Monday, May 09, 2005

Ain't no walk in the woods (The Vancouver Province)

The popular 5 Peaks series has a new sponsor.

- SD

Ain't no walk in the woods
Race series grow in popularity across province

Greig Bethel
The Province

The running craze has hit the woods.

Instead of pounding the pavement, runners are pacing themselves around rocks, over roots, past tree stumps and logs, through creeks and mud.

The increased popularity of trail running has been accompanied by the growth of a number of race series. B.C. is home to five, plus a number of other events.

This year, the 5 Peaks series -- perhaps the most popular with, or accessible to, urban dwellers -- has lured Mountain Equipment Co-op to be its title sponsor.

(CREDIT: Trevor Cooper Photography:5 Peaks / Racers climb a forested trail after crossing a creek during a 2004 5 Peaks trail running series event on Mount Seymour in North Vancouver. This year's Mount Seymour race is on July 23.)

"Trail running is experiencing phenomenal growth in Canada,"5 Peaks president Kathryn Stanton says. "With MEC as title sponsor, we expect the 5 Peaks series to increase the sport's popularity."

The 5 Peaks series was first run in 1998 and has participation has grown by 15 per cent each year.

In 2004, the races attracted between 250 to 300 competitors, including men, women and children ranging in age from seven to 70.

B.C.'s trail race series -- which are listed at the bottom of this page -- consist of events that take place from early spring to late summer.

Trail running combines the cardiovascular workout of jogging with the physical demands of hiking. Plus, there's the thrill of splashing through mud puddles.

© The Vancouver Province 2005

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