Marathon, then proceeds to head through the village. A memorable scene during this part of the course is passing the first modern totem pole on the island, carved by Bill Reid.

READ MORE: Record turnout for Totem to Totem Marathon

After heading onto Highway 16, the run hits the halfway point at St. Mary’s Spring. Runners then begin the 13.1 mile return journey back to Skidegate and the Kay Linagaay Haida Heritage Centre where they will fittingly cross the finish line at the same totem poles they started from.

Half-marathon runner Brenda Dowsett passes the Unity Pole in Skidegate during the 2017 marathon. (Andrew Hudson / Haida Gwaii Observer)

For those not looking to step up to the full marathon course just yet, the day offers a half marathon, a 10 km run, and a 1.5 km Walk to Breakfast. The run coincides with Skidegate Days, offering entertainment for both participants and those there to cheer them on.

The run this year is dedicated to Willard Wilson, a former Chief Councillor in Skidegate. Wilson was a key figure in bringing the race to Haida Gwaii, and was able to see participation in the race make great strides before he passed away.

This edition of the race will also feature a new medal designed by Robert Davidson. The race set a new mark with almost 200 runners last year, and should break that mark on Saturday.

READ MORE: Totem to Totem Marathon a success

Alex Kurial | Journalist
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